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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

SEAN DOYLE

By Marty Lipp
Published September 9, 2005

The Light And The Half-Light
Compass

Much of the attention in the traditional Irish music scene has been about young bucks mixing it up with instrumental tunes. So here is a disc of ballads from an older gent. Sean Doyle, though, is the dad of one of the best of those young bucks: John Doyle, formerly of the group Solas. Apparently, Doyle fils wanted pere to record his own disc to preserve his corner of the old world. Doyle's deep baritone has a lived-in quality and is not conventionally pretty, but it is soulful and matches the tunes he resurrects here. With John on guitar and several top-notch session musicians as a foil, Sean takes the tunes out of the smoke of the pub and preserves them in a lovely amber. One can see this as a labor of love, both of family and of heritage. It's not a brightly lit dance album, it's an album with the feel of sunset -- perhaps the "lhalf-light" of the title -- where the beauty is of darkening hues.