Contemporary Celtic Rock, Jazz, and Instrumental Music

In this edition: Sahara, Declan Sinnott and Dave Hum

A great weekend to all you readers of this page. We have great albums worth listening and I will tell you what I like about them. Enjoy and listen to the music samples.

Sahara: A New Beginning

Genre: Original Contemporary Celtic Rock Jazz Eclectic

Members: Dave Long vocals, guitar keyboards & sequencing

Trish Long vocals, sax, flute, flageolet, recorder keyboards & sequencing

Release date: October 2012

Sample track:

Fans of Bruce Hornsby, Van Morrison and Marc Cohn will certainly welcome Sahara’s A New Beginning with open arms. The duo of Trish and Dave long incorporate a broader spectrum of musical styles. There are hints of smooth jazz, pop rock and Celtic. In terms of instrumental delivery, I’d say hands down to both of them. Their years performing on stage and recording  the way they want their albums to sound, ripened and made their music intoxicating like fine wine. It is the confidence brought about by the test of time, elements and LIFE that we all go through. There are certainly events that shake us rendering us incapable of moving. But it is the call of artistic desire that always brings us into a sense of purpose. This optimistic thought is present all over the album’s 10 tracks.

Sweetness, pain, laughter: these are emotions that surround A New Beginning. There are other atmospheric surprises like The Promise which possesses a definitive Celtic sound. The vocal layering and melody lean into Clannad and Loreena McKennitt. Other titles like Right the Wrongs and A New Beginning are songs that anyone who has gone through tough times can relate to.

The Sweetest Thing, track four, delivers the “get into the Irish pub” kind of sentiment. It has that relaxed atmosphere of being with someone you loved through the years. It says that you don’t have to hide anything because you can be who you are with the right person.

Let’s Unite affirms the belief that we can all get through our differences if we  realize our similarities. I reflected on this and also remember all the natural disasters like earthquakes, famine, disease and poverty. We aren’t invincible. So why should we fight each other when nature is already fighting us and diminishing our numbers? Must we also contribute to the pain? The song has that Irish marching beat.

It Could be True is an example of someone continuing to “court”  a beloved through the years in the relationship. I think it is telling us that winning someone’s heart doesn’t stop after marriage. It continues and there is never a morning when you wake up with a sense of wonderment and challenge to continue loving against all odds. The nice sound of the recorder glides throughout like a nightingale.

Renovating my Igloo is groovy. Fans of Talking Heads can relate to the 80’s New Wave style. Another tribute to being with someone through thick and thin and also the idea that nothing is constant but change. But love the a unifying and constant force.

Is it only Me has a rocking feel. Both vocal and instrumental arrangement set the example of musical excellence. Rainy Day At Shady Creek explores the world of Jazz and Bluegrass. It sounds like traditional Irish music gone crazy. I love it though. Such a nice ending for this album that needs repeated listens.


Declan Sinnott: I love the noise it makes

Genre: Folk Rock


Declan Sinnott: Lead vocals, guitars and various instruments

Owen O’Brien: Keyboards, piano.

Release date: September 2012

Sun Shine In is the carrier single off this new album by former member of Horslips (before they became official) and Moving Hearts. He is associated with both sisters Mary and Frances Black. He currently plays and tours with Christy Moore. “ I love the noise it makes “( a quote he loved from John Lennon when asked whether in music it is the lyrics or the melody he prefers ) was released on 7 September 2012 in Ireland and on 10 and 11 September in the UK and USA respectively.

There are twelve tracks. They are on the easy folk rock style that’s catchy and groovy. Everything in this album sticks together. The sonic quality is amazing, partly through the efforts of Tim Martin and Ian Cooper courtesy of Metropolis Studios. The album has a nice packaging imitating the cardboard style CD. The liner notes are informative and excellent especially in terms of visuals. There are photos of Declan with co-songwriter Owen O’Brien in the studio. The consoles he uses for recording will make a record junkie drool. In one photo, there is a room filled with ethnic instruments (African), synthesizers, assorted guitars and drums.

This album feels like a bunch of hay stacked and tightened in great detail. Craftsmanship and art are combine creating a collection of songs that is timeless and also at home with today’s folk rock top 40. His voice is just the right combination of time tested roughness and whiskey smoothness that goes down easily. Sun Shine is bound to stay in your head for  along time with its melody and easy breezy delivery.

Other tracks like Blood Rushing Through These Veins, I See the World From Here, Corrina, Corrina, Broken Glass and Circle Round the Sun beg for covers due to their amazing sentiments, and heartfelt lyrics. Other tracks like Me and My Dark Companion and Ocean are bluesy and finely executed that they will spawn more covers and jams in years to come. One sweet surprise is the ambient track called Orbit found at the end of the album. It is actually a remake of a traditional tune. I think it is an awesome way to close such excellent album. I like the fact that I won I love the noise it makes and yeah I love it…I love the music it makes!


Celtic and Bluegrass 5 String banjo Album 2

Genre   Instrumental – Celtic – Bluegrass – Old Time – Traditional – Original – Banjo Music

Banjo – Guitar – Mandolin – Bass – Harmonica – Keyboards – Percussion – Programming-All by Dave Hum.

Released Date: August 2011

Sample track:

Album two is a progress to album one of Dave Hum’s top notch banjo playing. I haven’t met anyone who plays like a deity. Expect tracks combining Irish, Bluegrass and Celtic music. Album 2 is composed of 21 tracks. Other artists would have released this as a double album. But you see folks, Dave Hum doesn’t boast his talents through promotion. He relies so much on the word of the mouth and social networking to showcase his craft.

He does everything here. But the star instrument is the banjo. It would be unfair not to mention his expertise in the guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboards, harmonica and percussion. Cluck the Old Hen is a track that has been around in youtube and never gets old. Check out his wild harmonica intro in this track. This is good bluegrass music. Other tracks really hardcore trad music because these are titles that are not familiar to me. He plays them all like he has known them all his life. One fine example is Nashville Blues which is track 15 in this album.

Everything in this collection has the polished sheen of expensive and worn pair of shoes. You could never go wrong picking up this album. I think it is the best banjo album I have heard in years.  His artwork has also flourished. It shows bolder and deeper colors. The Irish Traveller has come  a long way and is trying to explore new territories. Dave Hum has a wizard’s fingers and a chemist’s intelligence in merging and breaking apart the mystery of tunes. His playing is innovative yet rooted deeply in the past. Album 2 of Celtic and Bluegrass 5 String Banjo is a must have and it plays well in any season.


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