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Various Artists

Hands Across The Water: A Benefit For The Children Of The Tsunami Disaster – 2005 (Compass)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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The title of this collection is appropriate on at least two levels. On the humanitarian side, the proceeds are indeed earmarked to ease the suffering of children whose lives were forever altered by the wall of water that swept off the Indian Ocean just over a year ago. On a purely musical basis, the extensive roster of roots musicians from both sides of the Atlantic presents a powerful reminder of just how firmly what we have come to call "country" music on this side is rooted in the British Isles, and how much the echoes still resound. There are more than a few individual names that will be familiar to American ears - Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Sharon Shannon, Maura O'Connell, Tim O'Brien and more - as well as some well-known Celtic bands like Lunasa and Altan.

All 16 tracks make for interesting and rewarding trans-Atlantic combinations of these artists, but possibly the most interesting are those featuring up-and-coming Irish trad artists like the exciting young band Flook and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Oisin McAuley, both of DanÍ. And, for an offbeat treat, don't miss John Prine with his wife, Fiona and Dermot Byrne on "Til A Tear Becomes A Rose."