The Jiggernaut Demo

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Wolf Loescher was inspired to invite other prime Celtic performers to create "a Celtic supergroup," and here's a first taste of the results. This is very definitely Celtic rock, and Jiggernaut is off to a fine and lively start with its debut EP, simply titled The Jiggernaut Demo. Vocalist Deanna Smith has a rich, powerful voice, true and strong, and she sings out heartfully on a pleasing cover of Richard Thompson's "Down Where the Drunkards Roll," ably accompanied by her bandmates' instrumentals, especially Brendan O'Sullivan on accordion. There's also some grand group harmony on the chorus of "Kishmul's Galley" -- makes the skin tingle. Catch Matthew Williams' drum rhythms in that one as well! Happily, this is a modern Celtic group with both genders taking turns singing lead, and while Wolf Loesher's voice is stylistically quite different from Deanna Smith's, he does a fine, reliable job on the traditional song "Calton Weaver," and the accompaniment has a nice rollicking change of tempo to a 3/4 march at the close. When they get to the "Corgi Set," it's all instrumental, and very strongly bagpipes. Since bagpipes are an instrument that few people are ambivalent to, if you're not a pipes fan, this cut may not be for you. But if you love pipes played modern style, as Lars Sloan is doing here, turn it up and rock on! Rodger Harrison's bass playing is more a subtle sound than some of the other instruments (after all, bagpipes don't do subtle), yet it gives a solid foundation of support to the rest of the arrangements, and is an integral part of the performances.