Liner Note Author: Jacob Edgar.
Illustrator: Nicola Heindl.
Photographers: Archie Macfarlane; Rob McDougall; Lieve Boussauw; Euan Robertson; Sam Lakeman; The Battlefield Band; Michael Banahan.
Putumayo's world music collections are often an uneven affair of tasteful folk-inspired cuts with a unique regional flair and misguided marriages of factory drum loops and traditional instruments. Their 2015 compilation, Celtic Café, is no different, offering up ten tracks from the British Isles with a relaxed coffeehouse vibe that split the difference between inviting and slightly aggravating. Opening track "Waterbound," by Ireland's Michael McGoldrick, sets a warm, easy tone, as does Scottish folk stalwart Dougie MacLean's rendition of "Are Ye Sleepin' Maggie," but Capercaillie's folk-funk fusion dud "Him Bò" is the album's low point. Fortunately, the rest of Celtic Café is filled with some very nice trad-flavored folk songwriting (Finbar Furey's "School Days Over") and familiar-sounding, if somewhat unremarkable instrumental fare. ~ Timothy Monger