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NewGrange

NewGrange – 1999 (Compass)

Reviewed by Jonathan Colcord

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CDs by NewGrange

Do not enter into this recording expecting to hear the music now known as"grange" music. Instead, enter with your blinders down and be treated to a stewpot of styles from six musicians - vocalist/mandolinist Tim O'Brien, banjoist Alison Brown, pianist/accordionist Philip Aaberg, violinis/fiddler Darol Anger, guitarist Mike Marshall and bassist Todd Phillips - at the top of their game.

This album cannot be easily classified although bluegrass predominates. O'Brien's soothing vocals make a great rendition of the traditional "Handsome Molly," to lead off. Brown's melodic playing delightfully underlays most of the tracks playing against O'Brien's mandolin and bouzuki, and Anger's mando/fiddle styles. Aaberg contributes two originals with "Under The Hood" recalling '70's pop-soul la Stevie Wonder and laced with a heavy piano groove.

The recording leans to the lighter side, with the feeling that this was a mostly fun endeavor, along with a few more serious instrumental arrangements. "Goin' To Boston," a traditional song with a light-hearted narrative from O'Brien sets the mood. Some bluegrass, some jazz, some tradition, and some fun is what this record is all about.