Kelly Moore,
(Awaken, 2002)

Kelly Moore heads a talented group of vocalists and musicians with his album Celebrate! There is an interesting blend of traditional and contemporary folk, with occasional classical and Latin influences in his own compositions. Both Moore's song lyrics, the title track and "Gratitude" could easily be construed as religious in nature, and the final track on the CD is a traditional Shaker hymn, "Simple Gifts," set to an arrangement of the tune "Lord of the Dance."

The traditional instrumentals are impeccably performed. The album should appeal to those who enjoy traditional music but are not such purists as to deny that time will inevitably add new strands of sound to contemporary folk, or that the inclusion of rock, Latin and new age touches within folk music can add new flavour and attract a new following to that which has sometimes become static or bland.

I can't say I am personally taken with Kelly's vocals; his voice never seems very sure or strong, and I felt his songs would have worked better with a stronger male vocalist. He includes an excerpt from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, "Ode to Joy," for admirably sentimental reasons, which he explains on the cover, but I felt it was neither in keeping with the feel of the album nor long enough to warrant listing as a track. It should either have been omitted or, as an indulgence, placed last and played longer to fade out.

The opening reel medley was the strongest track, and then Kelly Moore isn't quite sure whether he is lifting voice, guitar and mandolin to celebrate folk, life or music in general. An album named Celebrate! could have been a bit livelier! All in all, though, it is a pleasant album.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 12 June 2004

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