Rambles - 6 July 2002
- Here's what you'll find on the What's New page at Rambles,
your best source on the Internet for roots and traditional
music, fiction, folklore and movie reviews!
Whooo! Still a little dazzled by some spectacular displays of fireworks;
here in southcentral Pennsylvania, several communities -- including downtown
Lancaster -- have outdone themselves this year to celebrate the Fourth! We
hope everyone in the U.S. and Canada enjoyed their respective days:
Independendence Day, here, and Canada Day, north of the border. Now let's
enjoy some fireworks here as Rambles lets loose with another colorful bunch
Tom Knapp chats with Gaelic Storm frontman Patrick Murphy about surviving
Titanic and developing a first-class band along the way. Check out this
Cheryl Turner leaves her beloved Cape Breton fiddle/piano duets behind for
the moment and returns to the Scottish roots with Legacy of the Scottish
Fiddle, Vol. 1 by Alasdair Fraser and Paul Machlis. "It is an excellent
collection of tunes with outstanding musicianship, and those who enjoy
traditional Scottish tunes -- particularly airs -- played with heart will
love this album," Cheryl says.
Bill Knapp jumps back in time to the days of when Irish soldiers battled for
the Union in the American Civil War. Rock of Erin, recorded by the 69th
Pennsylvania Irish Volunteers, "is exactly what you'd expect it to be:
rousing, inspirational and toe-tapping," Bill says.
Nicky Rossiter says Brother doesn't give you much to go on -- only five
tracks -- on the CD I You You Me, but it left Nicky wanting more. "The group
sounds equally accomplished at driving rock and thoughtful reflection," he
says. (And for more, you can check out our reviews of three previous Brother
CDs and, in a week or so, read a new interview with a brother from Brother!)
Tom can't get enough of Howie MacDonald, a Cape Breton fiddler and musical
"institution." Take for example MacDonald's CD The Ceilidh Trail, which Tom
describes as "a great taste of Cape Breton musicianship." Read on to see
Lynne Remick takes a dip into the musical pool of northern Canada. But the
mixed bag in Charlie Ningiuk's Inuit Nunangani, Lynne exclaims, is "too
weird for my tastes!"
Chet Williamson takes a peek at the early days of Les Daniels, Martin Mull
and Sam and Bob Tidwell, all working together as the Double Standard String
Band. This self-titled release of early material is "a fun, quirky set of
songs, unfortunately marred by the sub-par vintage recording techniques,"
But Chet feels let down in a big way by Dolly Parton's latest release, Halos
& Horns, which fails to live up to the standards set by her recent Sugar
Hill CDs. For an in-depth analysis of the album's litany of woes, follow the
link and see what Chet has to say!
Paul de Bruijn says Michael Plishka has split the tracks on Spit, Sputter,
Blow....; some are very good, Paul says, and some are very much not. Read
Paul's review to see what divides them!
C. Nathan Coyle says Carl Cacho demonstrates a unique folk-rockin' style on
his new CD. "Spark offers a lot and delivers in every song," he says.
"Cacho's lyrics are smart, subtle and amusing while his guitar covers a
broad range of influences."
Charlie Ricci likes the sound of Four Bitchin' Babes member Megon McDonough
on her early recording Day By Day ... but says she needs to sing a few less
sentimental folk-pop songs and develop more of an edge.
Turning to blues, Nicky says Frank Morey's CD Cold in Hand "is a fascinating
album. ... Oh, how I wish some of these songs could get a wider audience, to
replace some of the trash that radio stations offer."
Wil Owen says hello to Antibalas, "THE party band of NYC," when he spins
Talkatif, a progressive jazz disc heavily leavened with various world
influences. "It certainly sounds as if this group of musicians had quite a
bit of fun making this CD," Wil says.
Erin Bush says pianist Jim Wilson "mixes smooth jazz and new age styles with
hints of Celtic, pop and classical music to create a soothing yet expressive
sound" on his second album, Cape of Good Hope. "Wilson is hardly breaking
new ground in this genre, but for the most part Cape of Good Hope sounds
more fresh than derivative," Erin notes.
While on the subject of jazz and in the wake of Independence Day in the
United States, don't miss Sheree Morrow's review of Homeland: A Tribute to
the Spirit of America.
The Gosford Park soundtrack made a good impression on reviewer Paul de
Bruijn. "Patrick Doyle has created some incredibly elegant and graceful
music, with a sense of formality that unifies the CD," he says.
Ellen Rawson takes us to the Borderline stage for a London performance by
Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart. Check out Ellen's review of the show!
Mary McLaughlin makes sean-nos singing possible through her new Mel Bay
tunebook, Singing in Irish Gaelic. "If you want to enjoy the rapidly
reviving art of sean-nos singing it will get you on the right track," Nicky
says. "Even if you do not aspire to being a singer, this book and CD are an
Tom put Jane Yolen's The Fairies' Ring to the ultimate test, and it passed
with flying colors! "Yolen has collected and adapted some marvelous pieces
of fairy lore in this slim volume," Tom says. "I know two children whose
bed-time reading list has just expanded."
Conor O'Connor delves into our cultural past with Turn Off Your Mind: The
Mystic Sixties & the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius, an exploration of
those tumultuous years by Gary Valentine Lachman. Lachman, Conor states,
"approaches the subject not as one who participated in the making of that
heady decade, but as somebody who seeks an understanding of what happened at
that point in our history, and why."
Nicky isn't entirely convinced, but he still says Feathers Brush My Heart:
True Stories of Mothers Touching Their Daughters' Lives After Death by
Sinclair Browning "will provide an emotional solace to the bereaved and may
open some people's minds to the possibility of contact by a deceased
Donna Scanlon explores a range of unusual styles of writing in Mark Dunn's
Ella Minnow Pea: a Progressively Lippogrammatic Epistolary Fable -- a tale
in which various letters of the alphabet are disappearing from the language.
"Dunn does a remarkable job at realizing his characters and story through
the epistolary format, the difficulty of which is compounded by the
disappearing letters," Donna says.
Erin is pleased to see Juliet Marillier's excellent novel Daughter of the
Forest continued with such skill in Son of the Shadows. Based on Irish
legends, the book "is a fine work in its own right, brought to life by a
gifted storyteller," Erin says.
Wil isn't a baseball fan, but he still enjoyed The Youngest Hero by Jerry B.
Jenkins. "The story lacks the realism we probably all expect with
professional sports and perhaps life in general -- but that doesn't take
anything away from the tale," Wil says. "If stories could not focus on the
more positive, gloss over the negative and paint a surreal view of the
world, it might be a dismal life indeed."
Tom has a real passion for Shakespeare, but says Michael Almereyda's remake
of Hamlet, starring Ethan Hawke in the title role, "falls short of the
Miles O'Dometer takes us back to the big-hair, heavy-metal days of the 1980s
with Rock Star. "The result is a mixed bag -- hardly great drama, but
surprisingly good theater, recreating the heavy-metal concert scene of the
'80s right down to the last mascara-sketched detail," Miles says.
Tom shares his experiences on a pair of whale-watching excursions in There
be whales here! Read about his visit with the humpbacks off the
Another day come and gone ... we hope you enjoyed today's update, and we
look forward to seeing you next week!