This second release by Mary Jane Lamond is every bit as good as the first disc. The music here is an extension and expansion of what was done on the first disc, yet is in no way dependent on that initial offering. Not only is there no sophomore slump, but this uses what was done the first time around as a springboard for the material presented here, which carries the vision of this musician even further. She is one of the finest of Gaelic singers around, and she has successfully managed the tricky feat of combining the traditions of Gaelic music with modern electronics and recording in a most satisfying way. On some songs she stays with the traditional instrumentation of fiddle and bagpipes. On other tracks, these instruments are combined in a most successful and natural sounding way with guitars, bass, drums, looping, and samples. The disc never sounds forced or untrue to the song's traditional origins (ten of the 11 songs are traditional). Her voice is her instrument, and with it she manages to invoke, at various times, the wildness and loneliness of the moors of Scotland. At other times she shares the grief and hardships of life that faced the people of both Scotland and their immigrant descendants in the in area of Cape Breton (most Gaelic songs it seems are laments), and sometimes the album reflects the simple joys and satisfaction of the successes that they accomplished in a job well-done and another winter behind them. She accomplishes this feat with the very able assistance of her band of cohorts. Very notable is the sensitive and passionate fiddling of Wendy MacIsaac. There is strong guitar work by Rob Piltch, Phil Strong, and Gordie Sampson, and strong, fitting drumming and percussion work by Geoff Arsenault, which manages to blend in and never be obtrusive. This, along with the excellent production work of Strong, makes for an outstanding disc by this rapidly emerging luminary. A pat on the back to the Wicklow label for having the courage to take a chance and bring some of the most exciting world music of the early '00s.
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AllMusic Review by Bob Gottlieb
feat: Rob Piltch