Grey Larsen

The Orange Tree: Irish & French Canadian Roots

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On its face, this summit meeting between the guitarist and singer for the raucous Québecois folk group La Bottine Souriante and Irish flutist/fiddler/keyboardist Grey Larsen is something of an anomaly. And maybe, despite all the arguments that can be made for the common musical roots upon which these the two players draw, the disparity between their two traditions really is a little bit hard to reconcile. Doesn't matter. The music they make together on this album is some of the most consistently joyful and lovely you'll ever hear, even when it's melancholy and dark (which it isn't very often). The Orange Tree opens on a high note, with Marchand's trademark Québecois scat singing, which ripples over the sound of his intricate rhythmic footwork and Larsen's contrapuntal flute; other highlights include Larsen's original composition entitled "First Snow" and the brilliant guitar playing that underlies the borderline-atonal melody of Marchand's "The Waltz of Time Passing." There are no weak cuts here, and no awkward transitions or insincere gestures. This album can be strongly recommended as an introduction to the work of either artist, and stands with the best traditional recordings of the last 50 years.

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