Review: “Celtic Squall” by Celtic Squall

Artist: Celtic Squall
Album: Celtic Squall

In this, their first album, Celtic Squall gives an impressive performance. Formed by Heather Greene, and her husband Stu Venable, whose other bands’ (The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Poxy Boggards, respectively) styles didn’t leave them much room to perform small-group traditional Celtic music. Greene does an admirable job on the recorder and Venable does equally well on the electric and upright bass. In addition to Greene and Venable are Claire Broderick on bouzouki and Phil Schwadron playing all manner of drums and the harmonica. Together with tight four-part harmony, they are a perfect fit for these songs.

The first tracks start it off wonderfully with “Ca the Yowes to the Knowes” and couple of well-paced renditions of “All Among the Barley” and “Drop of Good Beer.” Oh course, there is also more serious fare such as the traditional song “The Forsaken Mother and Child” and “Coal Miner Song,” an original song by Stu Venable in the fine tradition of angry folk songs. Of all of these, one of my favorites is the murder ballad “Sam Hall,” an old English folk song that most people know by the Johnny Cash version; here Celtic Squall use the tune of “Ye Jacobites by Name,” and it is as dark, and as imprecatory a song as you could ask for. However, great as that is Celtic Squall saves the best for last with a truly rocking version of “The Parting Glass.”

My only complaint with this album is that it is entirely too short with a running time of only a little over forty minutes. I suppose we will just have to wait patiently for their next album. I think the wait will be worth it, but in the meantime you should get this one.

Gail Rybak is an occasional writer, artist and she helps run Amelia’s Heirlooms. She is also a full-time geek and cat owner, and enjoys writing for .

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