Deirdre Scanlan,
(independent, 2008)

On an album called Faces we get a new face on the folk scene.

Deirdre Scanlan opens with a lovely lilting rendition of "Faces of Friends" that will put even the grumpiest listener into a good mood. That mood will linger even when her songs move on to weightier and more sombre sentiments.

Her take on "Eileen McMahon" is wonderful. Her voice is ideally suited to a song that does not get as much outings as it deserves.

I was delighted to hear her give a wider audience to Johnny McEvoy's great old sentimental ballad, "Long, Long Before Your Time." His is a canon that could provide material for a host of singers. "The Legend," on the other hand, was new to me. It starts unaccompanied and then unfolds as role call of Irish patriots, tying them to the vision of Nelson Mandela. I can see this becoming a standard in the ballad sessions if they ever re-emerge.

Scanlan has a voice that defies categorization. At times her accent seems to come through the singing, giving a lovely intimate feel to the songs. Then on songs like "The Scholar" she reminds me of performers like Eleanor Shanley with that universal appeal.

This album is very well put together and production values are high, as are the guest musicians adding to the professional content. Though I have two small quibbles: lyrics are not provided and songs aren't credited. Leaving that aside, this is a great collection of songs allied with a lovely voice and some top-class backing. So we can get over the quibble.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

1 November 2008

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