David Granville reviews Sheridan's Guesthouse, Dave Sheridan and Company (COPP10)
GIVEN THE ongoing popularity of all forms of traditional Irish music and a seemingly never-ending stream of high quality recordings from both new and established musicians and groups it's not surprising that the odd album falls through the cracks of critical recognition.
Sheridan's Guesthouse would appear to be one such album. Originally released in 2006, this collection of traditional tunes has been put together, arranged and produced by Leitrim flautist and Dublin-based teacher Dave Sheridan.
Assisted by sixteen musician 'friends' of the highest calibre, including Dervish's Seamie O'Dowd (guitars) and Brian McDonagh (mandola), they combine to deliver a delightful and varied set of traditional music with a distinctly upbeat, though not frenzied, feel.
The album ably showcases Sheridan and co,'s musical talents and passion for the tradition. On Johnny Allen's and Paddy Galvin's, Sheridan demonstrates that, in addition to being a fine flautist, he's no slouch on the button accordion, while O'Dowd's splendid rhythmic guitar playing is a particular joy, providing the drive behind many of the tunes.
The one song on the album, Our Beautiful Tradition, is sung by Dave's cousin Conor Sheridan. A celebration of traditional Irish music, it is written from the standpoint of an older musician and questions whether it will survive and flourish amongst the younger generations. Given the opening paragraph of this review, I would say that the answer is fairly obvious.
However, while I approved of the song's sentiments, the arrangement and slightly breathless vocal delivery leaned a bit too far in the direction of MoR for my taste - a bit too Daniel O'Donnell and not enough Christy Moore, if you like.
That minor criticism aside, this is an excellent album, which deserves a wider audience. So, take a break and check in to Sheridan's Guesthouse. You'll be sure to have a pleasant stay.
Sheridan's Guesthouse is available from Copperplate Distribution and good specialist stockists
Connolly Association, c/o RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD
Copyright © 2008 David Granville