The Glengarry Bhoys,
(self-produced, 2003)

The question comes to mind: Do the Glengarry Bhoys play so well because they love the music? Or do they love the music because they play it so well? Probably it's a toss-up. But certainly the music, as well as those who play it, has never been better than this sixth offering from this Canadian band. And while each of these musicians has deep rhoots in traditional Celtic music, they are continually refurbishing the old and breathing new life into updated traditional.

Front man Graham Wright's lyricism paints vivid scenery onto a landscape already colorfully alive with the melody of the song. With "Fear," he vocalizes the uncertainty we're all facing as we watch and listen while current world events unfold: "I feel that everything is changing. I fear the world is spinning round and round and upside down. And I fear my ship is leaving and I can't get it off the ground." Likewise the fear that, in living our lives, we're somehow not putting our best efforts forward: "A different world awaits on the outside. And different stories to be told. There's a light that waits on the far side. The days grow short as I grow old."

He reminds us there's often a price to be paid in "Angels Gather." And then there's that song. I challenge anyone listening to this CD to come away without humming the tune to "M'en Ve a La Fontaine," better known as "Zigue Zon." Sung entirely in French and therefore lost to those of us who've never mastered more than a bistro menu, this song will circle around in your head for days until you simply have to listen to it again!

Sprinkled between the songs are tunes that showcase the individuality and expert craftsmanship of the rest of the Bhoys. Fiddler Shelley Downing continues to surprise and delight with exceptional performances made even brighter by her always merry disposition. Bassist "Gibby" Gibson provides ballast on the weightier tunes, but isn't afraid to take the high road when there's room to romp. Multi-instrumental James Libbey brings depth as well as diversity to the music and takes his bagpipes where many fear to tread. Sitting rock-solid at the heart of the band is drummer "Ziggy" Leroux whose talent is exceeded only by his irrepressible good nature.

"Rhoots: A depiction of one's origin -- usually a musical category based on culture, heritage and specific nationality. Often associated with its other musical category, to-wit: folk music, although not conclusively so. Plant and vegetable source of survival. The 'H' of course is silent, unlike the music herein contained."

A bold understatement!

- Rambles
written by Sheree Morrow
published 12 June 2004

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