- 16 Apr 19
Folk heroes reinvigorate classic tunes.
Dervish show no signs of slowing down on this, their 14th album. Now on a new label, for this fascinating dive into Ireland’s treasure chest of folk standards, they’ve brought aboard a remarkable array of luminaries.
Of course, many of these tunes have been subjected to untold abuse by ballad groups and drunken uncles at weddings. Here, though, Imelda May – to pick just one example – brings a refreshing respect to a song as familiar as ‘Molly Malone’. Her superb performance is equalled by the ever-delightful Cathy Jordan’s takes on ‘The Rambling Irishman’ and the exquisite ‘Donal Og’. Steve Earle utilises Luke Kelly-like robustness on ‘The Galway Shawl’, though ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ – featuring the Nashville-based Steel Drivers – is comparatively mundane.
Andrea Corr, however, takes a winningly understated approach on ‘She Moved Through The Fair’, which nicely contrasts with Brendan Gleeson’s raucous take on ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’. Still, none of these stars shine as bright as the band themselves, who really sparkle on these 13 songs. Dervish will be touring this album soon, but if you need an urgent injection of nourishment for your mind, body and spirit, treat yourself to this invigorating excavation of The Great Irish Songbook.