Widely considered to be one of the best and most original guitarists of his generation, Ian Carr has worked with many acclaimed artists including Kathryn Tickell, Kate Rusby, Eddi Reader, Kris Drever and others.
Following on from his critically acclaimed album Who He?, released in 2015, February 2020 will see the release of I Like Your Taste In Music, another eclectic mix of musical styles that features Maria Jonsson, Steph Geremia and Gustaf Ljunggren among others.
Ian met Maria Jonsson in Falun, Sweden in 1995. She was making spaghetti for her dinner and he asked her, “Are you boiling cheese?” She replied “No I’m boiling spaghetti!” They eventually learned to communicate with each other and playing tunes and making up new ones proved very theraputic to them both. In 2008 they made a record featuring several of these recordings, together with their friend Mikael Marin from the brilliant Väsen, and not long after they started work on Who He?, along with bassist Staffan Lindfors. Ian met Laura Wilkie and Thomas Gibbs at a jam in Glasgow, Laura played a tune of Ian’s called ‘Gahn Blenk’ and they immediately sounded like the best band in the world. At the release concert for Who He? they played ‘I Like Your Taste In Music’. Ian had the riff for years, and couldn’t stop playing it, soon becoming the tune that he played to check the sound on his guitar before gigs. But it needed words and one day in a hotel room in Skellefteå in Norther Sweden a man appeared and said “Thou Shalt Sing I Trust Your Taste In Men” Ian said “I cannot sing that” and Maria, who was also in the room said “you could sing I Like Your Taste In Music” And thus it was!
I was beginning to muse about why it is that Irish, and indeed Scottish, musicians have such a deep desire to rework and circulate the music from their native lands and then I read that Steph Geremia is actually from New York. Up She Flew is Steph’s second album, almost ten years on from her debut and she is now ensconced in the north-west of Ireland from which much of her repertoire is drawn. North Connaught is her home and the source of her inspiration. Steph principally plays flute – more delicate and fluid than whistle or pipes – which makes this a very pretty record. She also plays soprano sax on two tracks and sings on one but doesn’t dwell on it.
Most of the material is traditional but among the credits you’ll find the names of Charlie Lennon, Martin Wynne and, venturing away from Ireland, Chris Stout. Steph is punctilious about noting the sources of her tunes so we learn that ‘The Housemaid’ is a version of ‘The Humours Of Glendart’ via Chris Sheridan and I suppose that we’ll one day read that a particular tune comes from the playing of Steph Geremia. I suppose, too, that that’s been going on for a few hundred years.
Steph has a fine supporting band, notably percussionist Jim Higgins and Aaron Jones on bouzouki and guitar but she remains on top of everyone and I suspect that co-producer Donal O’Connor has a lot to do with that. Even when Ben Gunnery’s fiddle or Michael Rooney’s harp is an integral part of a track it’s very restrained. If you’re a session player you’ll probably find several tunes that you’ll want to learn and if not, well, it’s a very pleasant album for a summer’s day.