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ROSEMARY WOODS "Journeys and Dreams" Spring Records SCD1042

Quite a lot has been happening for Rosie since her (amicable) split with fellow Irish-based singer Siobhan Skates. A solo tour of North America which included gigs at the prestigious Lincoln Centre in New York and the Philadelphia Folk Festival has led to a surge of interest in her career and this album will go a long way to keeping that interest alive.

Blessed by one of the purest voices you'll hear in two months of Sundays, she proves here that her own songs can stand up with the best of them and her subjects range from the lament of a grieving widow on "He Belongs to Me", through two beautiful songs about St Francis and St Clare to the simplicity of "Crow and Scarecrow". She also puts her own distinctive stamp on two songs by well-respected writers with Kate Wolf's "Green Eyes" and Colum Sands' "The Night Is Young".

The album is on Colum's own label Spring Records based in Rostrevor in County Down and - as ever - the recording quality is excellent. The guest musicians include such luminaries as Kieran Goss on guitar, James Blennerhasset on bass and Canadian mandolinist John Reischman and if you're used to Rosie accompanied only by her own guitar the tasteful backings serve only to enhance the songs.

It's difficult not to see Rosie's career really taking off from here and no one deserves success more. In the words of one of the songs "For tomorrow the road will be calling us on". This is an excellent album which proves that the ultimate musical instrument is still the voice.

Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 33 of The Living Tradition magazine.