Steam

Steam

by John Williams [accordion]John Williams [accordion]

CD

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Overview

Concertina player John Williams hails from Chicago, but comes from a long line of Irish musicians with roots in County Clare; he has won five all-Ireland titles and was the first American-born musician to take first place in the senior concertina category. On his second solo album, he's joined by local fiddler Liz Carroll, guitarists Dennis Cahill, Randall Bays, and Dean Magraw, bassist Larry Gray, percussionist Paul Wertico, and his colleagues from Solas, Seamus Egan and John Doyle, for a set of traditional tunes played with equally high levels of energy and skill. Williams himself spends most of his time on concertina, but also plays button accordion, flute, whistles, and bodhran, and sometimes more than one at once, as on the multi-tracked slow reel set "Paddy Canny's Toast & Paddy Faheys." Elsewhere, the arrangements are more minimal: The jigs "Up in the Garret" and "The Old Tipperary" are bare-bones concertina and guitar (and beautiful in that setting), while the reels "Billy Brocker's," "The Old Dudeen," and "The Night We Had the Goats" feature Williams on whistles, Paul Donnelly on bodhran, and an unidentified drone; the result is vaguely eerie. This is a complex and lovely album.

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