What I know about traditional Irish music you could put on a postage stamp. I do however love the Corrs and I was thrilled to get to review their new album.
The Corrs, an Irish group from Dundalk, County Louth, mix traditional Celtic instruments with pop music to create a unique, upbeat fusion of Celtic Folk Pop. They consist of three sisters; Andrea Corr – lead vocals and tin whistle; Caroline – drums, bodhran (traditional Irish drum), piano, and vocals; and Sharon – violin and vocals who along with their older brother Jim – keyboards, guitar and vocals have been making music since 1991. Originally formed to audition for the movie The Commitments, they have had many top 40 hits and remain popular in the UK, Europe, and of course, their native Ireland.
Now, almost 15 years after their first album, they are returning to their traditional roots with the release of their seventh album Home. This album is both inspired by and a tribute to their mother Jean Corr who died in 1999. Jean along with their father would play in the local pubs at the weekend. Jean had a hand written songbook of the old Irish songs.
Andrea says this made up a large part of the material for this album. “She used to play every weekend in pubs with Daddy, and she’d written all these Irish songs out in a book. They’re songs we’ve loved over the years, and because our parents played them in their band, they’re very special to us.”
I went online and obtained a few MP3’s of the old Irish folk songs and gave them a listen. I found that the Corrs versions of these classic old songs (in one instance as old as 1000 years) are true to the feel of the original. The Corrs have managed to make the songs their own without losing the integrity and charm of the originals. This is an album I really enjoyed almost completely from track 1 to track 12.
The most reminiscent of their former sound is a cover version of “Old Town” originally by former Thin Lizzy Frontman and fellow Irishman Phil Lynott.
I particularly like “Spancill Hill” with infectious ethnic guitar and bodhran sounds that combined give this song an enchanting feeling and I actually found myself tapping my foot along. “Old Hag” is an energetic instrumental piece that makes you feel like standing up and dancing around the living room (not something I’m prone too). “Dimming of the Day” is a soft and beautiful song with the soporific qualities of a lullaby. I didn’t like the downbeat and rather awkward sounding “Black is the Colour” but that was more about my personal preference than the Corrs interpretation.
Produced by Mitchell Froom Home has a fantastic production quality, it is crisp and pure with a velvety smooth, almost liquid sound. The traditional songs are beautifully sung and Andrea’s melodic, graceful voice has just enough lilt to give the songs that ethnic Irish feel.
All in all I can happily recommend this CD to anyone who is a fan of the Corrs or Irish folk music, or to anyone looking for something to brighten their dark and rainy Irish day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.