(Rolling River, 1999)
Providence played their first concert in Dublin in 1999 and produced this self-titled CD in the same year. The band is young and this youth and enthusiasm is evident in the album. They bring new zest to old tunes, which are played only as people with a true feel for the music can.
The CD combines instrumental and vocal pieces, some old some new, all extremely well played and sung. "Seven Gypsies" is a variant on the well-known "Raggle Taggle Gypsy," and Joan McDermott does a fabulous job. Her voice is clear and melodic and every word and nuance is heard.
The instrumentals are a beautiful mixture of barn dances, reels and a haunting air entitled "J O Forbes of Corse." Peter Milne, who lived in Scotland in the latter end on the 19th century, wrote this and if it is ever used as a soundtrack for a movie it will have the audience in tears and the albums flying from the shelves.
"The City of Baltimore" is not about the city in the United States, but concerns a ship that sailed between Liverpool and New York in the 1850s. It is featured in a book titled Songs of the Wexford Coast -- a collection of ballads with a seafaring theme -- and it is great to hear so spirited a rendition. New music is also featured on Providence. One such track is "Run From the Gold," which comes from the pen of Kieran Halpin, no stranger to the folk scene. It deals with our innate ability to ignore opportunities. "Be Still as You are Beautiful" started life as a poem by Patrick McDonagh and was set to music by Tim Dennehy to great effect.
Watch out for this album if you value good music, well played by those who play from the soul.
[ by Nicky Rossiter ]