The Free-Reed Review
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CD Review:


Mairin Fahy: fiddle, vocals
Eilis Egan: diatonic accordion
Chris Kelly: guitars
Benny Hayes: piano, keyboards, ukulele, vocals


Gort to Texas to Honolulu
Calliope House
Siuil a Run
Pachelbel Reels
Savoy Bouresque
The Last Rose of Summer
Torc Waterfall
Bulgarian Bash
The Bantry Girl's Lament
Pockets of Gold
Terryglass Reels
Strongest Weakness
Ragtime Annie

Total Time: 46:40
Released in 1995

Label: Green Linnet Records (GLCD 1154)
43 Beaver Brook Road
Danbury, CT 06810 USA
telephone: 800-468-6644

Review by Henry Doktorski:

Reeltime is an exciting new/traditional band from Ireland; an extremely talented & young quartet which specializes in modern-edged music.

Most of the tracks feature traditional acoustic instruments, but occasionally the electric instruments are featured. Normally I don't like experiments which mix acoustic and electronic instruments, (I suppose I'm a purist), but Reeltime does it so tastefully that I could not stop myself from enjoying it!

For example, track two, "Calliope House," begins with a trio consisting of a slow, laid-back funky bass guitar solo, with mellow synth chords and screaming electric guitar melody. All well and good.

But then the shocker comes when Eilis Egan begins playing a traditional reel in 6/8 time on her squeezebox, against the slow funky electric beat! It is positively exhilarating! I call it a stroke of contrapuntal genius which exemplifies the art of combining unrelated melodies (even with different time signatures). In classical music, this type of piece is called a 'quodlibet' and J.S. Bach was fond of improvising in this way during his organ preludes on Sunday mornings and at wild family reunion parties.

Although Reeltime is solidly grounded in the Irish repertoire, they move freely among other world music styles, incorporating Texas swing, Bulgarian gypsy, ragtime, Hawaiian slack-key guitar, and French jazz a la Django Reinhardt. The centerpiece of Reeltime's music is the virtuoso duet playing of Eilis Egan on accordion and Maureen Fahy on fiddle. Chris Kelly's percussive guitar accompaniment - chord changes rooted in jazz and delicate fingerpicking on slower airs - and Benny Hayes' piano and synthesizer are always tasteful.

In addition, Maureen has a beautiful and wistful voice which makes me want to pack up my bags and go to Ireland! Reeltime has just completed an 18 city American tour which took them from Massachusetts to Oregon.

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