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Blue Cow Records JMBCR0005

Hailing from Co Armagh and with over 20 years’ experience singing, this is the third album from singer Janet Dowd, the songs here being based loosely on the theme of home.

Recorded in Donogh Hennessy’s studio in Dingle, Janet is surrounded here some top-notch Irish musicians and singers, (Alan Doherty, Niamh Varien Barry, Tom Leary, Pauline Scanlon, Teresa Horgan and Donogh himself among them) so the album has a very full, warm and well-produced sound.

Janet herself has an enviable voice – pure and clear, with perfect diction and accuracy and a gentle vibrato. And she knows how to pick a good song! There are some fairly well-known songs here from master songwriters: All The Fine Young Men by Eric Bogle; County Down by Tommy Sands; Garden Valley by Dougie MacLean; and My Belfast Love by Finbar Magee. There are also three from her own pen, well written and well executed, but perhaps not quite as strong as the others on the recording. Having said that, the album hangs together well, all the songs have a laid back feel and as a collection, they sit nicely together. The collection would be further enhanced by good sleevenotes, but unfortunately we are only given notes and lyrics for Janet’s own songs (and a brief explanation for the one traditional one, Súil A Rúin). But that is a minor quibble – this is a lovely album. Great songs, well sung, with the best of accompaniment.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 120 of The Living Tradition magazine.