They have recorded unforgettable tunes and songs, often in collaboration with John McCusker, and toured the world on various occasions: Michael McGoldrick and John Doyle are back with a self-titled album that surely will not disappoint their fans.
The opening set of guitar and wooden flute reels The West Wind / Fred Finns / The Tinkers Stick immediately introduces the listener to the breath-taking virtuosity of these two giants of folk music, one of the key features throughout the entire album. Six of the nine tracks on this album are tunes or instrumental medleys.
On those McGoldrick’s whistles and wooden flute carry the melody, classy embellishments naturally engraved in his distinctively fluid playing, while Doyle provides the accompaniment and an impeccable counterpoint; for example Lyney Station / Paddy’s Trip to Barnaderg / The Dog in the Fog or Shoot the Crows / Hagges Reel.
There are also three renditions of as many traditional songs and the arrangements they dress up them in are equally memorable. The Lancashire Lads has a lively stride, emphasised by McGoldrick’s whistle and uilleann pipes solos, and Lovely Willie, in which Doyle’s expressive voice finds the perfect partner in his musical companion’s poignant whistle touch, are among the songs.
As anyone who has already come across their music would expect, the synergy between the Englishman and the Irishman takes the spotlight, sometimes shining even more than the music itself; something that only comes with friendship and artistic mutual understanding. A positive note is McGoldrick’s return to his usual mellow whistle sound, the one that undoubtedly better suits his playing style, after the unexpected timbral shift of ARC.
Thanks to the amazing dexterity and to the thoughtful interplay between the elements of this close-knit duo this album is not only an unexpected gift to their fans, but also a taste, delivered through the diversified traditional music of this part of the world, of the complex and often ignored beauty of the British Isles.Michele Mele
Released on CD and digitally on 17 July 2020; recorded at Boxroom Studio, Manchester
1. The West Wind / Fred Finn’s / The Tinkers Stick
2. The Ballad of Jim Larkin / The 1913 Lockout
3. Lyney Station / Paddy’s Trip to Barnaderg / The Dog in the Fog
5. The Lancashire Lads
6. Old Raffety’s Apple / Paddy’s Old Bike / Crawford’s Shuffle
7. Shoot the Crows / Hagges Reel
8. Lovely Willie
9. Johnny Cope