Nightingale,
Sometimes When the Moon is High
(Midnight, 1996)

Nightingale first caught my attention with their performance at the 2002 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Their music is a blend of folk music from Quebec, Newfoundland, Ireland and France, and their driving instrumental tunes have made them favorites at contra dances as well as the dance tents at music festivals.

The Vermont-based trio is of Becky Tracy (fiddle), Keith Murphy (piano, guitar, foot percussion and vocals) and Jeremiah McLane (piano and accordion).

Sometimes When the Moon is High, their second CD, is a wonderful mixture of ballads and instrumental tunes. The CD opens with a nice set of reels, "Ballygow/The Bus Stop/MacDonald's," which come from Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton. "The Tinker Behind the Door" is a traditional song from Newfoundland with obvious English and Irish influences. "J'entendsle Loulin/Louis Cyr" is a song from Quebec, sung in French, and is combined nicely with a fiddle tune.

Of the ballads, "The Discharged Drummer" is another song from Newfoundland that tells the story of an army drummer who gets married and leaves his musical career behind. In this version of the song, the final verse was rewritten by Keith to show how marriage and music can be reconciled. The CD closes with "Eugene O'Donnel/Bea Mave's/Tuttle's/Lady Ann Montgomery," which starts off as a slow fiddle air and goes into a nice rousing set of dance tunes.

Nightingale does a great job of arranging and blending tunes together. The combination of instruments, combined with excellent musicianship, make Sometimes When the Moon is High a very enjoyable CD.

- Rambles
written by Dave Townsend
published 26 July 2003