Irish Music Show Legend Begins

I started the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast in 2005. It had a different name back then which you will find out when you listen to the Irish Music Legend show on YouTube. See the episode #1 shownotes here.

Marc Gunn is a rhythm and folk musician inspired by Celtic culture, science fiction, fantasy, and cats. It’s Celtic music, the traditional and the twisted.  He is the Chief Editor of the Celtic Music Magazine and host of the award-winning Irish & Celtic Music Podcast.

Review: “Pressed for Time” by Burning Bridget Cleary

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Already covered in numerous accolades, Burning Bridget Cleary is on fire with their fourth album “Pressed for Time”. It is a superb compilation of traditional and old time songs and tunes of various different origins, highlighting their Celtic and American roots. The album is filled with spellbinding fiddle work and multilayered arrangements. Each track possesses a vibrant clarity and the clear transitions within the songs truly allows each of the member’s skills to shine.

A perfect example is BBC’s version of Jay Ungar’s masterpiece Ashokan Farewell.  Based off of the style from the 19th Century, this slow waltz beautifully changes hands from a soft, emotionally played fiddle to the skillful finger picking of a guitar and then back. Yet, at no time does the piece seemed forced or choppy. The piece smoothly changes hands like a graceful dance. In the end, they just let the music speak for itself.

Likewise, their version Stor Mo Chroi is very different from any other version. While most are melancholy and slower in tempo, theirs is not. It is performed at a faster tempo with a driving rhythm in the background. Nevertheless, we still can feel the struggle between the lovers expressed throughout the song, the angst of their separation. So while they take the arrangement in a different direction the core of the song still remains the same.

Moreover, their versions of Oh My Little Darling and Two Sisters are fantastic examples from the canon of traditional music, with Two Sisters able to be dated back at least to the 1600’s. On this album, both of these songs are true standouts for me. The acapella start to Oh My Little Darling with the fiddle taking lead gives it a true Appalachian feel. Plus, the percussion by Jim Salamone really helps to keep the piece driving forward. The piece blends wonderfully into Fire On the Mountain with an electric guitar solo before going into the final verse of the previous song. Likewise, Two Sisters is an up tempo murder ballad that will have you singing along with a smile on your face. After all, who doesn’t love a good murder ballad to pick up one’s spirits?

While the songs I’ve just mentioned are wonderful, they are just the start. Other songs on the album to note are On a Sea of Fleur De Lis, the title track Pressed for Time / Bonnie Mulligan, The Ballad of Tim Evans and Sitting in the Stern of a Boat. Whether it is an instrumental or a narrative ballad they are all done with the same excellent care an attention to detail that BBC is known for.

In short, Burning Bridget Cleary’s fourth album “Pressed for Time” is one album you don’t want to miss. In this album, BBC strips these wonderful songs back to the core and then builds around it in their own unique way.

Artist: Burning Bridget Cleary
Buy Album: Pressed for Time

Stephen Mc Sweeney is a High School English/Drama teacher. Besides writing for the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine, he enjoys acting, writing and playing Celtic music. He can be seen as one of the members of the band Terrible Musicians, where he plays percussion and mandolin.

New Celtic CDs from West of Eden, Chris Patrick, Eastern Passage, Dick Hogan

West of Eden - Songs from Twisting River

Songs from Twisting River
by West of Eden
“The Best of Contemporary Folk” Irish Music Magazine
Genre: Folk: British Folk
Release Date: 2014

Irish Harvest
by Chris Patrick
Traditional music with a modern style telling an Irish tale of Unity and prosperity. Creating a dynamic musical atmosphere you will want to experience again and again.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 2014

Eastern Passage
by Eastern Passage
A rich mix of soft traditional music combined with originality and creativity from the rocky shores of Newfoundland.
Genre: Folk: Irish Traditional
Release Date: 2014

Songs of Clare, Vol. 1
by Dick Hogan
One of irelands best known and most popular singers. On the scene now for almost 45 yrs. Regarded widely as a most unique singer with an extraordinary repertoir of unusual songs. John o regan, the well known critic for BBC and RTE radio, and various folk magazines described it as a staggeringly brilliant collection and urged everyone to hear it. The best Irish album for years by John Kelly, RTE television and Paddy Kinnane of Kerry radio Irelands greatest comical traditional singer by Jimmy Crowley of the “Cork Evening Echo” Probably the last of a line of very rare and very special breed. The whole Hogan Collection is an awe inspiring and incredible achievement, tradconnect.com.
Genre: Folk: Irish Traditional
Release Date: 2013

New Celtic CDs from Martin Tourish, Runa, Crawford Brother’s Eoin Duignan, Flashpoint, Highland Reign

Here’s another great week of new Celtic CDs. Both Highland Reign and Flashpoint were featured on our award-winning Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. Some of those other albums sound like gems too. Give ‘em al isten.

