Back in 1984, when Colcannon was formed, the notion that a Celtic group of such high quality could emerge from a part of the world so geographically and culturally distant from the Emerald Isle was legitimately surprising. Today the outfit's continuing vitality is just as unexpected, but for different reasons. Because the typical band ages in dog years, combos are often rickety and brittle by the time they near their second decade of life. In contrast, Colcannon is as strong and stout as a healthy teenager -- the kind who walks on two legs, not four.
On the surface, Trad., Colcannon's sixth long-player, looks like a return to the act's roots, since the material consists entirely of Irish standards from epochs past. That's a bit misleading, though. After all, singer Mick Bolger and his cohorts have always infused their music with authenticity, and the current offering is no exception. On tracks such as "Ril Ui Raghaille (Reilly's Reel)/The Bucks of Oranmore," the playing of multi-instrumentalist Brian Mullins, flutist Rod Garnett, fiddler Jean Bolger and double-bassist Mike Fitzmaurice is as sprightly as it is deeply felt. Despite its optimistic-sounding title, "The May Morning Dew" is considerably darker, with poignant vocals that are as mighty as a spring storm.
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The pristine sound lavished on these and other tracks results in yet another satisfying effort from one of Colorado's sturdiest and most reliable bands. Which isn't surprising in the least. (See www.colcannon.org.)