Red Knot
Reviews from the Atlanta Celtic Quarterly
Red Knot
by David Marcus (

Briefly Noted - from The Atlanta Celtic Quarterly, May 1998

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Yankee Celtic Consort: Wander the Wood (Grandma Katherine's Music GKM75445). I don't know any music that has wandered the world so happily and begot a family larger than Irish music. From Ohio, the Yankee Celtic Consort's hot premiere album shows the amount of interbreeding with its descendants that Irish music has done and still is doing. These musicians play the pure Irish drop, but they also play Irish bluegrass (or maybe bluegrass Irish). There's a wonderful version of "When You and I Were Young, Maggie" that's a cross between older bluegrass and Lorraine Duisit's best singing with Trapezoid; I want to hear more from singer Kim Rattan. "Blackberry Blossom" is punched up with an electric guitar and a strong rhythm section. "Over the Moor to Maggie" and "Staten Island Hornpipe" are preceded by a selection from Handel's "Water Music" (remember, De Danann also played some Handel, and just about as well). Other traditional cuts are played in the pure style; the faster tunes have wonderful energy; these guys can really play. There are also some very nice original tunes, including a graceful jig called "Ben's Favorite" that reminds me of the older and more formal Scottish jigs. I look forward to hearing more from this dynamic young band.

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A Trip to Cape Breton (Lochshore CDLDL 1269) teams fiddler Jerry Holland with J.C.B. (formerly known as the Jura Ceili Band) for an album that combines traditional and new ceili tunes with a few pipe marches, an air, a song (the wonderfully rolling Crossing to Jura), and two sweet waltzes-I listened to Amy's Waltz three times before going on-to create a wonderful blend of old world and new world Scottish music that is warm, never rushed, and always very sure. J.C.B. plays like a real old-time ceili band and has the "lift" that Cape Breton piano inevitably adds. They include well-known Scots fiddler Archie MacAllister, Davy MacDonald on accordion, and Ross Kennedy, a former member of The Tannahill Weavers (I believe) on banjo and guitar.

Jerry Holland, born in Boston, son of a champion Cape Breton fiddler, got the bug young, starting to play in ceili bands at age 10, and today lives in Cape Breton. Listen to him long enough and you may wind up in Cape Breton, too.

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