Thoughts and Music this Christmas

Thoughts and Music this Christmas

Still with Allison Crowe… About the song: Canadian poet, singer-songwriter, sailor and islander Andy Vine ( composed this song in the late 1970s. While music-making in St. John’s, Newfoundland he discovered “Woman of Labrador”, the remarkable autobiography of Elizabeth Goudie. Of Inuit, Indian, French and English roots, Goudie (née Blake) was born in 1902 in Mud Lake, Labrador. At 18 she’d wed a trapper, raising their eight+ children in the brush – her memoirs recounting life and travails and dwellings from a trapper’s “tilt”, and log cabins to a Summer lake-shore fishing house and beyond – all that comes with and from such a pioneering existence in territory that encompassed family homes in Mud Lake, North West River and Happy Valley-Goose Bay To read the complete description, go the You Tube link: About the song:  From Corner Brooker Allison Crowe’s album, “Newfoundland Vinyl II”, comes this stirring song of a shipwreck and brave rescue efforts that occurred on November 29, 1875. To read the complete description, go to the You Tube link: After listening to Souling and The Newfoundland Vinyl !! repeatedly, I notice something I never mentioned in my last article. Allison Crowe has a strong and distinctive voice. Singer/songwriters or musical artists who play their own instruments have always been associated with having soft singing voices. There are those who do have powerful voices but this is rare. Feel free to correct me but this is my observation. I think it comes with the fact that singing while playing an instrument is hard. You got to pick at least one instrument to channel your skills and emotions. Pop divas have their voices as their primary instrument. And for instrumentalists who don’t sing, they channel their power to that instrument they are using. But to master both is a challenge-I think. I have tried performing before and it is really hard to channel intense emotions when you are strumming a guitar. It feels awkward. When you belt out a tune, you do it easily when you are just holding a mic. And this is what I have noticed in Allison Crowe’s singing. She sings like a pop/rock vocalist but she is also that woman with the guitar. But he is certainly not Suzanne Vega or Judy Collins. She’s more like the late Nina Simone with bit of Natalie Merchant.

Holiday albums I listen to year after year.
The list of Holiday albums I listen to change year after year depending if there are artists who are able to squeeze into my top 5. This usually happens upon new releases. But here are the albums that made it to my holiday list which I will be listening to next year.
  1. Loreena McKennitt- Midwinter’s Night Dream: This Canadian artist never fail to dazzle me with her amazing voice and marketing smarts. What is Christmas without the elfin appeal of McKennitt’s music?
  2. Enya-And Winter Came: Every year I listen to this because her arrangements bring down the snow. I won’t say more but perhaps you know what I mean.
  3. Moya Brennan-An Irish Christmas: After her US tour, she will be performing a Christmas special in Ireland. The first lady of Celtic music continues to dazzle.
  4. Souling-Allison Crowe: Yes she made it to my top 5 and I know I will be playing this album next holiday season.
  5. Together at Chritmas-Various artist: I want to thank Anita Daly for giving me this sampler as there are many amazing Celtic artists out there worth discovering.

*** Martin Tourish and how Celtic music continues to inspire me. I sometimes get asked, how I am able to keep up my passion for blogging . Especially that it’s been years since I started this baby? The answer is simple. Music. When I hear something that I like , that tune inspired me to write something about it. It is like discovering a beautiful plant that you just want to take care of it because seeing it bloom give you much pleasure.1458141506_bb96e77eb0 Of course it’s been obvious that I also like other types of music. And this liking for other styles of music made me marvel at the beauty of Celtic music. Because it remains different and ‘not mainstream.’ We all have our degree of elitism and this is my little elitist guilt ….and well, let’s face it, you don’t want to be part of the herd right? You gotta find your niche and hone your creativity around it. For me the sound of uilleann pipes, harp and other Celtic instruments inspire me. I love hearing them and also the comments that I get from people when they say that my music is something they could not find anywhere and that when they hear it they are soothed. So let me give you a taste of this wonderful playlist by the very talented Martin Tourish. This is presented by Trad Connect, the leading site for lovers of traditional Irish music.

