|Dimensions||14 × 12.5 × 1 cm|
Compared to other music genres, the folk music scene is noticeably different in one respect. Look through the catalogue of performers at any folk festival and you will find an unusually large percentage of, shall we say, “senior” statesmen and stateswomen of the genre. Check out the audiences and there will be baby boomers everywhere you look. Makes sense, after all, retirees have the time and money to attend the festivals, and the older performers share a common list of favourite old folksongs with this audience.
A New Day, by Kate Maclurcan with Tim Connellan, is a CD that shows why this is a good thing. Kate released the CD on her 60th birthday, and includes her favourite music. The advantage to being 60 when you make a CD, is that you have accumulated a rich vein of golden memories to choose from and Kate Maclurcan has, in the view of this similarly-aged reviewer, chosen very well. There are hits from past festivals and folk concerts. There are also songs from Buffy Sainte-Marie, John Prine, Iris De Mente, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson, Eric Bogle and Pat Drummond, some traditional songs, some of her own compositions and even the 1784 classic, Plaisir D’amour
Any folk fan is likely to find a favourite or two in the listed songs on this CD. They are reproduced faithfully and accurately. Arrangements are simple and clear, letting the lyrics and melody shine through. They are nicely played and Kate’s rich, low voice is smooth and pleasant. But I felt that some of these lovely songs required more than one voice to do them justice. The album is a true picture of what you might expect from live performance, even so, I found myself occasionally wishing that Kate could have double-tracked with the odd harmony.
When harmony was used, as in Plaisir D’amour, and Buffy Sainte-Marie’s I’m Gonna be a Country Girl Again, it added another dimension, making the song stand out. The title song, for example, is one of Kate’s own compositions, the first she ever wrote, she says (songwriters try to curb your envy). It has a very singalongable chorus, intelligent lyrics and a simple, moving message. But I felt harmonies would have lifted the chorus, giving it the prominence it deserved.
Aside from the work of Kate and Tim, The banjo from Peter Somerville, was subtle and clever, Ewan Baker’s mandolin in Our Town added a welcome lift. Neil Diamond’s The Boat that I Row, was bouncy with a lovely snatch of duet from mandolin and an uncredited whistler.
I enjoyed this CD and I’m sure others will too. It is well worth buying.
4 in stock