The debut solo album from this Missouri-based artist marks a departure from his four albums as leader of ‘Grace Basement’, although this soft-rock band remains an ongoing project.
Nine of the twelve tracks are instrumentals with Buckley out to prove that he hasn’t forgotten the fiddle lessons he started at the age of 9.
Ireland is the dominant influence to his playing style although the French-flavoured swing of Marcelle Et Marcel and the Spanish waltz of La Rubia lead us away from the Emerald Isle. Meanwhile, City of Savannah and The Belles of St. Louis bow to Buckley’s Stateside roots.
The Celtic connections are highlighted through original arrangements of traditional folk tunes. The album opens and closes with Irish reels : Sweeney’s Wheel written by Jackie Daly and Ships Are Sailing, a traditional tune wherein Buckley is joined by fellow fiddlers Eimear Arkins and Ian Walsh.
The only self-penned instrumental piece is Ryder’s Block. The other two songs The Blackest Crow and Miss Bailey are love songs of troubled hearts and tragic consequences.
Ironically, the best track is the only one not to feature the fiddle. Buckley sings and plays bouzouki on Never Tire of the Road a luminous cover of Andy Irvine’s tribute to Woody Guthrie.
It makes one think that more vocal tunes in this mould would have given the album greater variety and interest.
Kevin Buckley’s website