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Maura O'Connell: Wandering Home

Album Notes

The title of this 1997 album sounds eerily prophetic, as if O'Connell knew that it was going to be her final release before an extended layoff. Combined with the fact that this is O'Connell's first album of traditional Irish folk music since her days as the lead singer in the group De Danann over a decade before, WANDERING HOME can't help but feel like a summation of sorts. Seven of the 10 tracks are traditional Celtic folk tunes, and the one pop song, Richard Thompson's aching "Down Where the Drunkards Roll," sounds like it might as well be traditional. Although producer Jerry Douglas does drop his own dobro and lap steel into the arrangements from time to time, the majority of the songs are performed exclusively on traditional Celtic instruments, with none of the new age sweetening many post-RIVERDANCE Celtic records are subjected to. Perhaps the album's most sublime moment comes at the end, when O'Connell reads, unaccompanied, Seamus Heaney's poem "The Singer's House." As with her brilliant interpretive singing, O'Connell makes the poem sound like the words are coming straight from her own soul. WANDERING HOME is a treasure of modern Celtic folk.


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