Step It Out
(self-produced, 1999)

This CD is subtitled "" and it gives a fantastic sample of a live performance by a top-class group that performs from the heart with a talent that is unsurpassed.

From the opening traditional track "Step It Out Mary," the lover of good music will be hooked. The crystal voice of Kat Kraus gives this song a new vibrancy and helped me to hear it as a new song.

Colcannon is a group that takes the best of all genres and makes them their own. From the traditional they move seamlessly to a track by Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Ideas are Like Stars," and then on to a lovely rendition of a gospel song "Shut the Door."

They follow this with a set of tracks written by band member John Munroe. He is a Scot with a great love of the history of his adopted land and writes some excellent songs on this theme. Apparently some of the great tracks from Munroe's pen stem from a suite about the Eureka Stockade -- one that I have not yet managed to track down if it is on release. Listening to the tracks such as "The Land Belongs to Them" and "Loyalty," you cannot miss the passion of the writing and the performances.

I have listened to Eric Bogle's "Shelter" performed by a number of artists but even the writer does not give a better rendition than this group. If the unaccompanied voice of Kraus on the opening verse does not bring a tear to your eye, you do not have a heart. Australia once considered a new national anthem and came up with "Waltzing Matilda" -- I would nominate this song.

"Farewell to the Gold" is a great story song that is greatly enhanced by the harmony singing. Not content with performing songs from a wide range of writers, Colcannon then takes a poem by Robert Frost, "Miles to Go," and make it their own. Showing their combination of versatility and bravery they go into Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy" and makes it fit into a folk set with just voices and clapping.

The CD of 16 tracks concludes with "Geronimo's Cadillac," and any fan of good music will be elated to have experienced this group and saddened to find the concert over without the chance of shouting for an encore.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 3 July 2004