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Changing Trains *
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Performer Notes
  • Mozaik: Bruce Molsky (vocals, guitar, banjo, fiddle); Dnal Lunny (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, bodhran); Andy Irvine (vocals, bouzouki, mandola, harmonica); Rens van der Zalm (guitar, mandolin, oud, fiddle, whistle); Nikola Parov (guitar, gadulka, gaita, kaval, whistle, percussion).
  • Additional personnel: Liam O'Flynn (whistle, Uilleann pipe).
  • This thoroughly charming album is something of a supergroup project including Irish musicians Dnal Lunny and Andy Irvine, American multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky, Dutch guitarist Rens van der Zalm, and Hungarian multi-instrumentalist Nikola Parov. Each brings songs and styles from his own tradition, resulting in a nice assortment of tunes. The program opens with "O'Donoghue's," which is something of an overlong and overly specific celebration of the denizens of an institution with which few listeners will be familiar, and a song that therefore gets a bit tiresome long before the 11th (count 'em) verse. But Andy Irvine's voice does draw you in nicely, and the band earns extra points for slyly incorporating the Irish fiddle tune "Maid Behind the Bar" about halfway through. When the band then segues briskly into the American old-time tunes "Sail Away Ladies" and "Walking in the Parlor," it's a nice effect, one that gets repeated several times over the course of the album. Sometimes different traditions are blended into a single track rather than alternated, such as on "Reuben's Transatlantic Express," a fusion of "Reuben's Train" and an old Romanian dance tune that bears startling similarity to it. Not all of these blendings work equally well -- the pairing of an Irish slip jig and a Hungarian daichevo horo feels a bit forced on "The Humours of Parov" -- but all of them are interesting and the great majority are delightful. The album's highlight, however, is perhaps its most straightforward track: the simple and sad "Train on the Island," which the band plays (and Molsky sings) with heartbreaking straightforwardness. Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson
Professional Reviews
Dirty Linen (pp.40-41) - "[A] perfect East-meets-West piece of art....This is a finely crafted project, with subtleties and nuances..."
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