Rathkeltair is a new Celtic band with a sound that is more contemporary than traditional. Everybody more or less alternates the band's own songs with traditional instrumentals. This works well, since their compositions are well written and often evoke older themes and feelings.
Trevor Tanner, on vocals, guitars, mandolin and keyboards, writes melodic songs that are more rock than Celtic. They are danceable and not at all heavy, however. Others are more folkish, like Neil Anderson's "America," about immigration and freedom. All have strong, clearly defined singing. There are also older folk songs: an upbeat "Cunia" and a lilting "Helen of Kirkconnel."
The instrumentals are what you would expect from a "Celtic festival" band: fast moving and lively, with plenty of fiddle (Victor Gagnon) and bagpipes (Anderson). The group also has Peter Kimosh on bass and Nick Watson on vocals, drums, bodhran and congas.
Rathkeltair won the Celtic MP3 Music Magazine Poll as band of the year in 2006. Everybody is a solid entry among Celtic rock CDs.
3 November 2007