Loreena McKennitt has found a great groove with eir latest album, Troubadours on the Rhine. I believe that this title does tons for expanding the celtic genre, and does so in a way that will appease fans and newbies alike. This is largely due to McKennitt’s inimitable vocals, but the supporting instrumentation that is present deserves ink. I believe that the arrangements on a track like The Wind That Shakes The Barley do a tremendous job interacting with McKennitt’s vocals, highlighting them when they are strong and bolstering them when they need to be pushed to that next level.
Down By The Sally Gardens is a track that allows McKennitt the ability to use eir voice as an instrument, which works with the rest of the band to create an utterly expansive and impressive effort. McKennitt breaks free of the general convention of album design; the tracks after the half-way mark are just as strong as those that are encountered on the first half. Troubadours on the Rhine ends with The Parting Glass; I feel that this track allows McKennitt to gradually spin down the disc, until listeners are just left with a sated feeling. With the earlier track The Bonny Swans presenting fans with a cheerful demeanor, McKennitt can claim that ey has another perfect album on eir hands.
Make sure to hit up McKennitt’s website for more information about any tour dates or newer tracks that ey may be releasing. I have not been lucky enough to attend on of eir concerts, but if ey operates at a fraction of the quality that is present here, the night would be perfect.
Top Tracks: Down By The Sally Gardens, The Wind That Shakes The Barley
Loreena McKennitt – Troubadours on the Rhine (CD) / 2012 Quinlan Road / 9 Tracks / http://www.quinlanroad.com/