Celtic Connection,
(self-produced, 1995)

A new-found Newfoundland group with a passion for singing. That's what I thought as I played their CD, Forever. The group traveled from Newfoundland to record at Sound Market Studio in Halifax. Since they thank Air Canada and Air Nova on the liner notes, they must have flown to Halifax; and since they mention Dave MacIsaac, Tracey Dares, Kevin Evans and Tom Roach as studio musicians, I think we can assume they made the right connections.

Four of the group contributed to vocals, and the fifth settled into the drummer's chair. Barry Kenny, Glen Harvey, Jennifer Trainor, Scott Graham and Shawn Sullivan make up this versatile band. They do show a propensity for folk songs from many sources.

Setting a lively pace with the opening cut, "Right All Right," the band lifts this practical love song to exciting heights. In the next cut the pace drops dramatically to a moody piece with the earthy vocals of Trainor singing "Seasons of a Sailor." Next we have "Alone By Your Side," definitely an older style country and western ballad as arranged here. On we go to a rollicking and solid "Fogarty's Cove," and only the best Newfoundland two-steppers could keep up with this arrangement.

OK, served up next on the plate is the sea shanty, the kind where all join in the chorus with a harmony that sends chills of Atlantic salt air up your spine. "A Brand New Song" adds a happy mood with a modern pop sound, and after that a lively tune borrowed from Spirit of the West, and then the slow anthem of "Newfoundland Forever."

I might as well mention the last few cuts: the traditional Irish song "Brigid Flynn," the classic folk tune "Last Thing On My Mind" and a haunting historical tale called "The Eviction."

It appears that the Celtic Connection has far-ranging talent. If the CD was a tool to show that end, it succeeds. The only irritation was liking a cut and then not being able to hear any more of that style on this CD.

Not surprisingly the songs all relate through an ocean-traveling theme. So, if you have a penchant for folk songs that sparkle with sea-salt, these are certainly a unique offering in strong Newfoundland style and something to be on the lookout for.

[ by Virginia MacIsaac ]
Rambles: 2 March 2002

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