Misty River,
(independent, 2004)

Willow, by Misty River, is a beautiful collection of five originals and nine other songs featuring new arrangements of bluegrass, Irish and more modern folk songs.

This album is a follow-up to Misty River's live album. The members include Carol Harley on guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele, Chris Kokesh on fiddle and guitar, Dana Abel on accordion and piano, and Laura Quigley on acoustic bass.

Tracks on Willow include "Green Eyes," a great showcase of the band's harmony on a Kate Wolf love song; "When I Go," featuring shakuhachi master Hanz Araki on this Dave Carter song; "Kathy's Song," a familiar song to Paul Simon fans that guests guitarist Doug Smith and features Carol's ukulele; "Homegrown Tomatoes," a new take on the Guy Clark song; and "The Cuckoo," a great new sound for this long-time traditional favorite of bluegrass and old-time fans.

Also look for "Shady Grove" -- just when it seems like everyone and their mother has done this song, Misty River adds yet another version that makes one enjoy listening to this classic bluegrass song once again. Other songs are "These are My Mountains," an Irish traditional that again showcases the lovely harmony and instrumentation of the band; "Box of Lace," an original by Kokesh, is a heart-warming song of love and family; "Blue-Eyed Boston Boy," a Civil War tune that features uilleann pipe master Tom Creegan and percussionist Rob Schnell, who both add tremendously to the feel of this haunting song; "Tammany Hall," an original instrumental piece by Harley that teams her with Greg Clarke on twin mandolins; "This Town," another Kokesh original and a very well done piece with pleasant vocal work; "Bright Morning Stars," the only a cappella selection on the album with stunning vocals; "Willow," a Celtic-influenced original by Kokesh that includes the tin whistle, accordion and pipes, making for a fresh sound that is light and airy; and finally, "Baird's Lullaby," a sweet original by Abel that relaxes and brings back fond memories of one's own babies during that loving, blessed time of infancy.

All in all, Willow is a great collection of original work and shining arrangements of other works that make for a very highly recommended album.

- Rambles
written by Paulette Isaacs
published 11 June 2005

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