...the former Cherish the Ladies lead singer has hit her stride; her singing is unabashedly confident and self-assured, the choice of material (including traditional and contemporary songs plus a few Talbot/McCusker compositions) is stellar, and the arrangements -- Rusby references notwithstanding -- and musicianship supporting her are both outstanding and well-conceived.
All of this is evident on the highly entertaining, boisterous “Sally Brown,” an Anglo-American sea chantey that here is transformed into something resembling a Salvation Army hymn channeled through a Cajun festival, complete with horn section. Talbot, along with guest vocalist Eddi Reader, brings the right amount of verve and salt to a song, which almost certainly did not originate as something young ladies would sing.
Talbot goes to a completely different place on the emotional spectrum on the very next track, “Bantry Girls,” a lament for the Irishmen gone to fight abroad. The song has been covered by numerous male and female singers, but Talbot nonetheless brings forth its tenderness and tragedy; and her vulnerability and vibrato are eloquently enhanced by Carr, McCusker and double-bassist Ewen Vernal.
Other tracks of note include “Willie Taylor,” a cautionary ballad of love, devotion, and betrayal (with fearsome consequences) featuring cameos by Michael McGoldrick and Phil Cunningham; “Bleecker Street,” a Greenwich Village variant of “Patrick Street” -- about a one-night stand in which it’s the sailor who gets victimized -- that incorporates a riff from “Johnny’s Jig,” which McCusker devotees will recognize from his “Goodnight Ginger” album; and a cover of “At the End of the Day,” an overlooked Sandy Denny masterpiece that still tugs at the heartstrings. Speaking of covers, Talbot does herself proud by bringing in the authors of “Hang Me” (Kris Drever) and “Start It All Over Again” (Karine Polwart) to add harmony vocals to her renditions of their respective works.
Talbot, by the way, is to be the featured vocalist in this year’s “Christmas Celtic Sojourn” production -- one of many future appearances in the US, one would hope and trust.
Eileen Ivers perfromed at the annual Lincoln Square Holiday Tree Lighting and discusses being the "Jimi Hendrix of the violin" with The Hunstville Times in preperation for her performance there of An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas, Dec. 2nd.
"Musicians have to work so hard at marketing themselves, constantly ... [Richard Julian’s The Grooveable Feast] allows viewers to peek through a keyhole, and see the real people behind the music.” (Baristanet.com)