Yesterday I Saw the Earth Beautiful by Gerry O’Beirne and Rosie Shipley is a sensory journey for the listener – akin to an impressionistic painting it provides all the necessary points, but leaves it to the listener to make the final connection. Filled with such varied emotion and intensity, from the serene to the energetic, the album grabs a hold of the listener’s senses and takes them on a journey filled with many peaks and valleys.
Yesterday I Saw the Earth Beautiful features three new songs penned by Gerry O’Beirne, two compositions composed to accompany poems written by Irish poets, and several traditional pieces, which are given a new voice through O’Beirne and Shipley’s own interpretations and musical sensibility. The new songs, “Black Water,” “1874,” and “Song of an Actor,” introduce the topics of love, dependency, and loneliness. Painting the canvas for the listener, O’Beirne’s driving guitar and skillful picking create the general shape, while Shipley’s skillful control of her fiddle fleshes out the piece and adds great depth to it. At times, she can come across as light as a gentle caress and at others strong and forceful.
In addition, the poetic composition of “Labasheeda,” based off of the poem “The Silken Bed” by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, is a fun, bright, and sensual piece that uses the land as a living body in an address to the lover. Filled with tactile and visual imagery, the music accents the playful nature of the poem. Meanwhile, the first song of the album, “Free Soul,” sets the stage for the journey. It is a quiet reflective piece composed surrounding the poem by Patrick Kavanagh, “Yesterday I Saw the Earth Beautiful.”
Finally, Shipley’s fiddle playing brings us back from the valleys to these gorgeous peaks with her wonderful interpretation of some traditional tunes like “Tom Billy’s,” “Cape Breton Set,” and “O’Carolan’s Concerto.” However, it is not just these peaks that are important, but how each piece of the puzzle helps create the whole experience.
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.