Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grada: Natural Angle

Natural Angle

A song from bluesman Mississippi John Hurt, an original piece which references tigers, cormorants, and Panama, traditional Irish reels and original ones as well, a song by bluegrass award winner Tim O’Brien and Texas tune smith Guy Clark about an Irish immigrant to the United States who fought in the Mexican War --Natural Angle is just the right name for Grada’s latest recording. Well known as a top Irish traditional band, they are also known as world travelers, and as a band whose members have lived in many parts of Ireland as well as New Zealand and Canada. So they offer straight up Irish musical ideas, but Irish music which has shaken hands with other traditions and other landscapes.

That’s not an entirely new approach for Grada, but with this latest recording they are maturing into it, taking more chances and building on what was already a fine ability for balanced song selection and terrrific ensemble work. They came to Nashville to record this album, with Tim O’Brien producing, Erick Jaskowiak engineering, and Alison Brown and O’Brien sitting in on several tracks. So has Grada gone bluegrass? No, but the music here will make you think once or twice about the vibrant connections between the high lonesome approach to melody making and how much of that came over from Ireland. It’s a study in how musicians with a clear view of what they want to say and how they want to say that are able to take adventures with the material they choose. It’s all good stuff, and best listened to straight through, but if you’ve time only for a couple of tracks to get started, Nicola Joyce’s singing on No Linen No Lace and John Riley and the instrumental sets Abe’s Axe and Dotsy’s are great places to begin.

you may also want to see

Grada : Cloudy Day Navigation

Aoife Clancy: Silvery Moon

malinky: flower & iron

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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