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JULIE HENIGAN "American Stranger" Waterbug CD WBG0035

This excellent album of traditional music is a reissue of Julie Henigan's cassette 'American Stranger' with the addition of four previously unissued tracks. Julie lives in the USA but she visits Britain fairly regularly and is well known in some areas. On the basis of this album, which is a faithful reflection of her live performance, she should be booked wherever audiences enjoy a true and uncluttered approach to traditional music. Julie convincingly spans the North American, Irish and British traditions. On this album she sings in Gaelic (accurately, I'm told) and in English and she plays very tastefully on five-string banjo, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. She's also a decent fiddle player, though for that you'll have to catch her live as it's absent from this album.

Julie has an ear for excellent versions of traditional songs and she's pretty handy at finding them. Here she also reveals a skill in composition on several tunes and an attractive 'farewell' song. Particular highlights on the album for me are Adieu My Lovely Nancy, an unusual version, beautifully sung, The Hare's Dream, Blue-eyed Boy, Going Across the Sea, with a great banjo part ... I could include more.

This is rich material, thoughtfully and skilfully performed. Live or recorded Julie Henigan's music is well worth tracking down.

Jon Scaife

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This album was reviewed in Issue 27 of The Living Tradition magazine.