Finbar Furey

Chasing Moonlight: Love Songs of Ireland

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Far from being a young rebel, Finbar Furey is one of the elder statesmen of Irish folk music these days; one of the pioneering generation of the Irish folk revival. With this album, Chasing Moonlight: Love Songs of Ireland, he wanted a record that will still be important in 20 years' time. And in part, he has it. The traditional songs, like "Carrickfergus" and "Sweet Sixteen" are timeless. They've lasted well over 100 years for a reason -- because they're damn good songs, with emotions that speak through the years. His own material doesn't have that pedigree, and it shows on something like "Connemara," which wants to sound old, but sadly doesn't. That's true of some of the other pieces too, although Furey's voice -- a thing that can almost creak with delicious age now -- caresses them along. The arrangements are a bit too keyboard-heavy; a little too close to Celtoid for comfort in some moments; although Furey's personality ensures that things are never too smooth, and his low whistle playing is sure and clear, as on "Roisin Dubh." So, even if it's not quite the disc he hoped it might be, there's still a lot of excellent listening here, as craggy as cliffs tumbling into the Irish Sea, and as rich as the green hills.

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