Various Artists

Celtic World [#1]

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This budget-line release does little to distinguish itself from the hundreds of prefab Celtic comps that flood record bins each year. Still, it's not a complete washout, opting for name artists instead of faceless studio musicians and running through a tasteful, if slightly bland, set. Harpist Kate Northrop offers "Swallowtail Reel," while Spailpin stands in with a Clancy Brothers-type sound for two songs, including "Rising of the Moon." Highlights include a solo fiddle reading of "Danny Boy," as well as Dirk Campbell's largely a cappella version of "As I Roved Out," but the album's best moment might be Soazig's "Al Labous Mary." With just a harp and haunting French vocal, the song is a stark mix of beauty and sadness.

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