While most folks likely use the March 17th holiday as an excuse to get blotto, there are hundreds of thousands of Irish and Irish-Americans in our fair city, as well as…well, thousands, anyway, of Irish music fans. So if you’re in it for the green beer, leprechauns and shamrocks, please feel free to read no further.
On the other hand, if you’re a fan of good Irish music, you might want to check out the newest album by the Chieftains, whereon they continue their long-standing tradition of collaborating with folks from other musical genres, in this case the newest generation of folk/rockers the likes of the Decembrists, Grammy nominee Bon Iver and my personal favorite, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. While it doesn’t all work, it’s no cash-in for either side- all the artists attempt to find appropriate songs, and the Chieftains continue to show why they’re among the best known traditional music artists in the world. On the whole it’s an engaging blend of the old (the Chieftains’ debut album came out the same year the Beatles conquered America) and the new.
Or for more adventurous tastes, try the new “back to the roots” offering by Donegal’s finest, Altan. While folks like Dolly Parton and Bonnie Raitt guest on previous records, this time they stick to the trad and true. In fact you can do much worse than picking up anything from Compass Records‘ Irish section. Nashville’s Compass, the Little Bluegrass Label That Could, is the unquestioned prime US source for great Irish music these days, especially now that it’s obtained the catalog of Green Linnet Records, the previous title-holder.