The Ennis Sisters,
(independent, 2000)

The Ennis Sisters' third CD 3 (three albums, three sisters, three years, get it?) is a nice mix of original and older songs. Filled with their trademark harmonies and youthful enthusiasm, the album showcases the best of the sisters' talents. The recording also has several pieces that deal with their Newfoundland heritage, such as "Work to be Done," about leaving to find work, and "Haul Her Along," about launching a boat. The latter is a high-energy song that will make you want to get up and dance.

The sisters, Maureen, Teresa and Karen, are equally adept at ballads and fast-paced material. Many of the songs were written by Maureen and Mark Murphy. Although only in her early 20s, she has been invited to join several prestigious songwriting workshops and has won critical acclaim for her songs. Also playing rhythm guitar and singing, she is a fast-rising star of the East Coast music scene in Canada. Maureen may play a central role, but she is by no means the only sister with talent. Teresa plays bodhran and sings, while Karen plays bodhran and tin whistle, sings and stepdances.

The singing style often features the three singing together in harmony and less frequently, a solo voice. The harmonies are very tight and pure, reminiscent of earlier Rankin Family recordings. The sisters do their own arranging and have been doing so for many years, so they have perfected it. However, although many people find these beautiful, others do find them grating or boring. If you are one of these people, then you should steer clear, because the album is full of it.

The album includes a beautiful cover of Stan Rogers' song "Lies" and a version of "Lord of the Dance." The only really traditional song is "Live Not Where I Love," which has been given a more modern sound, making it feel as if it could be about any long-distance relationship at any point in time. "He Never Puts His Fiddle Down" is a fast-paced folk-rock song by Ennis and Murphy, describing the magic fiddle music can have on the fiddler. A stark contrast to the previous track, "Lullaby" is a soft ballad by Charlie McGettigan, R. Von Hoy and Dan Seals.

This album is great, especially if you enjoy sweet, pure-sounding music. However, if you like a bit more edge to it all, you'd probably better skip this one.

- Rambles
written by Jean Emma Price
published 15 May 2004