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EILEEN IVERS "Wild Blue" Green Linnet GLCD 1166

In the more commercial worlds of main stream music styles, the follow-up album has often been the rack upon which artists are broken. A measure of the quickening pace toward the commercialisation of folk music is the added pressure on artists in this sphere, to "keep that wheel a-turning". Eileen Ivers' previous release on Green Linnet, "Eileen Ivers Traditional Irish Music", was an impressive recording. A traditional based album with a hint, a slight nod, toward the classical, the violin as well as the fiddle. Combined with a recording quality, so clear and clean with a touch of warmth that brought out the timbre of the instrument and revealed insight and understanding in the playing, marked this recording as something special.

"Wild Blue", is Eileen Ivers follow-up album. It's fair to say that Eileen Ivers has used up a lot of rosin in the time between these two albums. Having followed a busy schedule which notably included, Micheal O'Suilleahain's engrossing TV series on Irish music, "The River of Sound" and being part of the London stage production of "Riverdance". So it should come as no surprise to find that a certain amount of letting down of hair and standing on the loud pedal is to be found on "Wild Blue". Not that it's too wild, or out of control. Nor, for that matter does it stray far from the traditional path. Although a quick dip into the deep end of this album could have some faint hearts running for cover, for this is no girlie recording of dainty fiddle tunes.

"Wild Blue", captures a lively, session quality in the music, which was the intention during recording. Among the accompanying musicians are John Doyle, Kimati Dinizulu, Ben Whittman, Tom "T-Bone" Walk, Seamus Egan, Jerry O'Sullivan and Kasim Sultan. The track listings may seem akilter, with titles like, "Destitution" and "DNA Bourrees", but making up the sets are the known and not so well-known. With, "Star of Munster", "Jimmy Ward's", "Jenny's Chickens", "The Right's of Man", "Pinch of Snuff" and "Piper on Horseback", all being variously, pushed along by fiddles, guitars, uilleann pipes, electric organ, congas, djembe and some foot tapping. Near the end of the album, "Blue Groove" and "Destitution", draw out the traditional toward a more progressive style, with electric fiddle and a flavour of jazz and soul. The album's underlying tone, however, is still based on the ebb and flow of traditional music. "Lament for Staker Wallace", is the final track. A solo performance of a raw, unsentimental, honest piece of music, emotionally charged with anger, pride and grief.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 16 of The Living Tradition magazine.