LOREENA McKENNITT – The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Quinlan Records QRCD114)

I’ve followed Loreena McKennitt’s career for over two decades and she has never failed to captivate me with her slightly mannered vocals and well-crafted musical landscapes. I use the term ‘mannered’ as unlike so many of her contemporaries enunciation is primary in her delivery. That’s not to dismiss it as some half-hearted attempt at snobbery it’s just that (for a change) you can understand every word…and I do mean every word. McKennitt has not immersed herself so fully in the tradition since her debut album ‘Elemntal’ in 1985 but the passage of time merges seamlessly and following on from her more extravagant encounters with the folk-rock genre with full band backing she has chosen a more or less acoustic path with this recording. Securing the services of thirteen musicians including long-time associates Brian Hughes (guitars and bouzouki) and Hugh Marsh (violin) along with established exponents Tony McManus (guitar) and Caroline Lavelle (cello) the songs including “As I Roved Out” and “Death Of Queen Jane” along with a sparse arrangement of the instrumental “Brian Boru’s March” are sparingly approached without being boring. Finally, and don’t get me wrong but with a credits list that reads like a Hollywood blockbuster it is the audio delight issuing from that little silver platter that makes for a more than rewarding listen and a welcome addition to anyone who enjoys their music with a penchant for all things traditional.

PETE FYFE

Artist website: http://www.quinlanroad.com/


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