Monday, April 27, 2009

Green Fields of America

The Green Fields of America

A kitchen session with five very talented friends is the the feeling you get from this recording, but it was in fact getting such sessions out of the kitchen and onto the concert stage that was the beginning of Green Fields of America more than thirty years ago. Musician and musicologist Mick Moloney had the idea, and today with Irish music groups appearing on almost very stage in America, it might not seem so unusual, but in 1978 it was new and refreshing and let wider audiences in on what Irish musicians and their friends have long known: the best music is made among friends and is never quite played the same way twice.

There are fourteen sets on this recording, comprising reels, slides, jigs, slip jigs, barn dances, and songs. Over the years, the line up of Green Fields has seen many a superstar of Celtic music come and go: the group assembled for this recording and for recent tours is no less outstanding than those who’ve come before. Moloney is on hand, lending his voice to songs and playing banjo, mandolin, and guitar; Billy McComiskey plays accordion, Robbie O’Connell sings and plays guitar, Athena Tergis is the fiddle player, and John Doyle sings and plays guitar and bouzouki. Among them, they’ve lists of awards, band credits, and projects that stretch from American fields to Ireland and back, including nationally syndicated series on American television, work on Ireland’s Irish language network, TG 4, All Ireland championships, playing with the Clancy Brothers, Joan Baez, Sharon Shannon, Cathie Ryan, Liz Carroll, Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, and the Clancy Legacy.

To listen to them play here, though, you wouldn’t know they’d ever done anything else but play music together. It’s a varied program, some lively sparkling new stuff, some takes on tradition, all done in the spirit of sharing and sharing ‘round. Even if you've heard some of the music before, you’ll want to hear it this way, and, if the chance arises, go see these players, together and in their separate careers as well. Outstanding tracks include the songs Across the Western Ocean and The Bonny Irish Boy, and the Jackie Riordan’s/Money in Both Pockets/The Dungannon Reel set.

--> note: Green Fields of America have been announced as a headline act at the National Folk Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, 2-4 September 2011.

you may also wish to see

Billy McComiskey: Outside the Box
Athena Tergis: Letter Home
Irish music, Irish landscape
John Doyle: Wayward Son

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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