COLCANNON "Corvus" Oxford Road Records ORP601

Coincidence can sometimes take you by surprise. One night I was listening to Archie Fisher playing a track from this CD and I thought to myself that I'd like to hear more of it and ten hours later the postie delivered my review copy, along with the usual amount of final demands and eviction notices. No junk mail here, however. Colcannon are a Colorado-based outfit, playing Irish traditional tunes and self-penned numbers in the traditional style. They consist of Mick Bolger, vocals, bodhran and cornet; Mike Fitzpatrick, bass, guitar and vocals; Rod Garnett, flutes and fifes; Jean Harrison, fiddle, accordion and vocals, and Brian Mullins, bouzouki, mandocello, mandolin, guitar, banjo and flute. Over the decade or so of their playing together, they have developed a tight sound, with no single musician dominating the proceedings, but all blending well to give a full and dynamic sound. Their own compositions are firmly based within traditional modes, and (always the hallmark of quality) it's only when you read the insert notes that you find out that they're not traddie. Their original songs cover a range of contemporary topics and make their point effectively. Mick Bolger's voice is light yet impressive, whether singing in English or Irish, and the balance between songs and sets of tunes makes for a varied album, which is consistent in quality throughout. With groups like this around, the Irish-American scene is definitely in safe hands, evolving and developing, yet knowing exactly where its origins are.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.