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WOLF & CLOVER - Twelvemonth & A Day 

WOLF & CLOVER - Twelvemonth & A Day 
Private Label 

Wolf & Clover is a six-piece band who calls itself an “Irish-ish” band (a description that certainly fits this release). They began as a side project of a group of musicians from the School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. From their first concerts, they found an appreciative audience with eager ears for their arrangements and mixture of instruments (such as banjo, guitar, whistle, fiddle, accordion, vocals and more). On this, their second release, they dive into the old archives, but sometimes come up for air in a different place than where they’d begun. They incorporate many recent tunes as well, from composers such as Ireland’s Niall Vallely or Cape Breton’s Jerry Holland. They are committed to the Celtic traditions, but they like to push them as well. For example, the use of a Hammond Organ on the classic, The Unquiet Grave, (which brings out the ‘soul’ in the song, to be sure), or their crowd-pleasing version of Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic, which is interspersed with a tune from Newfoundland.

Over half of the tracks are sets of tunes, and they have a fine talent in putting these groupings of tunes together. For example, The Animal Set starts out with the soaring and noble Crested Hens, then heads into the lively Emmett’s Hedgehog and lets Gathering Sheep be the closer. Or The James Carville Set, which starts with a somewhat sedate version of The Congress (though with a washboard and pandeiro as percussion), and then moves into the bluesy banjo of Funk The Cajun Blues. Or there is the lush classical pastoralism on O’Carolan’s Farewell To Music. They generally let the majesty of the tunes dominate, not crowding them out by awkward arrangements. This is a delightful release, which should rightfully get the band a wider audience.

Ivan Emke


This review appeared in Issue 144 of The Living Tradition magazine