The Arc Music label's two-disc collection The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk provides a well-curated look at modern Celtic music. In a genre that has broadened to include almost anything that features a fiddle or tin whistle, there is quite a bit of material to choose from. While much of the music here can't quite be considered traditional, the collection is peppered with enough old-school folk scene veterans to balance out the more progressive fare. Tracks by traditional stalwarts like the Bothy Band, Altan, and the Dubliners appear alongside more pop-oriented acts like Lou McMahon and the Screaming Orphans. There are a few missteps that veer too far into the world of Celtic/new age schmaltz, but as a whole, this is a decent introduction to both classic Irish folk music and some of genre's better contemporary artists.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2