Some jaw-droppin’ musicians! Have mercy…

By pure chance I happened to listen to some dazzling albums over the past week – dazzling in terms of musicianship, that is. If you play an instrument and need some inspiration to fire up your own practising, check these out…

The amazing debut album An Den Day Made Tae (2020) by the Shetland brothers team Ross & Ryan Couper is one hell of a firecracker. Ross Couper is one of the most amazing fiddlers – nay, musicians, period – I have witnessed live, and Ryan’s excellent guitar playing is a perfect pair for that fiddle on fire.

Ross is not only technically stunning; his playing also references so many styles but always tastefully and never to excess. From the Shetland trad fiddle to Celtic to Americana to French jazz, the guy just plays whatever he damn well wants, always keeping it together and making musical sense. Awesome.

That, ladies, gents and non-binaries, I call musicianship. Hallelujah, folks.

Some wonderful Irish playing came my way in the shape of Carlos – Sweeney – McCartin (2019), an album of Irish trad music played with such verve and joy and skill, I thought to myself ”if I had to introduce someone to Irish trad stuff, this album would be perfect”.

Dylan Carlos (fiddle), Cein Sweeney (flute) and John McCartin (gtr) play up a nice storm here and I just can’t but enjoy every tune and admire the musicians. Absolutely grreat stuff, with guest appearances from the Irish giants Donald Lunny and John Joe Kelly. With names like that, you know what calibre the music on this album is, I’m sure.

And, staying on the Emerald Isle, the flute wiz Kevin Meehan’s debut album Spanish Point (2020) is a absolute treasure, a serving of flute magic and tunes so rich and full of light, it’s one those albums that just makes me smile; it raises my spirit.

This is modern Irish folk, with a full band backing Kevin and the tunes are all his, but the tradition comes through in the music, of course. He is still a fairly young guy, so there’s much to look forward to in the coming years. For a debut album, it’s a stunner, and would be even if it wasn’t.

To end the rant, I need to mention the American mandolin player and composer Jacob Jolliff whose playing, when I saw him live, blew me away well and truly. Coming from the bluegrass tradition, he happily mixes all manner of elements and spice into the music that can come pretty heady at some points, not the least because of his astonishing playing. Again, this guy is not only lightning fast, he plays and creates music. Check out his catalogue!

All these artists are on the major streaming platforms but please check them out on Bandcamp where you can not only listen to the albums and songs (up to five times for free) but also purchase them in digital or physical formats and so directly support the artists themselves who sell their music on the Bandcamp platform.
Thank you!

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