I have to admit, when I went to high school in Homewood, Alabama, I had NO idea there was a Celtic presence in the Birmingham, AL area. Maybe there wasn't in 19…mumblety mumble, or maybe I was a clueless and sheltered teenager (nah, couldn't be that). But apparently Birmingham does, indeed, have a thriving Celtic music community including Jasper Coal. Jasper Coal has been around since 2004 (long after I left the area) and has settled into a six-piece band.
Jasper Coal's Just the One has ten tracks of traditional Irish music with a bit of rock to it. They claim Dropkick Murphys as an influence, so that's to be expected. Six of the tracks are two- and three-song medleys. The first track, “Tell Me Ma” is a medley with polkas book-ending the title song. I don't think I've ever heard an Irish Polka, but it works musically (it would kill me to try to dance to, though). The last medley track is something I've come to take as a “standard” for more rockin' Irish music, it's called “Copperhead” and it's a combo of “Copperhead Road” and “Thunderhead”, which gives the Steve Earl classic a bit more zip.
But it's not all dance worthy music. “Sniper's Promise” is a haunting ballad. “Oro Se” is a classic tune in Irish, which is not something I expect to come out of Birmingham. This is a lovely and very skilled album. If you're a dancer, you'll find the toes tapping. If you just like listening, you still have your toes tapping. The harmonies are tight and the musicianship is top notch. This is just good, quality music with lively tempos and traditional instruments. I've enjoyed just letting it flow over me before settling down and listening to it for this review.
There is or will be a physical CD for sale. It has a limited edition art sleeve with art by John Pleasant. Check the website for more information, or down load the album from CD Baby.
Rhonda Eudaly lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband, and two dogs. She's ventured into several industries and occupations for a wide variety of experience. She has a well-rounded publication history in both fiction and non-fiction many of which can be found on www.RhondaEudaly.com.