Dan Milner

Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea

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Although this CD is not credited to a specific artist, by most listeners' standards this would be comfortably classified as a Dan Milner album. Milner sings all 13 tracks on this collection of songs associated with the Irish seafaring life, though he does get instrumental and vocal support from a rotating cast of nine other musicians, Mick Moloney being the most notable of those. While he was born in England and has spent most of his life in North America, Milner is of Irish descent, and while music wasn't usually his full-time profession, he has done several albums of Irish music since the late '90s. One of those, in fact, was the similarly titled 1997 release Irish Ballads & Songs of the Sea. This differs in focus from that previous release, as according to Milner's liner notes, it's "an album of maritime songs from Ireland and its diaspora in which most of the central characters stand uneasy next to the law." There's not much menace and danger in his delivery of the material, however, which is warm and assured. The arrangements are low-key as well, though admirably varied, incorporating mandolin, concertina, piano, guitar, whistle, banjo, accordion, flute, bouzouki, and fiddle; Milner also goes it alone for one a cappella performance, "The Flying Cloud." Aside from offering a personal history of his own experiences as an Irish-American, Milner's notes also offer detailed accounts of the sources of the songs, as well as the real-life characters whose experiences helped shape them.

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