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JOSEPH SOBOL - Citternity

JOSEPH SOBOL - Citternity
Kiltartan Road KR1010

This is subtitled “Celtic cittern and beyond...” and is a follow up to a previous release, both of which demonstrate Joseph’s love for, and mastery of, the cittern family of instruments. Here he plays a 12 string model, plus guitars and bass guitars, and sings both lead and harmony. He is accompanied on this album by Martin Hayes, fiddle; Trae McMaken, fiddle; Jackie Moran, bodhran; Howard Levy, harmonica; John Williams, concertina, accordion, flute; Laurence Nugent, flute, whistle; Megan Thomas, percussion; and Kathy Cowan, harmony vocals.

Joseph, who gained a PhD in performance studies, has developed his own four- finger style of playing, rather than the plectrum style more commonly encountered. This gives his playing an ornamentation which beautifully highlights the subtle tones that are available on the instrument. His singing voice is mellifluous and well-toned.

He spent a number of years in Chicago, where the Irish music community has developed a great session scene, and the selection of tracks reflects this grand heritage, as well as several self-penned numbers and a couple of Canadian tunes. There are a couple of Appalachian songs as well as song arrangements of poems by Edna St Vincent Millay and Robert Frost, whose two contributions open and close the album.

The overall effect is to demonstrate the versatility of the cittern, as it swings and drives through the jigs, hornpipes and reels then gently leads us along the slower numbers. The album is well-balanced and Joseph’s own production is excellent. This is an excellent showcase for the instrument.

Gordon Potter


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.