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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish


By Rob Weir
Published June 22, 2006

The Drover Road

Upon first consideration, the very idea of "Cowboy Celtic" may seem absurd.  David Wilkie and his talented band dispel such perceptions immediately, opening their latest CD with "The Drover Road to Amurlee," with vocalist Denise Witnell giving a Western treatment to Scots driving their "kye" from the Outer Hebrides to their mainland market. And that's the point: cows are cows, drovers are drovers, a fiddle's a fiddle, a reel's a reel, and a waltz is a waltz, whether it's San Antonio or Aberdeen. Wilkie boldly sings "Farewell tae Tarwathie" like a Western waltz, laces "The Yellow Rose of Texas" with tin whistles, allows "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo" to sway to an Irish swing, and turns the mandolins loose on a few O'Carolan tunes. This unlikely cultural confluence works because Wilkie and his compatriots understand that music is a universal language.