Michael McGoldrick / John McSherry

At First Light

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Here's a dream team for you: flutist Michael McGoldrick and piper John McSherry, both of them founding members of the great trad band Lunasa and both of them world-class players in the traditional style who nevertheless don't mind tweaking tradition once in a while. The wooden flute and the Uillean pipes are a lovely combination: Whereas the Scottish highland pipes are a battle cry, the Uillean pipes are a mournful wail, and their sound blends beautifully with the throaty, woody tone of the Irish flute. McGoldrick and McSherry make the most of that compatibility on this wonderful album, whether galloping headlong through thrilling sets of reels ("Farewell to Connaught," "John Nee's") or echoing each other plaintively on a lament like "Doinna." On several tracks they abandon their primary instruments to play the tin whistle in joyful unison, as they do on the excellent "Donald Blue/Ornette's Trip to Belfast" set (which also features a strange and wonderful guitar solo by Andrew White). Highly recommended to fans of old and new Irish music alike.

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