Rolling Stone (10/02, p.72) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Their most heartening work since 1988's IRISH HEARTBEAT..."
Uncut (12/02, p.132) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...An album of old-time bluegrass and Appalachian tunes..."
Uncut (magazine) (p.69) - "Standouts include Del McCoury wailing high and lonesome on 'Rain And Snow' and Gillian Welch stealing the show on the murder ballad 'Katie Dear'."
This a companion disc to an earlier release of 2002, THE WIDE WORLD OVER, celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Chieftains.
The Chieftains includes: Paddy Moloney.
Additional personnel includes: Buddy & Julie Miller, Earl Scruggs, Martina McBride, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Bela Fleck, Ricky Skaggs, Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, Alison Krauss, Lyle Lovett, Del McCoury, Jeff White, Martina McBride, Vince Gill.
DOWN THE OLD PLANK ROAD was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Folk Album. "Sally Goodin" was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Country Instrumental Performance.
Those eclectic ambassadors of Irish music are at it again, this time taking their act to Nashville for sessions with some of country music's most popular artists. On the one hand, you'd think that the most famous Irish folk group in the world would spend more time simply playing Irish music instead of guesting with artists from and dipping into seemingly every other conceivable genre. On the other, when you've recorded as much amazing Irish traditional music as exists in these guys' back catalog, you've pretty much got carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want.
Anyway, Irish music played a major role in the coalescing of early country music, so DOWN THE OLD PLANK ROAD turns out to house a pretty good musical fit. Still, there are plenty of musical surprises afoot. It might not be a revelation to hear Lyle Lovett singing a traditional tune like "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," but to hear it with added Celtic flavoring is quite an ear-turner. The lads work similar magic with everyone from Gillian Welch to venerable bluegrass patriarch Del McCoury, showing that this is one Irish outfit that refuses to be pinned down to a predictable sound.