Moving Cloud,
(Green Linnet, 1998)

Moving Cloud is every ceilidh dancer's dream band. And, if a ceilidh is ever stuck without musicians, Foxglove is about as close to a perfect substitute as you can find.

Packed with 39 tunes in 16 tracks, Foxglove has plenty of variety for people itching to wear out some shoe leather with some fast and moderately paced jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, waltzes and more. It also features about as good a band of traditional musicians as you'll find, whether you look in a high-priced studio or in the corner of some smoky Galway pub.

So it's not surprising to learn that Moving Cloud did, indeed, get its start as a dance band. In the liner notes, founding member Paul Brock comments that "playing for the sets in Clare years ago gave a particular drive to our music, an attack, a rhythmic spine." The musicians certainly developed a flawless execution; every tune on the album is note perfect.

Moving Cloud is Paul Brock on button accordion and melodeon, Kevin Crawford on flute, tin whistle and bodhran, Maeve Donnelly and Manus McGuire on fiddles, and Carl Hession on piano. Guests appearing here and there on the album are Gerry O'Connor on banjo, Trevor Hutchinson on double bass, Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh on bones and Garry O'Brian on rhythm guitar.

Four of them -- Brock, Donnelly, McGuire and Hession -- were with the band for its first performance in 1989, when they provided the music for set dancing at the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, County Clare. But even then, according to the liner notes, the band had set its collective sights on evolving from dance band to concert band, and on recording an album. Foxglove is their second (following their self-titled debut in 1994, also on the Green Linnet label). With musicianship of this caliber, we're fortunate they were able to move beyond the Old Ground in Clare and share their music with a broader audience.

Traditional music lovers, keep your eyes peeled for Moving Cloud.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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