Sheila Noonan,
Radio Sweethearts
(Kells, 1999)

Sweet and tart, Radio Sweethearts offers a selection of folk, bluegrass and country tunes with a hint of Irish flavor. Perhaps it's the artist's name or the label (Kells Music), but I expected something more decidedly Celtic from this disc. Don't be fooled like me -- it's country through and through. But that's perfectly OK, if you like country music.

Radio Sweethearts features Sheila Noonan on vocals and harmony vocals, the multi-talented Eamonn O'Rourke on acoustic, bass, electric and nylon guitars, mandolin, fiddle and tenor banjo, Niall Donnelly on piano and keyboards, John Redmond on button accordion, Dave Barckow on drums and Jimmy Kelley Jr. on additional vocals.

Selections include "The Island," "Radio Sweethearts," "Everybody Loves A Lover," "Music of Healing," "The Roseville Fair," "Singing Land," "Another Morning," "Emigrant Eyes," "The Heart" and "Ballad of St. Anne's Reel," with music and lyrics written by various songwriters.

The instruments play sweet and smooth, the songs are bouncy and rhythmic, melodic and well-orchestrated, but just too "country" for me. While Noonan's high and sugary voice is impressive, it seems better suited to tunes that would likely be sung by a children's recording artist. However, after the last few listening experiences I've had, I'm just glad that she carries an ear-pleasing tune -- no small miracle, as I've realized lately.

If you like country music and have a sweet tooth, then perhaps Radio Sweethearts will satisfy your craving.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 22 June 2002