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World Music CD Reviews North American

GREAT BIG SEA

By Paula Kirman
Published June 27, 2006

The Hard And The Easy
Zoe/Rounder

Great Big Sea, a trio of musicians from St. John’s, Newfoundland, is a mainstay on the Canadian folk scene, known for their fusion of traditional Newfoundland folk with modern pop. Usually, the group’s albums consist of half original and half traditional material, but The Hard And The Easy is a bit different. It features local songs the group members grew up listening to, presented in acoustic arrangements. After they wrote more than enough original compositions to fill their previous album, 2004’s Something Beautiful, they decided to make their ninth release one of entirely traditional material. Songs like “Harbour LeCou,” ”Cod Liver Oil” and “Tickle Cove Pond” are presented the way music is often played at gatherings of family and friends in Newfoundland: the performances are simple, spare and acoustic. Great Big Sea captures the essence of their homeland’s sound beautifully on The Hard And The Easy.