TradConnect on ‘The Anvil’
TradConnect founder Tony Lawless has written a great write-up of ‘The Anvil’!
Sometimes you don’t have to dig too deep to find musical inspiration. For Marie Reilly it was very close to home indeed. The music of South Leitrim and Longford was handed down by her late father Michael Reilly. The main source of the material for the recording was the newly discovered manuscripts of Stephen Grier (late 1880’s) and Alex Sutherland (early 1900’s). Marie has recorded 15 tracks for this album with an additional three tunes played by the late Michael Reilly at the end of the album. In addition, there are meticulous track notes provided which gives real context and background to the album.
Marie adopts a very solid and expressive style in her playing. With echoes of Kathleen Collins or Josephine Keegan she plays sets that you may not have heard on the session circuit. Hornpipes like The Vermont/The Friendly Visit, schottisches like The Silver Bells/The Strathbrook, and Durang’s jig. All make for a new experience and for any aspiring fiddle players, Marie’s approach in both speed and ornamentation is a delight. This is leisurely paced music that is very well suited to this collection. The Low Level/Floods’s hornpipes is also a beautiful set taken from the Sutherland collection. She picks up the pace on the more well-known Greg’s Pipes/The London Lasses where she uses the scordatura fiddle tuning EAEA to give it the droning effect of the bagpipes. This tune it appears became the basis of other well-known tunes like the Bucks of Oranmore and the Foxhunter.
Maybe this could be the start of some more concept albums or regional albums celebrating the music of various areas. Either way the discovery of the above manuscripts has resulted in some outstanding new music played in a restrained yet refreshing manner. With some great accompaniment throughout, especially on keyboards and piano by Gabriel Donohue it is well worth the investment.