Well, a nice package arrived from Ireland the other day in the form of a CD. I had seen the previous week that Karl's CD was now available from Claddagh Records in Dublin. I have visited there back in 2007 and it is located in the Temple Bar area. I know that Máiréad had indicated she would offer some autographed ones on her site but I did not want to wait and she has obviously been a bit busy so they have not appeared in her store. So, 19.70 Euros later (including shipping) I now am the very proud owner of a very delightful disc.
Karl is a multi-talented artist and plays several instruments on this CD including Low Whistle, Flute, bodhran. Bouzouki, Piano, didjeridu, as well as some vocals. He is ably accompanied by Trevor Kiely on drums, Ger Harrington on bass, Derek Cremin on piano and keyboard, Donncha Moynihan on Guitar, Edel McLaughlin on piano accordion, and Marien Collins on fiddle in most pieces. However, he has some very special guests on here as well. There are two vocals tracks, one by John Spillane, and the other by the well known Niall Connolly. There is one track with sax by Karl Rooney and one track with a fiddler named Blaithin Milne. Most special though are siblings Sean on button accordion, and Máiréad on fiddle.
I'll run through the track list below but suffice it to say that Karl is amazing on flute especially but also on the other instruments. It is clear the genetics in this family are highly geared towards music and artistic pursuits. Sean is really wonderful on the accordion, and of course we all know how good Máiréad is at what she does.
So, here we go:
1. Rough Ruby- Karl is on flute here in this lively, rather jazzy piece. This is
the piece with sax in it which is also quite good. Máiréad is
here as well and it is a fun piece for her with a bit of an
urban funk similar to a couple pieces on her own CD.
2. New Beginnings/Jean Denise's/Fish & Dolphin- This combo piece has a
nice lilting start with guitar and fiddle. Ahhh, you just know
Máiréad when you hear her.
At one point Karl joins
with the didjeridu. I love it! He did this on her CD and you
don't know how hard it is to play one of those things. I saw
that in Australia and it involves circular breathing to do it just
right. Then it transitions and he is on bodhran as the pace
changes. I can just hear them doing this at a session! The
accordion with Edel joins in and blends wonderfully with our
pixie friend on the fiddle.
3. Last Chance Saloon/Riverside Park- We begin with upbeat accordion
and bodhran. As we progress the accordion along with
Marien on fiddle blend to create a very lively tune. Get
out your dancing shoes! I could picture Irish step dancing
with this one!
4. Don't Be Blue- This is a Niall Connolly composition and the first vocal
track. Karl does a lovely job on flute and there is some
keyboard here as well. Not my favorite track but see
what you think.
5. Baltimore Salute/Fr. O'Grady's/Darby's Farewell- These are a Josie
McDermott composition. It starts with more great flute
by Karl and some guitar. It is lively and has a very Irish
sound to it.
6. Thinktank/Give Her Holly!- Fiddle and bodhran with accordion here.
This has an almost nautical sound to it. There is change
of pace with guitar added later. Very nice.
7. The Sweet Surprise/The Templehouse- This begins gently with
flute and guitar. I picture it as a walk through a field
on a summer day. It perks up a bit later on as drums
add in for a slightly more urban feel.
8. Downtown/Man Where Are You From?- This is a very aggressive
piece that starts with flute and drums. Accordion and
fiddle add in later to make this a very busy tune. This
is another that would get your feet moving. Fun.
9. Craigellachie Bridge/Big Hearted Big Matt/Emma's Reel- Well here
we have Máiréad's third and final effort on this CD. It
turn's out Emma's Reel is a Sean composition. This all
starts with accordion by Sean and he is very good. His
fingers are flying and he and Máiréad match up very
well. Add Karl on guitar and the three talented siblings
make for quite a trio! I could easily see them sitting in
one of their homes just jamming this for fun.
10. Ag An gCoisin- OK, I don't know what that means but this is
the second vocals track. John Spilllane is joined by
Karl on backup vocals here. This sounds like a love
song but I'm not sure it is. The entire thing is sung
in Irish and it is a gentle piece. John does the guitar
work and he is joined by Bliathin Milne on fiddle.
11. Dreaming On Ice- Well I could see someone skating to this
one, sure. It starts with piano and drums then adds
accordion and fiddle. It is sort of a rolling piece that
might be very nice to perform at Skate For The
12. 98 Street/The Driven Snow/Sunlight- A composition by
Marien Collins who plays fiddle here joined by
guitar at start. Then accordion, flute, and drums
join in and we get a somewhat urban funk going.
Again, this is similar to what I heard on Máiréad's
CD in some ways. Karl really is amazing on flute!
13. After The End- It seems many artists like to end on a
mellow note. This gentle, almost Mediterranean
sounding piece has Karl on Bouzouki. This is a
wonderful instrument for him. He played this
on Máiréad's CD as well and it is lovely. This is a
quiet, contemplative piece like a walk along
the beach. Nice way to end.
14. Well, there actually is no track 14, but it looks like
the gap at the end of the above piece created one.
It is a brief, jazzy. tune of just a few seconds that
must simply be an upbaet end to a quiet song.
This is a marvelous CD with a selection of very gifted
artists that you will enjoy. Karl has done a great job of
selecting people who both blend well yet stand out.
There are highlights throughout this album. Of course,
The three Nesbitt siblings are standouts. Karl has a fine
gift on many instruments. Sean is marvelous on accordion.
Máiréad is, well, Máiréad. You can tell it's her. Her three
tracks are lovely and you can tell she is having great fun
doing this with her family and other great musicians. You
will thoroughly enjoy this CD. I think at some point it may
be available on CDBaby but we'll see. Thank you Karl, Sean,
Máiréad, and the others for this little plastic gem of a disc.