Sharon Shannon

Sharon Shannon [Compass]

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The buzz about young accordionist Sharon Shannon was just starting to build when this album was originally issued on the Irish Solid label in 1991. Having worked as a member of the Waterboys and as an accompanist to the legendary singer Christy Moore, she already had a solid reputation among the cognoscenti, but her innovative approach to her instrument -- along with her tremendous energy and prodigious chops -- were creating a groundswell of interest outside of Celtic music circles as well. When Sharon Shannon was issued in Ireland it became the top-selling traditional music recording ever released there. Reissued by Compass with a bonus track in 2001, it sounds as fresh and exciting now as it did then. The program is quite varied, ranging from such traditional Irish fare as "The Munster Hop" and "Queen of the West" to Cajun tunes, Quebecois, reels and even a Portuguese dance number. Guest musicians range from the predictable (bouzouki player Donal Lunny, guitarist Gerry O'Beirne) to the surprising (bassist Adam Clayton of U2), but Shannon's playful, jaw-droppingly virtuosic playing holds everything together. Excellent.

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