Turlach Boylan,
The Tidy Cottage
(Big Plain, 1999)

Turlach Boylan's CD The Tidy Cottage was one of a dozen discs I took along to play while driving the endless Montana roads. Montana is not a mecca for Celtic music and there was little enough to be found, so I was grateful for that small collection of CDs and my fiddle, which kept me in music for much of the trip. Of course, when I heard that Sean Kelly's, a pseudo-Irish pub in Missoula, was hosting the traveling Irish band Glen Road, I made a point to be there.

Imagine my surprise when I realized the man center stage, the band's flute and whistle player, was none other than Turlach Boylan. He and bandmates Mike Dugger and Brendan Bulger provided a lively evening's entertainment, capping nicely my last night in Montana.

So, back to Pennsylvania, CDs in hand. The Tidy Cottage is a great disc for anyone fond of the Irish flute, which Boylan plays with deft precision. The package includes solo tunes as well as back-up by an impressive list of supporting musicians: Gerry O'Beirne on guitars, EJ Jones (of Clandestine fame) on Highland bagpipes, Sheila Boylan and Eden Macadam-Somer on fiddles, Colleen Donahue on cittern, Dave Peters on mandolin, Julia Olivarez on piano, Ruairi Boylan on flute and Terrence Karn on dumbek.

Lengthy guest list aside, never doubt that this is a flute album. Whether he's playing a flute duet with his brother Ruairi, matching flute with bagpipe or arranging a small ensemble, Turlach Boylan sits squarely in the spotlight, ripping through nearly 50 minutes' worth of instrumental sets with flair.

Boylan, a native of Co. Derry now based out of Houston, Texas, has put together an excellent recording. Flute fans, take notice! This one's a keeper.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 4 July 2001