The Gothard Sisters,
Mountain Rose
(independent, 2015)

If an individual exhibits immense talent in music, you can debate nature vs. nurture ad nauseum without ever being sure where that talent came from. But when a gang of siblings all show signs of musical genius, you have to figure the parents deserve at least some of the credit.

With that in mind, hearty congratulations are owed to Mr. and Mrs. Gothard.

Their offspring -- Greta, Solana and Willow Gothard, aka the Gothard Sisters -- have just released their third album, the first to come across my desk, and it's pure pleasure for fans of Celtic-American folk.

Mountain Rose features an even dozen tracks from the Seattle-based trio, which features Greta on guitar, violin, cajon, bass, drum, percussion and vocals, Solana on vocals, bodhran, djembe, violin, whistle, percussion, autoharp and dulcimer, and Willow on violin, mandolin, stepdancing, octave mandolin, octave violin and vocals.

That's a lot of variety, and you have to assume -- given their talent with each instrument -- that at some point in their lives the Gothards' parents shelled out some bucks for lessons and made their daughters practice even if they wanted to watch TV.

The hard work shows. The album is a delightful blend of vocal and instrumental work, rooted in traditional styles while showing a youthful perspective (particularly in the arrangements of vocal harmonies and heavy percussion).

The band's selections range from the traditional tune sets ("St. Anne's Reel," "Cat in a Bush") to the might-as-well-be traditional (Andy M. Stewart's "Queen of Argyll," Kate Rusby's "I Courted a Sailor") to the original ("It was Beautiful," "Grace O'Malley"). There are also new interpretations of old saws, such as the Robert Burns song "Auld Lang Syne" and a beautiful version of "All Through the Night," a traditional Welsh lullaby.

All in all it's a fun and lively package that admirably showcases the sisters' many talents. I just hope they remember to thank their parents now and again!

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Tom Knapp

24 October 2015

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