Celtic Elvis,
Hard to Be Real
(Wildplum Recordings, 1998)

The oddly named folk band Celtic Elvis is not what I was expecting, which was, well, a mish-mash of Celtic style and Elvis Presley parody. Which goes to show you that Shakespeare was not necessarily right about names. They are not Celtic, nor are they Elvis (which is something of a relief, actually). Their sound is uniquely their own.

Hard to Be Real, their second CD, takes a jaundiced look at American life with such tunes as "America is Only as Good as Your Next Door Neighbor," which nicely sums up the problems with most neighborhoods. "Hard to be Real" is a scathing look at the American obsession with perfect bodies. "Little Head" is a hilarious, raucous look at what happens when people think with their, um, well, you can guess. The a cappella "Help Me, Help Me" is a look at what can happen to a marriage when one partner has plans for the future that are for the other partner's "own good."

Celtic Elvis is a quintet comprosed of Randy Anger (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Barbara Griseau (vocals, guitar), Jim Ocean (vocals, guitar), Cecelia Pierotti (violin, vocals) and Rich Wescott (vocals, bass, accordion). They have a rocking folk style, with intricate, interesting harmonies, especially well showcased on such tunes as "Help Me, Help Me" and "Little Head." Their lyrics can be both nasty and slightly off-color, but they're also wickedly funny.

What can I say about Celtic Elvis? They're odd. Definitely. But they're also a lot of fun.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

Buy Hard To Be Real from Amazon.com.