Al Petteway,
Whispering Stones
(Maggie's Music, 1994)

Whispering Stones will not have your feet tapping -- well, occasionally it might -- but it will give you a beautiful warm Celtic feeling of well-being. If you enjoy books like Anan Cara and others distilling the philosophy and wisdom of the Celts, this is the musical accompaniment.

Most of the tunes are new compositions, inspired by the ancient muse. Al Petteway is an inspired player as well as composer. He makes the wood and string of his guitar speak through music.

The title track is particularly good as he draws us in with a simple guitar. Inspired by Stonehenge, this is the perfect blend of a magnificent site with a simple tune, making an incredibly moving sound.

It is often hard to judge an album based on original material and such an album might also find sales elusive. No matter how innovative we want to portray ourselves, we crave at least a bit of the familiar. "The West Wind" gives us a chance to judge Petteway on a piece we know, even if we are more familiar with it as "The South Wind."

He closes the 18-track CD with the beautiful Welsh tune "All Through the Night," reminding us as we often forget that the Principality is just as Celtic as Ireland or Scotland.

Get hold of this release, lie back and drift away into the realms of misty Celtic dreams and the land of The Rings.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 25 September 2004

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