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Celtic Tenors: Feels Like Home

Album Notes

The Celtic crossover scene doesn't exactly have the most esteemed of reputations, largely due to the fact that most of its output is a watered-down version of authentic Irish music designed to appeal to the most mainstream audience possible. With their non-threatening good looks and inoffensive, easy listening tones, the Celtic Tenors may have originally fallen under that category, but recently they've become one of the sound's most interesting exponents. Following 2009's Americana-themed Hard Times, their sixth studio album, Feels Like Home, largely ignores the usual clichéd standards in favor of an eclectic range of reworkings plucked from the back catalogs of the likes of Cat Stevens ("Silent Sunlight," which was suggested by Yusuf Islam himself), Richard Thompson ("Dimming of the Day"), and Mary Black ("No Frontiers"). The easy listening arrangements throw up fewer surprises, drenching the likes of Mary Fahl's "Going Home," and the Josh Groban-esque "I Know That You Care" (the sole new composition) in layers of strings, gentle piano hooks, and the occasional flourishes of pipes and flutes. But the trio themselves have never sounded better, whether showcasing their three-part harmonies on the a cappella renditions of "She Moved Through the Fair" and th 19th century Welsh lullaby "Suo Gan," or individually taking the spotlight on solo reworkings of Eddi Reader's "The Wild Mountainside" (James), Tom Baxter's "Better" (Daryl), and Declan O'Rourke's "Galileo" (Matthew). A change of pace wouldn't have gone amiss, with only the rousing Celtic jig of "Red Haired Mary" providing anything approaching uptempo. But while Feels Like Home doesn't quite live up to the claims that the Celtic Tenors are doing for Irish tenor singing what Riverdance did for Irish dancing just yet, it's another encouraging effort which suggests they've got the potential to do so in the future. ~ Jon O'Brien


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