Folk

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

Doolin’ Doolin’ Com­pass/Planet They may in­cite the odd be­gorra (or sacre bleu), but the odd­ity of a sex­tet of French­men from Toulouse ped­dling tra­di­tional Ir­ish folk un­der the moniker of County Clare’s most renowned mu­sic cen­tre is oblit­er­ated by the band’s pol­ish and panache. Cor­rob­o­ra­tion comes in a self­ti­tled sixth re­lease. The fact Doolin’ was pro­duced by a stal­wart of the Amer­i­can-Ir­ish folk scene, John Doyle, in a Nashville stu­dio with as­sis­tance from lo­cal leg­ends serves only to con­sol­i­date the band’s cre­den­tials, which are show­cased in a per­fectly bal­anced set. So­phis­ti­cated in­ter­play be­tween in­stru­ments (vi­o­lin, ac­cor­dion, gui­tar, whis­tles, bodhran and bass) that echoes Ir­ish lu­mi­nar­ies Lu­nasa and the Bothy Band com­bine with in­flu­ences from jazz, rock and funk — even rap — to add spice to tra­di­tional jig and reel med­leys. Doyle’s rhyth­mic drive on bouzouki helps pro­pel The Road to Glean­ntan and Wind Her Up to stand­out sta­tus. In other in­stru­men­tals, Mike McGoldrick’s flute im­bues Reel Africa with trance feel; Jerry Dou­glas’s do­bro lends sus­tain to the re­flec­tive Le Dernier Kouign Amann and Mary Shan­non’s tenor banjo au­then­ti­cates Mary’s Jigs. Else­where, Alison Brown’s five-string banjo em­bel­lishes read­ings of Steve Earle’s The Gal­way Girl and Bob Dy­lan’s Bal­lad of Hol­lis Brown, ren­dered by Doolin’s res­i­dent singer­ac­cor­dion­ist with an in­flec­tion that’s more Gaelic than Gal­lic. The only real as­ser­tion of Wil­fried Besse and the band’s iden­tity comes in his/their ver­sion of Jac­ques Brel’s Am­s­ter­dam, and even that clas­sic chan­son gets an Ir­ish makeover.

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