Ian Walsh and Kevin Buckley – Keeping It Reel

Ian Walsh and Kevin Buckley - Keeping It Reel - Bluegrass UnlimitedIAN WALSH AND KEVIN BUCKLEY
Mountain Rose Records
No Number

Much is made of the many connections between bluegrass and Irish music. Tim O’Brien did an excellent job of blending the dual traditions on his concept album The Crossing, and The Transatlantic Sessions recordings were a creative meeting ground between talented musicians from both sides of the water.

Midwestern fiddler/mandolinist Ian Walsh and guitarist/singer Kevin Buckley play their bluegrass much more green than blue. Truth be told, this is much more an album of Irish music than a bluegrass, or even newgrass, CD. Notwithstanding, it’s a fine one, with an interesting collection of tunes and songs augmented by bodhran and uilleann pipes. But readers of this magazine might not even take note of this release, but for the inclusion of a cover of Tony Rice’s “Manzanita,” a recasting of the old-time song “Say Darlin’ Say” in a Celtic context, and the pairing of “Done Gone” with the French Canadian “Reel Beatrice.”

It’s all well-played and well-sung, and a nice opportunity for those less familiar with Irish music (and even a spot of Venezuelan, via the increasingly popular waltz “La Partita”) to explore unfamiliar waters. (Mountain Rose Records, 227 Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119, www.buckleyandwalsh.com.) HK

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