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Irish music appears in every distant corner of the world. The Here And Now call Austin, Texas home, but with band members from Milwaukee to Meath, they draw their influences from all directions. 

A good example comes in the first three tracks - a set of Irish tunes played as a homage to Chicago, polkas imported from Eastern Europe and a set of tunes with a strong Swedish flavour. With a line-up of fiddles, guitar, whistles and bodhran, they open up a panorama of possibilities, and their musicianship is excellent. 

As with many bands of this sort, the real challenges come when they tackle songs, especially ones which are already familiar to many of their audience. The recipe is kept fresh by nods in all sorts of directions, but the biggest test is how they cope with near-standards. They manage to thrash some life back into an overfamiliar song like Hard Times and it is to their credit, or mainly to the credit of a moody vocal from Joseph Carmichael that they do make a very decent job of it. The theme tune for the nation's favourite one-footed guitarist fares rather less well.  Niamh Fahy simply does not have the gravitas in her voice yet to get away with May You Never. This version is just too light and airy, carrying none of the menace and madness that accompanied John Martyn onto stage; but it was a brave attempt.

Dave Hadfield 

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.