Kevin Crawford

In Good Company

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Kevin Crawford is one of the most gifted flutists currently playing traditional Irish music; his work as a member of Moving Cloud and, currently, with Lunasa has garnered him praise from critics on both sides of the Atlantic, and his debut solo album was, if anything, even better than his ensemble recordings. For his sophomore effort he elected to create a program of fiddle and flute duets with fiddlers he particularly admires, and the resulting lineup is very impressive: old-school legends like Tommy Peoples and Frankie Gavin as well as young masters like Sean Smyth (Crawford's colleague from Lunasa) and the exquisitely tasteful Martin Hayes are included. Crawford and his cohorts are accompanied by guitarist Arty McGlynn, keyboardist Carl Hession, and, occasionally, bodhran player Jim Higgins. The music simply couldn't be any better: On "Tae the Beggin'" Crawford and Gavin prance virtuosically atop Hession's sprightly piano; the slow air "Sliabh Geal gCua" features stately and understated fiddling by Moving Cloud's Manus McGuire; and on a charming reel set consisting of "The Bag of Spuds" and "Matt Peoples," Hayes makes a powerful case for the viola as a Celtic instrument. In an interesting departure, Crawford plays another slow air with chamber orchestra accompaniment. A spectacular album from a young virtuoso whose best work may yet be ahead of him.

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