Album – “Totes For Goats”
Artist – Burning Bridget Cleary
Genevieve Gillespie – fiddle, vocals, banjo
Rose Baldino – fiddle, vocals, banjo
Lou Baldino – guitar, vocals, bass
Peter Trezzi – djembe, drums
Special thanks to:
Moses – the goat
Nate Godshall – bodhran
Joe Plowman – upright bass
Siddharth Bhaskar – D Whistle
We try to write these reviews not only for other musicians or diehard fans of Celtic music, but for those in-between who may enjoy Celtic music from time to time, or a festival on occasion, as well as for those who are looking for new unique music of the celtic kind. We stay away from too much flowery language that may confuse some readers and listeners who are not musicians but simply want to know, “Is this CD any good or not, and might I like it?”
Burning Bridget Cleary is burning bright again. This is another outstanding offering from this “ever-increasing-in-popularity-and-talent” Celtic band. They play so well together we shudder at the thought of this band ever breaking up. Instrumentation was well balanced in the recording although we would have liked the djembe and Bodhran to be a little more noticeable in some of the songs. The additional use of Bodhran, at all, and drums does bring some depth to this Celtic CD that may not have been present on previous Burning Bridget Cleary CD. A very positive addition in our opinion. I welcome the new musicians playing as back up. We’ve always been a fan of depth in Celtic music added via drums, bass, Bodhran or Didgeridoo.
“Totes For Goats” can be described as having a contemporary Celtic sound mixed with traditional Irish tunes, such as dance sets and slow airs. You will want to listen to this CD multiple times, so leave it out or take it with you in the car. Burning Bridget Cleary seems to waver between traditional dance numbers, Celtic rock and folk music. This creates for us a Celtic album that is much more interesting to listen to than most all-traditional Celtic or Irish music albums. The individual tunes are very well paced and seem rightly played for the mood they are to convey. Burning Bridget Cleary excels in that respect.
Most of “Totes For Goats” is toe tapping “stuff.” There are 8 instrumental pieces, some are set dances, some are regular songs and two are slow haunting airs. We enjoyed every song on the CD which rarely ever happens with any CD we listen too. Many Celtic albums will become tiring to the ears and sometimes you can’t wait to get to the end. The variety of music on “Totes For Goats” is refreshing and should convince you to want to listen. We aslo totally loved the artwork on the CD cover and the title of the CD. Very creative!
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Totes for Goats -Individual Songs
“Where’s Pete”. A driving toe-tapping instrumental dance, just long enough to make you want more.
“The Elfin Knight”. Beautiful singing by one of the ladies. An upbeat and simple tune that will surely cheer up anyone downhearted. Has a modern pop feel to it.
“Sloppy Set”. A traditional dance instrumental set. Very cool complementary playing from the two fiddle players. We liked the addition of the banjo in the background.
“The King and the Fair Maid”. Nice harmonizing between Genevieve and Rose. A very pleasant medieval-influenced tune with a fun story. Oh, this gets so dirty, something about a man and a horse.
“The Unfortunate Rake”. Instrumental with mostly over-dubbed guitar. Upbeat modernization of the Irish folk sound. Smart and crisp playing. Lou Baldino can play a guitar! The “Jimmy’s Groove” portion of this set is written by Lou Baldino.
“Nead Na Lachan Sa Mhuta”. This is one of our favorites. Fast paced crisp singing in Gaelic. Genevieve and Rose both have very good voices and use their complementary vocal ranges like instruments, which we find very intriguing. The whistle joins in on this one.
“Jigs for the Gangly Sort”. You have to love the name of this instrumental dance. It was probably a rather difficult fiddle piece which is highlighted here.
“Lament for Emil”. Slow air. The first slow contemplative number on the CD. It could be straight out of a Civil War movie soundtrack.
“The Blacksmith”. An interesting story, so listen closely. Sung by the ladies. Another one of our favorites. An intense ballad style song that perhaps could have used slightly more intense instrumentation on the crescendos (but you can only do so much with so few instruments). Fun to listen to.
“To My Wife, Short and Sweet”. Instrumental. Definitely short. A pleasant solo guitar melody which really doesn’t sound Celtic. It breaks up any monotony you may be feeling, which you really shouldn’t have. Music written by Loy Baldino.
“The Fort”. Another dance instrumental. There is something about Burning Bridget Cleary’s instrumental technique and arrangements that creates a unique sound which we can’t quite describe, perhaps it is the underlying yet prominent beat brought into each song by the guitar.
“The Connemara Shore”. The sole tune sung with male voice. It is uniquely done. Music (but not words) written by the very talented Loy Baldino. This one reminds me of the 70’s style of Simon and Garfunkel, though with not quite as outstanding of a voice as either of them. It doesn’t quite fit the album but a nice tune that we found refreshing.
“The Cuckoo”. A slow air. Could be in a Civil War soundtrack just like “Lament for Emil”. Hauntingly beautiful, with a unique interplay between the fiddle and stand up bass. We loved it and consider it a fitting end to the CD.
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