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DOWLING & SPROULE "A Thousand Farewells" Cottage Music CM001

Reading between the lines, Martin and Christine Dowling seem to be a married couple living somewhere near Minneapolis but with proud Irish ancestry. Of the thirteen tracks on "A Thousand Farewells", three are sung by Christine and the rest are played on flute, fiddle and guitar. Two of the songs are American, one is Irish, and only one is a modern composition. All three songs are unaccompanied, and Christine Dowling's delivery is strong and confident if a little bland.

The ten instrumental tracks cover a wide variety of forms and tempos, with Martin Dowling's fiddle taking the lead in most cases, ably backed by Daithi Sproule's guitar. Martin's own compositions have a US flavour to them, but the rest of the tunes are inalienably Irish. The standard of musicianship is very high, and the overall sound is reminiscent of La Lugh or the early days of Altan. The pace is perfectly controlled, and the sound is extremely tight: very nice stuff indeed.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 26 of The Living Tradition magazine.