Amy White &
Al Petteway,
Golden Wing
(Maggie's Music, 2004)

This is an instantly enchanting album, and a pleasant surprise for me with my innate skepticism about new age and modern folk music. Amy White's voice is charmingly pure and carries the songs to a level both deeper and higher than her and partner Al Petteway's acoustic skills would achieve alone. This is really music to soothe, restore and lift you away from the busy world of here-and-now on the golden wings of sound.

Petteway has arranged some traditional Celtic ballads, and the talented White has penned a couple of delightful songs herself; there is also an eclectic mix of poetry set to music, and music with hints and nods to blues, jazz, classical and bluegrass -- though the overall sound is predominantly Celtic-folk. The duo is joined by the equally talented Sally Van Meter on dobro and Zac Leger on Irish whistles and uilleann pipes, complementing Petteway on mandolin, fretless bass, bodhran, Irish bouzouki, Ashiko drum and guitar, and White on guitars, mandolin and drum. There is even a credit to the purring machine, Olson the kitten, in "Tabby Wings," a whimsical instrumental!

Whether it is the familiar "Raglan Road" or the original "All the Way There," the adapted poems of William Blake or Edna St. Vincent Millay ("Golden Wing" and "Summer Song in Me"), or the work of Jesse Winchester ("Songbird"), each track on this 13-track, 55-minute CD is a joy to listen to, again and again and again.

I'm hoping Amy will sing again on their next album, and I'm off to find Midsummer Moon and Caledon Wood, their previous instrumental recordings. Golden Wing is a rich gift of light and calm that works magic on many levels -- I love it!

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 12 February 2005

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