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PETER BROWNE - Sidewinder 

PETER BROWNE - Sidewinder 
Private Label PB001 

I was first impressed by Peter Browne’s accordion playing when I heard him with the group Bully’s Acre, and he’s still mighty impressive here, with an album that is traditionally-focussed, yet with a fresh interpretation throughout.

Peter plays a B/C box and guitar, and the guest musicians are Tony Byrne, guitar; John Joe Kelly, bodhrán; Oisín McAuley, fiddle; Shane McGowan, guitar; Dave McNevin, banjo; and Michelle O’Brien, fiddle. Between them all, they play some really tight and sharp arrangements, which all have a lightness and deftness of touch. The tunes are treated with the respect they deserve and Peter, as principal sound engineer and mixer, has ensured that everybody’s contribution is able to be properly appreciated, with every instrument coming across clearly. Having said that, there is a focus on the accordion playing, and Peter has a fluid style of playing which makes brilliant use of triplets and other ornamentations but in a seemingly understated way, so that the listener just gets drawn into the sheer musicality of the presentation.

There can sometimes be a difficulty in balancing technical precision and empathy, but Peter and his musical friends have achieved that effortlessly – there is an overall feeling that you’ve just stumbled across a session, but one where everyone instinctively knows how the others are going to interpret the tunes. Just the sort of music to cheer anyone up and impress them at the same time – if these guys ever play over here. I’ll be in the queue for early tickets!

Gordon Potter


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine