Frank Cassidy & Friends,
Tin Air
(self-produced, 2001)

Tin Air is a CD that fans of Celtic music are sure to enjoy. Frank Cassidy, originally from Ireland but currently living in Ottawa, Canada, has released a compilation of mostly original instrumentals. Cassidy grew up listening to traditional Irish music in Offaly and East Galway, and their influence comes through as he plays mandolin, whistles, guitar, banjo and sings to his own music.

Of the 13 tracks on Tin Air, only four ("Kileen's Fairy Hills," "Pontiac Pot-Pourri," "Dear Old Galway Bay" and "The Gates of the Yellow Town") are traditional pieces. The transitions between the old selections and the newer ones are fairly seamless. The CD flows in a coherent manner, with one exception -- the initial jig in the "Pontiac Pot-Pourri" set. Maybe it is just me, but "Reel du Semeur" invokes images of watching an old black-and-white film when I hear it. I don't think of Ireland. "Gigue Sous-Marin" and "Madame Renaud" round out the pot-pourri.

Many of the tracks are composed of several short jigs and reels, each lasting only a minute or two, that are spliced together. The names of several of the shorter offerings are interesting -- "Too Much Tea," "Killygally" and "The Galloping Ass." Cassidy states in the liner notes that "The names of tunes usually make little sense." Fortunately, while Cassidy might not be the best at naming his work, he is good at what counts -- writing good tunes that are enjoyable to listen to!

Cassidy is joined by many talented friends on Tin Air including Dennis Alexander (fiddle, viola), Chris Bartos (electric guitar, cello), Greg Brown (accordion, concertina), Nathan Curry (guitar, cittern), Marietta Frazer (piano, synth), Rob Graves (percussion), Ken Harper (bodhran), Don Kavanagh (harmonica), Denis Lanctot (piano), Philip Murphy (guitar), Rosario Ruane (vocals) and James Stephens (bass, mandolin, fiddle, keyboards, viola, harmonium). Nathan Curry co-wrote "Erin's Kitchen" and "Last Nights Effort" with Cassidy.

"Dear Old Galway Bay" is one of the few non-instrumentals on the CD. Cassidy is in a group called Corrib, and the other three members of the group join him for this tune. Rosario Ruane provides vocals and does a fantastic rendition of this standard. I would say that it is one of the better selections on Tin Air.

Frank Cassidy and his friends are worth checking out. You can find more details about Tin Air and Cassidy by going to his website, where you can even sample some of the selections in MP3 format. If you like what you hear, which most fans of Celtic music will, then hop on over to and pick up a copy today.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 16 March 2002