All over the booklet of this CD, there's effusive praise about Billy McComiskey and his Irish button accordion playing from those who know. At times it's so high that you wonder how he can ever hope to live up to it. After all, he's not a man who's made a lot of records, although he's one of the leading lights of Irish-American music. But then you put on the disc and the truth is revealed -- McComiskey really is that good. There's an easy, natural fluency to his playing, but even more importantly, a feel for the music that makes it swing in a way that's particularly Irish-American. The reverence in which he's held is apparent from the quality of the accompanists here: John Doyle, Liz Carroll, Mick Moloney, and Joanie Madden, among others -- they're all superb musicians, and McComiskey is the equal of them all. A fair number of the tunes come from his own pen, with several others from his mentor, Sean McGlynn, as well as a couple of trips back in history, with the set of O'Carolan tunes a particular standout for their filigreed delicacy. For the most part this is uptempo, and that's the ideal way to experience McComiskey, a man who's operated happily at the grassroots level of Irish-American music for decades, while also standing shoulder to shoulder with the greats. This is his first solo outing since 1981, and his first recording since 1995, making its rarity obvious and the palpable joy at hearing such a superb musician ever greater.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson