The Budding Rose is a sampler of selections from Emerald Rose's self-titled debut album, and while long-time fans may already have these releases, they're an affordable way for MP3.com listeners to become familiar with the group's style. With one minor caveat, they do an enjoyable job on the traditional Celtic selections they've chosen, from the innuendoes of "Maggie Lauder" to the instrumental set "Jigs: Scatter the Mud," etc. Casual listeners won't be fazed by their take on "Donald MacGillavry," but long-time Celtic fans may find themselves wishing for just a bit more from it. Emerald Rose's version is lively enough, yet the timing leaves a bit to be desired. This is a song where adding pauses for percussion between verses and choruses makes the pace seem to lag a bit, and it loses momentum. Also, they omit the last verse, so this arrangement feels truncated to those familiar with the lyrics. Listeners may wish to compare with the Wild Oats' version of the same song for another approach to arranging it. On the other hand, where this sampler shines is on the original selections. Take "Summerland," an upbeat celebration of the Goddess. If you want cheerful and lively singing that praises the best of modern pagan ways, these four are your men. Or check out the lyrics to "The World's Wedding (One Single Kiss)" on their website to further appreciate Arthur Hind's skill as a songwriter. When it comes to original material, Emerald Rose definitely delivers quality. This taste of their music will certainly inspire their audience to seek out their other full length release, Bending Tradition, as well, for more of their distinctive, positively pagan sound.
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