GUNSMOKE, WHISKY & HEATHER
Oh my goodness, talk about a musical gem coming out of the heart of Alberta. Cowboy Celtic are just plain fantastic.
This CD is worth seeking out just for the song Magdalena and the Jack of Spades, a song with beautiful instrumentation including flute and harp, and made all the more compelling by the lead vocals of Denise Withnell, and the tight harmonies when Keri Zwicker chimes in. This is about a 12 on a scale of 1-to-10.
Truthfully this CD is full of memorable songs as it weaves elements of Celtic and country together. There are places here you will think of Ian Tyson, Gary Fjellgard or Valdy, and others where bands such as Scatter the Mud, or Orealis come to mind, which is a testament to the diversity of the music. Yet Celtic Cowboy holds it together so well, it seems as though the two seemingly diverse genres were made to be twisted together.
The instrumentation is diverse (I love the pipes on The Fair Maid of Bara), and vocally Cowboy Celtic is as smooth as a lake on a calm day.
This might not be something for everyone, since the music has something of an 'old tyme' sound, but at the same time this is the kind of music which deserves a much broader audience than it is probably getting. There are a number of cuts which really should be on country radio.
Live, I can only imagine how wonderful Cowboy Celtic must be. They would be amazing in a soft seat venue such as the Anne Portnuff Theatre in Yorkton. This is a band which begs to be part of the Arts Council's Stars for Saskatchewan series.
I can only say this is about as good as it gets. Find it. Love it.
Check them out at www.cowboyceltic.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Feb. 20, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada