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I had the pleasure of playing with Cormac in a session many moons ago in the Cosy Corner in Kiltyclogher. His playing was full of drive and energy. He still retains that energy but now, with measured control, it’s powerful.

Many will remark on the clever design of the CD cover – an unfolding concertina. For us oldies it is reminiscent of the Horslips’ Happy To Meet album from the early 70s.

I love the range of music here – reels, jigs, schottisches, airs, slides and polkas. It’s nice to see so many rhythms showcased. The first set opens with a couple of reels played on the bass G/D Dipper. It’s almost shocking. It sounds like a Pullman steam train pulling out of NY Central station and invokes that sense of unstoppable power. There are some old favourites here too – like Merrily Kiss The Quaker and the Fermoy Lasses but also some tunes penned by Cormac himself and his dad, Breandán. One will be particularly poignant – The Camino Polka – with the recent tragic demise of Danny Sheehy. Our thoughts are with Breandán, Liam and Pádraig.

Cormac has developed a unique style of playing that will not be to everyone’s taste but having listened to the CD a few times I find it growing on me. I get his intention to showcase the concertina as a solo instrument but I do think some of the tracks would have benefitted from some tasty accompaniment. That being said, I think this a must buy for any aspiring concertina players – a masterclass indeed.

Brendan Carson

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