The Battlefield Band

The Road of Tears

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Just because the Battlefield Band has been going for over 30 years doesn't mean they've run out of things to say. On the basis of Road of Tears, they remain quite thought-provoking. If not exactly a concept album, it's certainly a thematic record, around the idea of emigration and populations on the move (for many reasons). That's a perennial topic, but one that retains its currency in this day and age. With a new singer/guitarist (Sean O'Donnell) but customarily fine playing, they tackle a wide range of material, from the original title cut to Robert Burns and even Woody Guthrie -- with, of course, a fair sprinkling of tunes and songs from the tradition. The playing is as stunning as ever, if lovingly understated, and there's a sense of passion and commitment in every performance here. It's almost as if they've found a new cause and new heart. Road of Tears is the best Battlefield Band disc in quite some time.

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