My Christmas thoughts. Warning it’s a little bit personal. 
Never be afraid to be vulnerable. I read that via Flipboard this week. I must confess, one of my fears to bare my weakness for anyone to say. And so I hid behind the guise of a blogger who just wants to post updates and ‘new stuff.’ Of course the ‘enterprise’ can be about that and building a brand. But that’s way behind me now. What I just want to do is to share music, and my thoughts about music. And perhaps a bit of my ‘voice.’
I know everyone has his or her own holiday plans. It could probably involve visiting relatives or holding a party. Mine is receiving relatives, playing Yuletide tune, completing a book by Anne Rice about werewolves of mid-winter and watching great movies. My aunt who raised me to become who I am today passed away last May 16, 2013. So it’s the second Christmas without her. I have to tell you, it is not an easy thing to go through year after year. But she also raised me to be strong and despite the pain I might be feeling inside, the ‘show must go on.’ There are moments of crippling pain especially when I am alone. There are moments when I feel I lave lost my relevance. I feel that she took the meaning out of existence with her, when she went away. As if living is a just a task I have to do because there is nothing else to do but to endure and to live for others.
I want to thank everyone who followed this blog through the years since its first launch in 2009. So may things happened. Amazing and tragic things. I met amazing people through this blog. And I know nothing lasts forever. We don’t have inexhaustible source of energy. Who knows one day I might stop writing simply because I could no longer go on. Perhaps because I have moved on to another venture. But I just want to say that this is my baby. I nurtured it, poured my love and sometimes pain to it. And I tell you, there is one thing that makes life beautiful and that is the feeling of being connected. That we are all part of a bigger picture, whatever that is. That we are not alone. No one is insignificant.
For my late aunt:
To my late aunt whom I call mama. You were the meaning of my life. And when all the stars fade and I have given all I have to give to life, your smiling face will be the last thing I will see…your voice , the last thing I will remember. And the universe will go on.
Coming up…
I will be posting a review of North Star by Kyle Carey
Listen to Immigrants & Dissidents by Will Tun and the Wasters

Listen to Immigrants & Dissidents by Will Tun and the Wasters


Will Tun and the Wasters released a beautiful and surprising single Immigrants & Dissidents.

I think touring brings out the best in everyone. This is what happened to Will Tun and the Wasters with their new tune Immigrants & Dissidents. By the way if you go to soundcloud it is available as a free download. I suspect this is the direction that they taking if they are going to release an album in the future. Unlike their past recordings (which were geared towards punishing punk energy),this one is ‘sweeter.’ I see the arrival of a more textured sound that’s getting more and more sophisticated as they mature as artists.

You can hear the other instruments in Immigrants & Dissidents. It has a more acoustic feel. Since their break through, I’ve been following this band because of their distinctive sound. They bring something new to the music world. They fuse styles that would have been otherwise odd in the wrong hands. But they made it. They are going steady as they evolve, releasing tunes after another.

Kudos to Will Tun and the Wasters. They know how to give their fans a good time. You should see them live if you a chance!

Cillian King is going to release some mighty music!

Cillian King is going to release some mighty music!

Thanks to Rolf Wagels for this exciting story!

The buzz is that Cillian King is releasing new music soon. What music could this be? Are you excited? I know I am. I have heard his tunes with other groups and this man is truly amazing. I am sharing his soundcloud page because I am sure he will post all his new tunes on this page so keep a close watch ok?

In the mean time I wish you all a great week ahead. Good coffee and awesome tunes!

