Connie Dover

The Border of Heaven

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The Border of Heaven Review

by Rick Anderson

Connie Dover has never made a bad album, so why should she start now? As always, the program features an assortment of songs from Ireland, Scotland, and America, though the mix leans a bit more heavily to the American side this time out. Dover's affection for both cowboy songs and Irish ballads has always led to strange juxtapositions (remember how "Lough Erne's Shore" was followed by "Jack of Diamonds" on her solo debut?), but she's always been able to make it work, and this time is no different. Here she delivers a fascinating medley consisting of two versions of the cowboy chestnut "Streets of Laredo," one of them the familiar version and the other the Irish song from which it came, originally titled "The Sailor Cut Down in His Prime." This album also marks what is probably the first time "Sweet Betsy From Pike" has been recorded with bodhran accompaniment. There are also stunningly lovely renditions of "The Water Is Wide" and the heartbreaking "I Am Going to the West." Those familiar with the shape note singing tradition may find her interpretation of "Wondrous Love" a little bit too gentle, but that's a quibble. This is another triumph from one of America's finest traditional singers.

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