Cathie Ryan's approach to traditional Irish song has always been to walk a fine line between the traditional and the modern, and this effort is no exception. Just over half of the songs on The Music of What Happens are contemporary compositions, some by Ryan herself and a couple of others by guitarist Gerry O'Beirne, while the others are freely adapted traditional songs. While Ryan's vocal approach is quite traditional, her arrangements make subtle use of exotic percussion, electric bass, and occasionally a drum set. The result sounds, in some cases, like a cross between Mary Black and Enya (note the multi-tracked backing vocals on "I'm Going Back"), but on the barely accompanied "Erin's Lovely Home" there is nothing to distract from either the crystalline loveliness of her voice or the mournful beauty of the song. Seamus Egan's production is, as always, perfectly suited to the artist's approach.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson