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TRANSATLANTIC SESSIONS 4 VOLUME 2 with Jerry Douglas & Aly Bain

TRANSATLANTIC SESSIONS 4 VOLUME 2 with Jerry Douglas & Aly Bain
Whirlie Records WHIRLIECD19

This is, by my count, the sixth CD in this series, being the second set of tracks from TV series 4 (hard to say for sure, as Whirlie Records website seems to be inaccessible to us mere mortals these days). All of the albums can stand alone on their own merit – but don’t let me stop you from buying up the others, as they’re all gems and this is no exception.

Martha Wainwright’s delivery of her own Tower Song was so like her late Mum, Kate Mcgarrigle, who sadly passed away in January 2010, that I had to recheck the sleeve notes. A sublime performance.

Roseanne Cash steps up to the oche with her interpretation of Hedy West’s 500 Miles, with bits of Bobby Bare’s 1963 country version thrown in, and including her own final verse – but all given her own confident essence.

James Taylor offers Copperline – a typically cozy number. Emily Smith triumphs with The Silver Tassie, reinforcing her burgeoning reputation as a Burns interpreter.

Throughout Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas keep the affair on an even keel and make it all appear to be just a natural way for musos to let their hair down, though in reality the planning must have been of nightmare proportions. The result is probably best summed up as carefully rehearsed spontaneity. Phil Cunningham, Danny Thompson, Michael McGoldrick, and Donal Lunny are only four of the associated luminaries that squeezed into the session to expand the ranks. A companion DVD is likely imminent, although this is definitely worth a punt for those of us that have followed the series from its earliest beginnings, but prefer to listen only.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 86 of The Living Tradition magazine.