I want to appreciate world music, (whatever that is I didn’t coin the phrase) but sometimes it’s hard for me being a white guy from a small Wisconsin town. But then when I use half my brain I can understand that world music is really just a way of focusing in on a style of music that at its heart is dripping with nostalgia for the old days.
But these days there are bands such as the Boston based sextet Night Tree that take this longing for sound of the old traditional ways of Irish folk and suffuse it with a bit of lively jazz at times and even a little klezmer. Oh and a whole lot of heart. And it’s nice to hear this style of music not surrounded by a bunch of loutish drunks, which for better or worse is normally how I have heard it or rather recollected I’ve heard it.
But enough introductions let’s get down to the business portion. Night Tree opens Night Tree with the slow boiling roll of the Irish balladry on “Night Trees/Viva Galicia” which envelopes with the slowness of the pouring over the moors in the early morning but then quickly turns into a fully formed fugue of fiddle and fife, accordions and gut busting percussion that later brings in a wicked soprano saxophone to throw the whole thing off wild kilter. Next we are treated to a more instrumental and traditional Irish folk song on “A Wish on the Wind.”
Later on the mellow “Wheel in the Forest” gave me a Rachel’s vibe which I really liked as it slightly diverged from the traditional Irish folk into a more instrumental and experimental guild of melody and all out togetherness with a jam band feel that wasn’t going off the rails, but rather staying within the lines. Next up “FoWrist” shows the band’s willingness to expand beyond the genre of Riverdance with a bit of well placed percussion and keeping a happy style with the upbeat accordion.The closing piece “Survivor's Nign” opens slow and quiet but then builds into a Celtic cry.
Night Tree is very much a record of time and place. But it is also a record of super talented musicians who have formed up to elaborate this time and place. As St. Patrick’s Day fodder as it may sound to the average schmo, Night Tree is a record for music lovers year round, not just those who are Irish once a year.
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