(February 2010) 12 tracks: Abe's Axe * John Riley * No Linen No Lace * The Hutt Reels * The Butcher Boy * Five Jumps * Panama * Pretty Polly * Dotsy's * Louis Collins * Bottom Of The Hill * Salthill Bugalu.
Irish band Gráda launches headlong into the cross-genre world of new acoustic music, bridging traditional Irish and Appalachian tunes and songs with Americana songwriting. Through their recent appearances at key Americana and Roots festivals across four continents, Grada continues to win new fans at a rapid rate.
Gráda (whose name means 'gradient' in Irish Gaelic), have always drawn from a melting pot of influences - their improvisatory relish may seem at odds to how people think about Irish traditional music, but it's natural for this quintet of Irish / New Zealanders. Natural Angle, with its Americana edge and bluegrass twang, sets their Irish melodies and styles in sharp relief. Four tracks are American songs (although some of those have older Irish roots), and there are three original songs from the band, including for the first time an original song by vocalist Nicola Joyce.
Gráda sought out famed bluegrass musician and singer Tim O'Brien, whom they had met at the Tonder Festival in Denmark in 2005, to produce their CD in Nashville. Harnessing the explosive energy of Gráda in the discipline of a Nashville studio was a challenge and a revelation, but the album perfectly captures the zest of the band's live concerts.
Tracks include the band's take on the The Butcher Boy (recorded by Bob Dylan as The Railroad Boy, a song he may have learned from The Clancy Brothers), Pretty Polly (an American version of The Elfin Knight, made famous by Ralph Stanley), Nicola Joyce's answer to Stan Rogers' The Lock-Keeper, Linen And Lace, and 5 Jumps, a set marrying a Danish reel, an original reel by former bandmate Colin Farrell, and a traditional Irish tune.
Gráda are Gerry Paul (guitar), Nicola Joyce (vocals, bodhrán), Stephen Doherty (flute, whistle, accordion), David Doocey (fiddle, concertina) and Andrew Laking (bass). Special guests include Tim O'Brien (who also produced the CD), Alison Brown (banjo), veteran Nashville sideman John Gardner (drums), Bearfoot's Odessa Jorgensen (vocals, fiddle) and Erick Jaskowiak.
"Grada is to Irish music what Arcade Fire is to Indie - informal, prodigious and full of spirit..." (Washington Post)
"An Irish folk band but hardly a traditional one, Gráda is equally comfortable performing original neo-folk compositions, covers of songs by Suzanne Vega and Sonny Condell, and tunes from Brittany alongside the traditional Celtic tunes..." (All Music Guide)
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