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DONAL CLANCY - On The Lonesome Plain

DONAL CLANCY - On The Lonesome Plain
Private Label DCLPCD16

If your surname’s Clancy, you’ve got a lot to live up to in the music world. Donal (Liam’s son) has obviously been influenced by his illustrious forebears, but has used this as a springboard on his own musical journey, which has taken him from the later Clancy incarnations through other musical partnerships to this more recent solo career – and it’s proving to be a very interesting and enjoyable trip.

This CD is almost equally divided between songs (7) and instrumental tracks (6). Initially, his excellent singing made me regret that there wasn’t more emphasis on that side of things, but when you listen to the exquisitely well-turned guitar pieces you revise your opinion; the instrumentals are just as good as the songs. Here is an artist who is as relaxed and at home with a good-quality guitar as he is when singing Reynardine or Blackwater Side. The entire recording has been very well produced and is eminently listenable.

Most of the songs are well known Irish ‘standards’, but Donal’s interpretation and his easy, relaxed singing style combine to make you listen to them afresh. The exception to the trad material is the only self-penned song, Strike For Victory, whose rabble rousing lyrics feel as if they grew out of the tradition. The instrumental tracks are also sensitively performed, and again, the stand out track for me was Donal’s own composition, Máirseáil Na Conrach, which he’s paired with a great version of The Green Fields Of Canada. All the other tunes are either traditional or O’Carolan and faultlessly rendered.

This is a first rate, easy to listen to recording with a very broad appeal that could form an excellent introduction to folk music, as well as giving pleasure to more experienced palates.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 118 of The Living Tradition magazine.