The Barra MacNeils

Closer to Paradise

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Closer to Paradise Review

by Aaron Badgley

The breakout album in Canada, this album provided the Barra MacNeils with their first Canadian hit single, an outstanding cover version of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Darling Be Home." But that was only the tip of the iceberg. The Barra MacNeils pulled it all together for Closer to Paradise, combining traditional Celtic/maritime music, with pop, rock, and jazz -- and it works. One can hear the confidence in Stewart MacNeil's songs (the majority of which are co-written by longtime collaborator David Cross) and the skill in the band's playing. Lucy MacNeil shines through with her incredibly gentle, yet powerful voice. From the opening track, "We Celebrate," until the closing Celtic traditional "Am pige Ruadh (Mouth Music)," the listener is treated to a wealth of songs that demonstrate just how much the band had grown and learned in a relatively short period of time. A gem of an album.

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