The Roving Crows and ‘Bacchanalia’(March 14, 2012)
Add the cultural depth pumping through Irish traditional music, stir in unrestrained influences from Eastern Europe to the Deep South; it’s jazz, country, blues and just about anything else that fits into the melange, and before the mix brews throw in some brass. Then hand the concoction to The Roving Crows and you have their new album ‘Bacchanalia’. And no doubt about it - this one is going to tax the classification police beyond their wildest nightmares. And do you know what? No one will care – this is simply ‘folk from the leading edge of fusion’, mixing in what’s needed from wherever they find it to create a driving, energetic, incisive amalgam.
You're right in there from the opening track - ‘Long Time Dead’ delivers a foot stomping bash with the added gloss of Gregory Wilson-Copp’s trumpet grabbing immediate attention - this different with a capital ‘D’ and if folk is heading this way then jump on board or you may get trampled in the rush. A couple of tracks nod to tradition with ‘White Petticoat’ and ‘President Garfield’s Night Out’ both exhibiting Caitlin Barrett’s outstanding fiddle and some accurate trumpet additions. Some of the more reactionary ‘trads’ will hate it – we loved it. Other than the ‘Trad Arr’ tracks all the other songs emanate from the dazzling if somewhat irreverent pen of guitarist Paul O’Neil.
There’s enough jump and bounce here to faze a kangaroo. ‘Dirty Habits’ which must be the ‘live’ favourite, needs no explanation while ‘Days in The Sun’ and ‘More Than One’ just ache to break free before they finally set off. It’s not all bounce - thoughtful and emotive get an outing too, listen to ‘Love is The Finest Thing’, the deeply thoughtful ‘Time’ and ‘Roll On Tomorrow’. And of course there’s the captivating ‘Brother’, which gives Caitlin a chance to take the lead vocal; again the trumpet cuts just the right edge of melancholy to the piercingly sharp lyrics.
The Roving Crows are: Paul O’Neil (guitar, vocals) Caitlin Barrett (fiddle, vocals) Tim Tolhurst (percussion) Gregory Wilson-Copp (trumpet). ‘Bacchanalia’ should set them on the ‘rise to renown’ with the recognition recently enjoyed by some other folk-fusion bands – keep an ear open for radio station ‘favourites’ and watch out for folk awards.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll