The Alt: three superb musicians excelling in Irish traditional music - John Doyle (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandola), Nuala Kennedy (vocals, flutes, whistles) and Eamon O’Leary (vocals, guitar, bouzouki) - who are already well known and respected on the folk scene, celebrate this month the release of their self-titled début album. Recorded in a cabin in North Carolina, the trio have certainly produced an album which captures perfectly the history of the Irish tradition, following it on the journey it once made over to America and exploring it’s fascinating legacy and culture.
Each of the eleven tracks, most chosen because of personal links and experiences, bring to the listener an engaging collection of stories - told through gorgeous, floating melodies and harmonies. The album cleverly celebrates the rich history and diversity of the Irish tradition by presenting to the listener songs with links with American, English and Scottish traditional music. And thus alongside reel sets there are songs sung in Gaelic and those about the Battle of Waterloo. Each track showcases the trio’s skill as artists and musicians. Performances are polished but the personality and character of both songs and artists remains strong throughout.
The listener may recognise snippets of tune or lyrics and may feel they have heard a story told before, but as The Alt have arranged many of the songs using elements of a range of traditions, the result is a completely unique take on several well known ballads. The album also includes a number of tune sets - such as The Geese in the Bog/Covering Land - each one confirming Nuala Kennedy as a stunning flautist. Along with carefully arranged guitar accompaniments, these particular tracks will certainly be a favourite with tune-lovers.
The Alt - an exciting new group and a real treat for listeners who have already been delighted by the musicians on their previous musical ventures. From old ballads to songs newly discovered, the trio have crafted the story of the spectacular past, present and future of such a thriving tradition.Rebekah Foard
Released 7th November 2014 on Under the Arch Records
1. Lovely Nancy
2. What Put The Blood
3. One Morning In May
4. The Geese In The Bog - Covering Ground
5. Willie Angler
6. Going For A Soldier Jenny/The Chandelier
7. Finn Waterside
8. The Eighteenth Of June
9. The Green Gowned Lass/Danger Mouse/Dan Breen’s
10. Cha Tig Mor Mo Bhean Dhachaigh
11. The Letter Song