KEVIN CRAWFORD – Carrying the Tune (Brooklyn Boy Records BBR 001)

Carrying The TuneCarrying The Tune is the third solo album in the extensive discography of the critically acclaimed flautist Kevin Crawford, and accompanied by bouzouki (Mick Conneely and John Doyle), guitar (Doyle) and bodhrán (Brian Morrissey), it is immersed, as ever, in the sounds of Celtic tradition, displaying Crawford’s virtuosity at every opportunity. Indeed, such prowess makes it a rather difficult task to pinpoint the album’s standouts, without overlooking what else the record has to offer, therefore (particularly for those who are unfamiliar with the work) it may be more useful to provide a brief rundown of the album as a whole.

‘The Clare Connection’ opens the record, (a set of reels fusing ‘McHugh’s/Michael Murphy’s and Humours Of Tullycrine’ together and featuring Crawford on Eb flute) followed by slip jigs (collectively titled ‘2 Days’), before another set of reels are introduced in the form of ‘Autumn Apples/Cormac O’Lunny’s and Paddy Sean Nancy’s’. Phil Cunningham’s beautiful ‘Flatwater Fran’ next kicks off a set of waltzes, which (like track two’s slip jigs) showcase Crawford on flute as well as whistle. The second waltz of the set, ‘Mrs Jean Campbell BSC’, was written by Rory Campbell, giving Crawford’s piece its title, ‘Phil And Rory’s’

From here, boisterous jigs and beautiful reels lead the way to the haunting air, ‘The Dear Irish Boy’, which follows into the steady guitar of John Doyle and the double tracked flute of Crawford, in the selections which make up ‘The Slippery Slope’. An interesting change of pace is brought about through ‘Tanglony’, with Crawford, this time, opting for the D whistle, and Doyle accompanying him on bouzouki. The next pocket of selections are bookended with reels; ‘The Ivy Leaf’ and ‘The Mountain Lark’, with a collection of jigs, titled ‘Chapter 3’, sandwiched in between. Next up, it is an original, titled ‘The Hula Hoop’, that twists, turns and leads us to slow air ‘Travelling Through Blarney’ and ‘Come West Along The Road’ (collectively titled ‘Travelling West’) to bring the album to an atmospheric conclusion.

For fans of the Irish traditional/ Celtic music scene, you will, no doubt, be familiar with Mr Crawford’s output, either through his solo work, or through his recordings with Lúnasa, Cillian Vallely or Moving Cloud, but you may not be so familiar with this album; self-released originally in 2012 on BallyO Records, it has been out of print the last few years, but thanks to Brooklyn Boy Records and Copperplate Distribution, it is released, once again, in all of its glory.

Christopher James Sheridan

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the KEVIN CRAWFORD – Carrying the Tune link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

ORDER – [CD]

Artist’s website: http://www.lunasa.ie

Kevin with Martin Hayes and John Doyle (The Teetotallers) play a set including ‘The Dear Irish Boy’:

LUNASA – The Merry Sisters Of Fate

LUNASA The Merry Sisters Of FateA nice opening set-up from Donogh Hennessy’s driving rhythmic guitar settles comfortably in to the jig ‘Aoibhneas Eilis Ni Cheallaigh’ with Kevin Crawford’s flute and Sean Smyth’s fiddle taking up the lead lines.

The rather nifty segue from the second tune ‘Jimmy Ward’s’ into the closing ‘Not Safe with A Razor’ is a typical demonstration of the band’s main strength, that of the art of arrangement. Many of today’s aspiring Celtic musicians could take note for a well-structured arrangement is pivotal in keeping the audience’s attention.

Adding colour are Cillian Valleley’s pipes and underpinning it all is Trevor Huthinson’s double bass. The addition of Hennessy’s electric guitar adds warmth on ‘The Kilarney Boys of Pleasure’.

All of the tunes on this 11 set album go with a swing and the self-assured way in which they are put across leaves you in no doubt that Irish music is in safe hands and continuing to break the boundaries of musical prejudice.

Pete Fyfe

Originally posted – 17-May-2001

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.