Daithi Sproule’s The Crow In The Sun

cover art for The Crow In The SunIf the sound of an acoustic guitar beautifully played turns you on, then this is the album for you. Daithi Sproule is a superb artist and has a style of playing that would leave other lesser guitarists (including me) in awe. On this album, Daithi explains, “I have spent most of my musical life playing accompaniment to songs, jigs and reel in Ireland. But from the very beginning of playing the guitar I have composed occasional melodies, usually in the quiet of the evening. These tunes, often associated with particular people or places, say something I can’t express in words.”

All the compositions on the album, except for “Johnny Seoighe” (trad) and “Young Catherine” (Turlough O’Carolan) are written by Sproule. There are 12 tracks in total. Daithi plays them all in a finger-picking style with no other instrumental accompaniment. From a guitarist’s standpoint, each piece is executed with precision I simply can’t fault. I must comment and hand a bouquet to John Wright, recording engineer at New Folk Records for producing such a good quality recording. It is simply superb.

If you are familiar with the harp tunes “Johnny Seoighe” or “Young Catherine” this should give you an idea of what to expect from the Sproule compositions on the album. The title tune “The Crow in the Sun” has a vaguely Scottish feel to it. The melody came to Daithi whilst on an airplane to Mexico, contemplating the idea of a personal crest. (I have to say that would be the last thing I would have on my mind whilst flying Mexico airlines!) Daithi has recorded this piece before with Liz Carroll on her Lost in the Loop album.

It occurred to me that the general listening public might find this recording a little self-indulgent. Some of the tunes do sound a little similar, as you would expect from a solo artist tune writer. In terms of overall commercial appeal, perhaps it’s a little too good. However, if you are a guitarist or just looking for some really pleasant background music, this might be right up your alley.

(New Folk, 2007)

Peter Massey

Born in 1945, Peter Massey, Senior Writer, is now living in the city of Chester, England with his wife Sandra. Now medically retired he worked for 35 years in the shoe business. He has been a semi-professional musician and singer performing mainly traditional / contemporary folk songs for over 38 years as part of the duo (and sometimes trio) 'The Marrowbones'. His musical interest started at the age of 14 with Rock 'n' Roll and by the time his seventeenth birthday came along he was already playing rock 'n' roll and R&B in and around the local dance venues and clubs such as the Cavern in Liverpool. Thankfully he was saved from the evils of rock 'n' roll when he discovered real music and folk clubs. His collection of recordings houses over 3500 folk songs alone. Other interests and hobbies include Computers and Amateur Radio (he has a class A G4 call sign) His latest project is 'The Little Room Studio' dedicated to making 'live' recordings of folk artists and producing their work on to CD using a portable digital recording studio. To date he has written and composed over 12 folk songs and co-wrote with Gordon Morris another 10 that have been recorded on CD. The song writing has continued and they have another 10 songs in the pipeline not yet recorded to CD. Favourite music / bands at the moment are Steeleye Span, The Battlefield Band, Little Johnny England and Fairport Convention, (in that order), and much admires the work of Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Roy Bailey, Vin Garbutt, and Bob Fox, to name but a few! You can visit the crummy Web site here and read about The Marrowbones and how to get your free songbook.

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