Mark Lysaght - Irish Music Magazine - May 2017
The first thing that hits the listener of this CD is the sheer virtuosity of the playing. The opener The First Dance plunges us headlong into a frenetic display of energetic solo acoustic guitar playing at breakneck speed, followed in quick succession by another two instrumental tours de force, culminating in a delightful crossover take on the well known tune The Musical Priest.
Seamie O’Dowd would need little introduction to traditional Irish music lovers as a superbly gifted musician and singer, but here he has extended shoots of discovery into a predominantly jazz–influenced setting with the perhaps less well known, but very accomplished Kieran Quinn on piano and keyboards.
It seems inevitable that the obvious overlaps from other styles should stimulate legitimate creativity. In this case, the basic model is (mainly acoustic) guitar and keyboards, a sparse combination, which allows the musicians the space to play interactively. The results are stunning, mainly instrumental with a sprinkling of songs, including a rootsy version of Dirty Old Town.
The energy of the opening tracks is balanced by some thoughtful and reflective pieces, notably Rue Du Rory, a homage to the late Rory Gallagher, who was a particular favourite of
Seamie’s. Gwylim is a beautifully delivered original piece composed by Quinn, featuring electric guitar. In contrast, O’Dowd contributes Spanish Busride, a delightful flamenco–tinged number, and a further illustration of the broad musical palette employed.
Both musicians contribute an original song each, further emphasising the magnitude of the talents on display. This is a remarkable CD, which deserves and rewards repeated listening. I’m left wondering about the possibilities presented by these two virtuosos developing this concept in an expanded line–up. Now there’s a thought!
Oliver P. Sweeney - Fatea Music Magazine - March 2017
The whole notion of fusion music suggests a striving for accommodation, a bringing together of two or more musical traditions in an effort to forge something fresh and new from the constituent parts, something which, over time, will evolve into a musical entity with a language and context all of its own. So it is with this release, recorded in under a week by a duo whose collective mantra has to be "what boundaries"? Seamie cut his teeth on the fiddle as a very young man, and has since gone on to play with Dervish, The Unwanted, and New Road, and also The Mairtin O'Connor Trio. He has also played extensively with Christy Moore. Kieran Quinn was a Gaelic footballer of note prior to engaging fulltime with music.
The resultant agglomeration is a joy to listen to, each track different to the one which precedes or follows it. Original compositions comfortably take their place alongside material of traditional provenance, each one, in a live context, given a rivetting backstory. There is true magic afoot here, a genuinely shared experience of two forms- jazz and trad-becoming one. In the process, the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater, single note picking and full piano chords urging it on its way down the Garavogue River to the nearest blues delta, with a few diversions on the way. Over the past few days, this remarkable album has accompanied us all over Ireland from Sligo to Bessbrook to rural Galway, charming and bewitching us at every turn, repeated playing allowing us to find new notes, tunings and phrasings within its folds. Such is the uniform excellence of every track that it would be churlish to pick out a favourite, but I will say this much. It's going to take a really special album to dislodge this cracking piece of work from the top of my year's best list come next December. Stunning stuff.