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Music At The House MATH001

Take one Boston fiddler, one Chicago box-player and a Mayo/Dublin pianist, ensure they have been well marinated in traditional Irish music and mix with a quantity of lesser-known tunes. Record. Sit back and savour at regular intervals. There you have it, 45 minutes of "straightforward and relaxed" to use their own words, Irish traditional instrumental music. The trio play with a minimum of ornamentation, take their tunes at a steady pace and eschew "flash" and ostentation as well as not feeling it necessary to add guitars or other distractions. Don't think that this means the album is "average" - it's some of the best Irish ensemble-playing I've heard for some time, with the tonal quality of the box allowing the fiddle to be heard and emphasising how brilliantly they play together. With that finest of traditional accompaniments, beautifully-played piano (hurrah!) this is a record to be enjoyed. It's odd that, in a traditional which appears to be losing its dance roots at a rate of knots, the best musicians - the ones who respect the music above themselves - sound like the best dance musicians. Although lesser-known, the tunes are of top quality: mostly jigs and reels, a couple of airs which didn't do much for me, but two cracking sets of hornpipes. With their lift and soul I'd love to hear them tackle some barndances or other couple dances and a set dance or two. Anyway, this is wonderful stuff and thoroughly recommended. More please!

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 56 of The Living Tradition magazine.