The Baxteria Podcast #16

The Baxteria Podcast #16

The Elders-Christmas Day
Michael Londra-Beyond the Star
Celtic Twist-Looking for Moss
Lisa Lynne-Fields of Gold
Celtus-Strange Day in the Country
Cherish the Ladies-Thady Casey’s Fancy/The Ladies Pantalettes/The Monaghan Twig/The Linen
Samuel Smith-Next to You
Storm Queen-Look Right Through (MK Vocal Edit)
Peter Gabriel-Red Rain
Hozier-Take me to Church
Rachael McCormack-I am Still Breathing
Joe Zymes and the Loving Kind-Where Do I belong
FPS (For Pete’s Sake)-Friends


Here’s another podcast for you as heard via yesterday. To those who are very dependent in their mobiles to listen to music, Mixcloud isn’t available on Windows phone yet. But if you are using an iphone ar an android device then this one works. All you need to do is download the mixcloud app from Google play and you are set to go. I am not sure if it works using a mobile browser but you can try.

I have not posted on Soundcloud because my paid account has run out so I need to give them another $25 so I can increase my usage. Not bad as long as they don’t block some of the songs I post there-which they do unfortunately. The same thing goes for Youtube. So these days I am only uploading my interviews with musicians that way I won’t receive comments about the songs I am including in the show. I have no issues with Mixcloud so I am using this as my primary medium of uploading my radio show.

The DJ mix is interesting as you will get to hear new bands and new music. An hour of great music! The show lasts an hour. It is divided into two sets. The first is about Celtic music and the next is indie variety. I know musicians from different genres so I need to have two sets to make sure I represent other genres other than Celtic music(which is the primary reason why I got into blogging and doing DJ work).

The Folkalists: Warning, Irish Humor at Work!

The Folkalists: Warning, Irish Humor at Work!

The Folkalists

The Folkalists

Genre: Irish and contemporary folk, bluegrass and country

Members: Dee McIlroy, Eugene Glenn, Barry Skeff

Hometown: Belfast

It’s hard for me to listen to The Folkalists without giggling. From afar, the music maybe pleasant, warm and even inviting because of the efforts placed in the arrangements.  Up near you get the lyrical wit and sarcasm that’s original. Listen to ” I Used To Hate Someone” with lines like ” I never liked a single hair on his head, I never liked one thing that he said.” My personal favorite is  Friends Must because the melody reminds me of a cross between BJ Thomas and Travis.

These are not your run-of-the-mill  band members. We are talking about musicians who are known in their own respective fields and just decided one day to form a musical project together. It is great to see them exploring another musical style to showcase their versatility.

I know some of them from Clanu which I enjoyed featuring. With The Folkalist, the band incites everyone into the sunny side of life and yes to appreciate humor in every form. This is where music and lyrics come together to draw a reaction. Dee McIlroy’s lyrical talent is really at work in every track on top of his smooth and pleasant vocal delivery.

For the now  the members are still the in the process of putting tracks together and developing a full-length album which will be out before we know it. So enjoy the tracks and also say hi to the band via their facebook site.



Gaelic Storm

Gaelic Storm

About Gaelic Storm

This July they’re running “Rag and Bone Workshop,” their own 4-day music camp at the Full Moon Resort in the Catskills, NY.  The week will be filled with classes teaching classes fiddle, percussion, guitar, songwriting, Gaelic swearing and more.  It will be a week of learning, performing, and of course…drinking.
There’s even a possibly running a CD giveaway from the band promoting the camp. I will keep you updated about this Rag and Bone Workshop.
Check out more information on the camp here
Thanks to Elliot Fox for contacting me about this info.

Weekend Edition with Music and Album Release!

In this edition: Fraser Fifield, Carmel Gunning and Calum Stewart

Fraser Fifield, EDINBURGH, Britain (UK)

The Music of Fraser Fifield

My last edition covered music from Ireland, Wales and Brittany. Our new edition unleashes another talent from Scotland by the name of Fraser Fifield. I became familiar with his work after seeing videos of Salsa Celtica. This is the same band where Kenny Fraser of Music Scotland(who was our featured artist/interview) plays the fiddle in.

