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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

CIARIN TOURISH

By Marty Lipp
Published September 23, 2005

Down The Line
Compass

On leave from his day job with the Irish trad group Altan, fiddler Ciarin Tourish takes the opportunity to do some musical orienteering, mostly following the Celtic immigration to American country music. He starts off the album with a breezy set of jigs, which certainly sounds like it’s in the Irish tradition, though he uses an unusual configuration of just fiddle, guitar and percussion. He goes on to work with several vocalists to produce some cuts that sound right at home in Nashville, where his label, Compass, is based. Dobro, mandolin and tin whistle trade lonesome-sounding cries on “Are You Tired Of Me, My Darling,” giving a gorgeous Irish flavor to this Carter Family classic with guests Alison Krauss and Tim O’Brien teaming for vocals. Amid the swift jigs and reels are more poignant cuts. The sparest of the spare is Tourish’s “Port Na Bpuca,” a tune from the Blasket Islands that he plays on a solitary whistle. Playing with former Planxty member Paul Brady on “Dreams Will Come,” the two Irishmen produce a tune that sounds like alt-country. Altan fans will want Tourish to keep his day job, but they will now be wishing he takes more time off.