CD stands for terrific Clancy, Dolan
Traditional Music / By Daniel Neely
Around this time last year, I wrote about Rose Clancy and her Chatham Fiddle Company, which is the base of operations for Clancy’s fiddle building and repair business, her teaching and the home for her concert series that has become a stalwart for traditional music on Cape Cod.
This week, however, I’m writing about her because she has released a terrific new album of fiddle music with pianist Brendan Dolan, called “Fiddle • Piano • Bass.” It’s a lovely CD that has something to offer lovers of Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and Cape Cod music and one everyone will want add to their collection. This album in many ways is a long time in the coming. Not only is Clancy a very talented musician, but she and Dolan have been great friends from childhood and have been playing together for decades. The music throughout this album suggests a great understanding in the way the two articulate musically. It is a strong reason why “Fiddle • Piano •Bass” works so well overall. Another is the album’s stylistic variety. Sure, Clancy grew up in Irish music (some readers will remember Clancy’s father’s Eugene, from County Armagh, as a member of the group “The Irish Ramblers,” which toured the United States in the 1960s and recorded an album called “The Patriot Game” for Elektra in 1963), but one of the great things here is how she explores a wider variety of Celtic styles. For example, the album starts with “Johnny Muise’s / …” a great set of Cape Breton reels which sets a great, energetic tone. Cape Breton’s effect on Clancy is also evident on the track “Far From Home / …” which includes tunes she encountered on a trip up there. Then there is “Neil Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Second Wife,” one of the album’s loveliest tracks, which
is a great bit of Scottish music that Clancy has given a lovely airing to. Her sensitive interpretation is complemented by Dolan’s piano, and it includes some fine cello played by Jon Evans. This track is also noteworthy because it highlights the powerful tone she pulls from her fiddle. Part of this is of course due to her strength as a player, but make no mistake, the sound of the instrument itself – surely, one of Clancy’s own making – is striking. The album is, of course, filled with great Irish music as well. For example, the jig set “Boys of Lough Gowna / …” is a spirited track learned from and played in memory of the great Felix Dolan, while “Little Fair Canavans / …,” a brilliant group of slip jigs, puts Clancy in duet with Dolan on the flute. Although widely known as a pianist, relatively few are aware of Dolan’s flute playing, which has wonderful purity in tone and great lift in phrasing.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Fiddle • Piano • Bass.” It is a very satisfying CD and one I recommend to anyone who likes lovely, energetic music played without pretension. It’s one to get for sure!
You can visit Clancy online at roseclancyfiddler.com, but to learn more about the Chatham Fiddle Company’s concerts, Clancy’s instruments and to buy this CD, visit www.chathamfiddlecompany.com.