The fascinating thing about his work is his love for improvisation and fusion. His bio states this interesting info: “A Piper and Low Whistle player who improvises like a jazz musician. A Soprano Sax player playing the traditional music of his native Scotland like it had always been played on that instrument.” I think one of the most haunting track in his compositions is Softly Spoken, with its hypnotic arrangements and syncopated beats. He has other gems in his soundcloud page and I am sure you will definitely buy his albums when you hear his tracks. He has other equally wonderful tracks and your way of relating or liking them will depend on how you respond to the music upon hearing each track.

I am doing a correspondence with him which will be a structure for an upcoming featured artist/interview. I embedded few tracks of my choice but I recommend for you to click Fraser Fifield’s soundcloud channel to listen to the music continuously.

For more of his music, visit the following links:


Carmel Gunning

She moves between two worlds. The fast paced playing and the delicate execution of some tracks. A native of Sligo, she came from a musical family. I think she is one of those amazing artists who contribute their efforts in making sure Irish music gets national and international

Carmel Gunning

recognition. I wonderful info I uncovered about her:  She runs The Carmel Gunning School of Music all year round in Sligo town and runs a festival annually in August. She has written 2 books on music and song and currently working on another. She has produced 5 CDs to date and is working on a singing album currently. Many of her past pupils, Liam Kelly of Dervish being the most well known, are top class in their field today.

With this kind of music and also a unique way of playing the whistle, I am sure she will conquer more ears. Let there be more albums from her then!


Calum Stewart has a new album out!

Wooden Flute & Fiddle

Calum Stewart & Lauren MacColl
with Éamon Doorley and Andy May

  1. Eoghainn Iain Alasdair
  2. The Gordons
  3. Alzen
  4. Rise Ye Lazy Fellow
  5. Stoidhle Nèill Ghobha
  6. Crow Road Croft
  7. Aileen’s
  8. Tomnahurich
  9. Boys of the ‘25
  10. A Highland Lamentation

Now available for Pre-Order worldwide. (Please be careful to select worldwide delivery if you live outside the UK) All orders will be dispatched on 15th October, one week ahead of the official release date of 22nd October.

Scottish wooden flutist Calum Stewart just released an album with Lauren McColl. It is called Wooden Flute and Fiddle. This is an album that every traditional music listeners will want in his or her collection. This is due to the huge effort that the two and the rest of the session musicians placed on this album. There are slow and fast tunes. Expect variety in instruments and grand artistry that only musicians of their caliber can provide. And even if you are not really into Scottish or Irish trad music, you will still warm up to this one for its melodic and relaxing merit. Love it love it! A track from this album was featured here:

Buy Wooden Flute and Fiddle here:


Terry Kelly, Mickey Harte and Merlins Nose Records‏

Introducing an amazing Canadian artist, A German record label, Album Review, Loreena McKennitt and Picture of the day.

“It was kind of cool to work the sound board for him, because my dad said that when he was in university Terry used to play upstairs in the student union building. Another really cool thing  is that the choir I sang in, did one of his songs a few years ago but I didn’t know who he was so I didn’t realize it until he started playing the song. He sounded so good live.”-Layne Greene

Ever wonder how I got my fresh ideas for this site? Yes, I have good friends whom I spend hours and hours discussing musical stuff. So, apart from getting direct messages from bands themselves, I also get word of the mouth from this or that who knows this or that.

After one song I warmed up to Terry Kelly right away. Fans of Dave Gunning will love his music and yes he is also Canadian! You hear different  influences in his music ranging from Bluegrass, Irish to Pop rock. In My Father’s House (the video you see above) has an amazing fiddle part and the video is also well done. His voice combines strength and tenderness. The music lifts the soul, casting your burdens aside. So, to all of you who are having a hard time, those who are trying to heal from a broken heart or a terrible situation, the music of Terry Kelly is a perfect remedy. Not too heavy on the sugar, good calorie count and full of goodness.


