Sean McCabe

Take Two

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Sometimes things have a nice way of coming full circle in the music world. Dexter Gordon was an early influence on John Coltrane; then, in the '60s, the teacher (Gordon) ended up being influenced by the student (Coltrane). Black gospel was a big influence on secular R&B; later, a lot of contemporary black gospel became very R&B-minded. And Celtic music -- which helped pave the way for country, bluegrass, and Anglo-American folk -- has ended up being influenced by American artists. Take Two is a perfect example of the ancestor (Celtic music) learning some things from the descendent (American folk). A soulful storyteller, Irish folk-rocker Sean McCabe has been influenced by artists from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Take Two, which finds him joined by Celtic violinist Cady Finlayson, owes a lot to Irish storytellers like Tommy Makem. But the CD also owes a lot to American folk-rockers like Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger. And when melancholy offerings such as "Better Future in London" and "Take These Blues Away" are playing, listeners are reminded of the parallels between Irish-Celtic vocal traditions and the United States' folk-rock. McCabe obviously recognizes the importance of being an effective storyteller, and much of the time the stories that he tells are full of blues feeling. "Hardly a Sound," in fact, is downright tragic -- this song is about a young woman who moves to New York to better her life and is senselessly murdered by a mental patient on the subway. Most of the CD isn't quite that dark, although McCabe certainly isn't afraid to show listeners his melancholy side. If you are the sort of listener who holds Bob Dylan and Tommy Makem in equally high regard, this excellent CD is required listening.

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