SOLAS – The Turning Tide (Compass Records 7 4530 2)

Musically speaking I’d say that folk super-group Solas never have an off day and as if proof were needed I’ve been reviewing the band since the release of their first album some fourteen years ago with each recording receiving the obligatory ten out of ten! As ever scintillating performances and compositions radiate from band members Winifred Horan (fiddle), Eamon McElholm (guitar) and Mick McAuley (button accordion) and I must admit that when I hear the seriously gifted multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan the words we are not worthy readily spring to mind. The icing on the cake and now having comfortably settled into her position as the band’s lead vocalist, the breathy tones of mezzo soprano Mairead Phelan are totally at ease with the choice of material and whether it be the gentle country-rock of Springsteen’s “Ghost Of Tom Joad” or Josh Ritter’s melancholic “A Girl In The War” she never fails with a delivery that is pretty near faultless. As you’d imagine, the group’s choice of tunes prove a good mix of traditional and self-penned and it’s nice to hear Stockton’s Wing’s old warhorse The Golden Stud appearing here under the title “Box Reel #2”. With superb production from Egan and mastering by John Anthony this is an album that will sit comfortably on any true ‘folk’ enthusiasts list of must have purchases. Do I need to spell it out for you…another resounding ten out of ten!

PETE FYFE


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