Flashpoint - A Timely Misadventure

Under a Red Sky Night
by Martin Tourish
The long awaited album of new compositions in the Celtic/ Irish traditional style featuring virtuosic, colorful arrangements that mirror the Donegal hills for their peaks and glens. Complimented by a stellar cast of some of Ireland’s best known artists.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 2014

Somewhere Along the Road
by Runa
Innovative and award-winning Celtic Roots Music
Genre: Folk: Contemporary Celtic
Release Date: 2012

Murphy and the Devil
by Crawford Brother’s
Traditional Celtic music and Original Music with a Traditional Celtic sound
Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 2014

Pagan Irish
by Eoin Duignan
Paga Irish is a musical interpretation of the Fianníocht story Cath Finntrágha which dates back to the 12th century using mostly original tunes, two tunes from the Goodman collection and a few traditional tunes.
Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 2014

A Timely Misadventure
by Flashpoint
EP of rockin’ Irish tunes by the hottest young Celtic band to come out of Dallas.
Genre: Folk: Irish Contemporary
Release Date: 2014

Live At the Thomas Family Winery
by Highland Reign
Scots-American Progressive Folk Rock!! This album was recorded live at the Thomas Family Winery in Madison Indiana! Highland Reign always has an awesome crowd at the Winery!! Bagpipes, Guitar, Fiddle and Bodhran!!
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 2013

Marc Gunn is a rhythm and folk musician inspired by Celtic culture, science fiction, fantasy, and cats. He breathes new life into the autoharp, which continues to surprise musical veterans and fans a like for it’s unique sound and spirited energy. It’s like a satirical jam session between The Clancy Brothers and Weird Al Yankovic. It’s Celtic music, the traditional and the twisted.  He is the Chief Editor of the Celtic Music Magazine and host of the award-winning Irish & Celtic Music Podcast.

“First Highland Watch” by First Highland Watch

“First Highland Watch” by First Highland Watch

Bagpipe Rock? That’s an obvious question! And one answer to it is definitely First Highland Watch.

They hail from Philly – and consist of three competition pipers (who have competed on the East Coast, Canada, and Scotland) and a fantastic rock trio.  It was cool to learn that, together they’ve rocked some big events, including the Washington Crossing Brew Fest (2,500 in attendance!) and a Philadelphia Union Soccer Game.

Now, to the album. I’m a huge bagpipe fan, first of all. And if you’ve gotten this far, chances are, you are too. I’ll start with UAF, a rousing instrumental to get things started. This one gets you into sure fire anthem Battle of Culloden, I feel like I can hear this one at a sporting event to get a crowd going. Go, fight, win guys!  My favorite might have to be Hag of the Mist. While my favorite band might be Queen, this one reminds me of early Metallica, another band I really love – can I even hear some Sabbath and Dio influences in there? This one grows on me with every listen. In fact, the whole album grows on me with each listen! Of course, don’t forget to check out Irish Paddy, Midnight Ramble, and O’Neill’s in Temple Bar. None of the songs disappoint.

While most the songs are originals, their covers of Amazing Grace, I’m Shipping Up to Boston, and Back Home in Derry definitely rock it. You can hear their skill in I’m Shipping Up to Boston, as it enters a short musical interlude. I even hear a Reggae beat in their Amazing Grace. Nice one, guys.

In all, I don’t think I’d miss an opportunity to see these guys if it came up. Sounds like they’d bring the rock to whatever venue they’d perform in, whether in a bar, or say for that 2,500 in attendance. Check this album out, and thank me later.

They can be found on both Facebook and www.firsthighlandwatch.com

Romana Guillotte is an MFA Screenwriting Candidate at UNLV and a terribly average cellist. In addition to writing reviews the Celtic Music Magazine, she moonlights as a barista and writes short stories. She managed to self-publish her first novel “Lydia’s Family” back in ’06.