Irish-American, Celtic folk ensemble Solas has built its reputation on a winning combination of peerless musicianship and excellent song choices. Like most solid traditional acts, the group breathes life into standards without ripping away their peaty soul, and when it chooses to include contemporary pieces into the mix, they’re treated with the same amount of respect as their elders. On The Turning Tide, the band’s second recording with new vocalist Mairead Phelan, the five members of Solas have crafted one of their most cohesive and spirited sets since their 1996 debut. Opener "Hugo’s Reel," written by multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan, sets the stage for a truly innovative collection of clever originals (“Grady Fernando Comes to Town”), choice covers (Josh Ritter’s heartbreaking “A Girl in the War”), and traditional pieces (“A Sailor’s Life”) that elevate the group to the highest echelon of modern Celtic folk outfits. In an age where traditional music is often twisted, beaten into submission, and spit out akimbo in a desperate attempt to seem current, bands like Solas remind us that you can be forward-thinking without leaving the past in tatters.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger