Sarah Blair,
Flower of the Red Mill
(Newgrange, 2007)

The mill in the title is red, the color red dominates the album cover and the performer boasts a head of red hair. We are definitely into "red for danger" zone here.

Don't worry too much. The only real danger here is that you will exhaust yourself tapping along to this beautifully produced collection of 16 tracks from Sarah Blair.

Opening with the reels "The Crooked Road to Dublin" and "The Crib of Perches," Blair will have anyone with a smidgen of love for traditional Irish music in the palm of her talented hand. The majority of tracks here are traditional, but one that is not is a slow air, beautifully titled "Lament for the Yew Trees." She continues that haunting slow playing with the marvelous "Droimeann Donn Dilis."

Blair shows herself as more than a great player of Irish music by including her own composition, "The Hope Jig," in a lovely set with "The Wandering Minstrel." I dare you to play "Ebb Tide" and " The Ace & Deuce of Pipering" with your feet and fingers tightly set to floor or table.

There may not be any hit songs on here, but the overall album is a treasure to be sought out by lovers of good music and passionate playing.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

3 May 2008

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