Wyndbreakers

Second Wynd

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The Wyndbreakers return with their follow-up to By Request, titled Second Wynd. And while some of these selections still sound quite traditional, others take off into curious variations. What they do with "I'll Tell Me Ma" is downright strange -- they rock it up with electric guitar to start, and it's rather discordant in places. Still, when they settle into the verses, it mellows out. But then the wild clashy instrumentation returns on the breaks. It's energetic, but it may not be to everyone's taste. On a gentler note, they can be wryly comic as with "The Good Ship Kangaroo" and all the way through the archaic words of "Jenny Dang the Weaver." They do a lively upbeat version of "Dear Old Donegal" as well. Indeed, this is definitely a group that enjoys humor. Their version of "Big Strong Man" is a bit odd, though, with an update about fighting Mike Tyson followed by him rescuing the Titanic in distress, and a totally out-of-left-field reference to Mae West at the very end. Sure, oral tradition includes adapting earlier songs, and yes, this is a tall-tale-style song, but this adaptation of the lyrics doesn't quite hold together. It's an entertaining, casual listen, but audience members who prefer a more traditional approach may wish to compare with Twisty Willow's variation, titled "Sylvest." "Fields of Athenry" pulls on the heartstrings, and the Wyndbreakers sing it gently and melodically, with pleasant guitar and whistle work on the musical break. Hard to hear this one and keep dry eyes. Another nice balladic offering is "The Skye Boat Song," which closes with a bagpipe instrumental fadeout. So this second release of the Wyndbreakers is a bit more experimental than the first, with the ventures into electronic instrumentation and lyric adapting that some listeners will take to, and others won't. Still, they offer an ample selection of tunes done in traditional style as well, so those who enjoyed their first release will find enough resemblance in style to want to get this album too.