Record label to check out: Merlin’s Nose Records‏

Merlin's Nose records giving you ambient, pagan folk and other interesting releases

Merlin’s Nose records giving you ambient, pagan folk and other interesting releases

Those who love ambient sound with something medieval and folk then Merlin’s Nose Records have great stuff for you. The company is based in Germany and it sells records in various format. These tracks you hear are just samplers of the great things to come. Visit their site to browse through the catalog.

Music sampler:


Album Review: Mickey Harte: Forward to Reality

The music of Mickey Harte is easy to the ears and it goes down smoothly. There are enough hooks to appeal to both pop and rock listeners. His voice has the characteristics as Rod Stewart and Sting or a combination of both. The album booklet has a nice biography that will explain how this recording came into reality. It also shows black and white photos of the studio with the artist and crew during recording sessions. The album has 13 catchy pop rock songs , artfully crafted but they also made sure to retain that raw energy courtesy of sound Engineer Dave Hill.

The songs are typical adult alternative music that talks about relationships, the tragedy, redemption of love and things in between. There are folksy sensibilities in songs like Bordertown, Living in our town, Unstoppable train  and my personal favorite Broken Love. Mickey Harte has a voice possessing a wide range of expression and layers. In I like the way you think, his voice go really deep and sensual in a Chris Isaak croon.

So what about the instruments? Expect to hear Hanson guitars, alto trombone and the usual mix of keys, bass and drums. The recording and mastering took place inside 1 Bit Studio in Chicago IL. Interesting results happen when artists from the Emerald Isle let American sound engineers do the final touches. All in all Forward to Reality is one strong album that is poised to satisfy a wide range of listeners from the musical spectrum.

Album Sampler


Featured Video: Loreena McKennitt – Penelope’s Song (HQ)

“Penelope’s Song”, from the DVD Nights From The Alhambra (2007) and the album, An Ancient Muse (2006).

I love the way her voice wraps itself around you. It is a voice that moves the soul. I know there is no one else who sounds like her in the world.


Picture of the day:
Celtic Helmet, 4th Century BC, Found at Agris Charante, France. Taken from The Celtic & Prehistoric Museum

 Celtic Helmet, 4th Century BC, Found at Agris Charante, France.

Celtic Helmet, 4th Century BC, Found at Agris Charante, France.

MP3 Shuffle Edition

Dadaramdamdam! It is music shuffle time!

Oh my goodness! I remember I mentioned about featuring a free download every now and then. I have been yakking for the past few days that I have forgotten all along. This is so embarrassing. Anyway to quell your hungry ears for Celtic tunes, I am posting tracks again. This is especially for those who missed our previous edition.

“Cheers!” is our current featured band in our interview section. Please check these guys out and say hi to them.

You remember Shelta from our previous interview edition. They are from Lyon France, the food capital of the world!

Flutatious is one band I could not stop grooving to. I still have another great album from them that I will be featuring soon.

Monster Ceilidh Band: A Foray Into Electronic Folk

There is no monstrosity here. Just interesting lively music from UK based Celtic electronica band  the Monster Ceilidh Band. The website design is really cute. But wait until you listen to one of the tracks. You will be overwhelmed by how much artistry and innovation this band have placed in their compositions. Part Japanese anime music, part traditional Scottish.

They have made quite a stir in the UK being electronic and folk crossover band.  They are on tour this month and with the kind of style they have, they will draw a lot of cult following from those who are into the hip and the novel. Just take a look at that video below. I love what I am seeing and hearing!

The band are:
• Amy Thatcher – Accordion.
• Carly Blain – Fiddle.
• Kieran Szifris – Mandocello
• David de la Haye – Electric Bass
• Joe Truswell – Drums

Have a listen to the tracks here

or go to the website :