Simon Thoumire Three / Simon Thoumire

March, Strathspey, & Surreal

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The Simon Thoumire Three take a rather unique approach to modern Celtic music. The trio consists of Thoumire, a virtuoso concertina player, guitarist Kevin MacKenzie, and string bass player Simon Thorpe, and this unconventional instrumentation leads the group in all kinds of interesting directions, from '30s-vintage hot jazz to sinewy chromatic experimentation. They don't experiment much with texture or production -- apart from the occasional distorted guitar, the band's sound remains spare and unadorned throughout most of the album, the focus staying squarely on Thoumire's fleet-fingered concertina playing. The tunes themselves are what give the music its uniqueness; the trio alternates traditional jigs and reels like "The Snuff Wife" and "Bridge of Don" with such quirky originals as "John's Got School Tomorrow" and "Gloomy-Go-Round/Merry-Go-Round." Thoumire's original compositions start off sounding kind of folky, but he has a jazzman's sensibility and uses the tunes as springboards to something much more melodically twisted. This is a disc that rewards repeated listening.

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