Bodega Three & Rick Van Krugel,
Cat Amongst the Pigeons
(self-produced, 2002)

Three members of the Walter Bodega Band get together with Rick Van Krugel for Cat Amongst the Pigeons, a tightly arranged and smoothly produced collection of songs and tunes at once eclectic and cohesive.

The members of Bodega Three are Jonty Parker-Jervis (violin, vocals), Russ Godfrey (mandolin, bodhran, vocals) and Bruce Rathie (guitar, vocals). Van Krugel lends his talents on mandolins, banjo and guitar, deftly meshing his meticulous playing with the rich sound of Bodega Three. The White Sisters -- Leslie Gentile, Judy and Karen White -- provide smooth background vocals.

There's a strong Celtic influence as evidenced by tracks such as "Step It Up Mary/Lead the Knave," "Halting March" and "Paddy Ryan's Dream/Silver Tip," but the CD includes original songs, tunes and covers. Parker-Jervis demonstrates a wildly versatile hand on his violin, from the Gypsy and Celtic elements in "Absent Minded Man" to the exotic Middle Eastern sound of "Glen Kabul/Trip to Pakstan" to the sweet lilting accompaniment of "In the Shade of a Willow Tree." This simply lovely love song, written and sung by Parker-Jervis, is perfectly suited to his light smooth voice. Parker-Jervis also does a terrific job on "Technicolor" and "Driving on Nine."

The vocalists for the other songs are equally well chosen. Rathie's deep soulful voice is ideal for "Mostly Water," "Patient Man" and "I Scare Myself" while Godfrey's smoke and velvet vocals put just the right touch on "Step It Up Mary" and "Rain and Snow." Both are chilling and both merit pushing the repeat button. His voice takes on a hearty yet wistful edge for "Sailortown," and resistance to singing along is futile.

Van Krugel's impeccable musicianship supports and enhances each track, filling out the sound. The White Sisters' harmonies also add dimension to the songs.

Cat Amongst the Pigeons is a high energy, diverse and beautifully put together CD which has earned a top 10 place in my CD player.

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 8 March 2003