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ALAN KELLY "Out of the Blue" Blackbox Music BMM001

The piano key accordion has never been the most popular of instruments in folk music circles. Sure, they are always to the fore in dance bands. Dancers like plenty of drive and noise and a player well strapped on to his machine can supply loads of dunt and on a good night might even drown out the drummer. Of course not all players are of a gladitorial bent and of late there has been much in the way of interest to be heard from a number of piano key accordionists.

Galway based musician Alan Kelly, played accordion on some tracks of Michael McGoldrick's CD "Morning Rory" and has now released his own CD "Out of the Blue". As the sleeve notes explain, this recording hasn't quite arrived out of the blue or happened over night. The tracks having been recorded over a couple of years and in various studios and recording sessions.

Alan Kelly's playing is breezy and agile with a flourish which is so different from the robotic nature of many other players. His interpretations of the music are of a modern and rhythmic nature and are derived from deep in the "accordion corner" of the ring. There is much use of decoration and dynamics, speed, range and power but never quite to excess. The fine selection of material is sourced mainly from the Irish Tradition with the addition of a couple of pleasing French Canadian tunes, "Fleur de Mandragore" and "Reel du Point-au-Pic" and a couple of Scottish reels written by fellow accordionists Phil Cunningham and Donald Shaw. Also to be heard on the album are Jim Higgins on various percussive instruments, Donogh Hession and Kevin Hough on guitars and Sean Smyth on fiddle. Stephen Cooney also adds to the fun and makes his presence felt on many of the tracks particularly the sets, "The Tar Road to Sligo" and "Gustys Frolics".

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 23 of The Living Tradition magazine.