Various Artists

Celtic Woman, Vol. 3

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The third volume in the series essentially repeats the formula of the first two, with mostly Irish music performed by gentle female singers, several of them very well-known. It's hard to fault, since the performances are uniformly excellent, and the material is definitely time-tested and proven -- it's impossible to criticize songs like "The Star of County Down" and "Down by the Salley," for instance. And with singers like Mary Black, Cathie Ryan, and Maura O'Connell, you're not going to go wrong either. The problem, if it really is one, is that this disc never treads any new ground; indeed, it doesn't want to. It satisfies, and might send you in search of something deeper, but this is largely skimming the surface of the music. And does the world really need to hear the ubiquitous Clannad and "Harry's Game" yet again? The longer this series persists, the happier it appears to be to go for the familiar, which is a shame, since the first volume took some real chances.

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