Album Review / McGoldrick, McCusker & Doyle: The Reed That Bends In The Storm


I am sorry if that confuses you – as it indeed may – but it just came to me as I was listening to the last tunes on this album. So please let me explain.

The trio is the primal incarnation of a band. Two is a duo, three is a band. Anything more than three is either just a bigger band, an ensemble or an orchestra. In the trio resides the locus of the power of playing together. Rush has been my north star in the rock scene, so I know this.

And when you have three musicians who not only play their music but live it, you have a good chance of hearing something you just don’t argue with.

As in the case of, say, Motörhead.

I happen to think this principle is not bound to any genre. Listening to The Reed That Bends… only affirms this belief. Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle are all iconic musicians in the Celtic arena and this isn’t their first album together either.

So for a lay fanboy like me, it would be pretty pointless to try to dissect these tunes and say something clever about them because this is deep-rooted Celtic folk music as a bird sings: lived rather than performed, flowing rather than played. Nothing to add, really.

I remember it was albums like this that inititally woke me to Celtic folk and trad, the entire musical culture, because of the sheer natural strength and presence, for want of a better word, in the music . I had lived for decades with heavily amplified music and instruments and suddenly I was bowled over by a few acoustic instruments played by Scots and Irishmen.

It happens.

That same beautiful power is here on this album and I dive into the music and tap into its natural energy, channeled by musicians who have absolutely nothing to prove at this point. I hope someone else in some other musical sphere now happens to hear this and come alive. Because this, as they say, is what it’s all about.

The Reed That Bends In The Storm is available on John McCusker’s web site and will be easy on your wallet:

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