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NewGrange (Compass, 1999)


Reviewed by Jonathan Colcord

Do not enter into this recording expecting to hear the music now known as"grange" music. Instead, enter with your blinders down and be treated to a stewpot of styles from six musicians - vocalist/mandolinist Tim O'Brien, banjoist Alison Brown, pianist/accordionist Philip Aaberg, violinis/fiddler Darol Anger, guitarist Mike Marshall and bassist Todd Phillips - at the top of their game.

This album cannot be easily classified although bluegrass predominates. O'Brien's soothing vocals make a great rendition of the traditional "Handsome Molly," to lead off. Brown's melodic playing delightfully underlays most of the tracks playing against O'Brien's mandolin and bouzuki, and Anger's mando/fiddle styles. Aaberg contributes two originals with "Under The Hood" recalling '70's pop-soul la Stevie Wonder and laced with a heavy piano groove.

The recording leans to the lighter side, with the feeling that this was a mostly fun endeavor, along with a few more serious instrumental arrangements. "Goin' To Boston," a traditional song with a light-hearted narrative from O'Brien sets the mood. Some bluegrass, some jazz, some tradition, and some fun is what this record is all about.

CDs by NewGrange

A Christmas Heritage, 2005

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