Loreena McKennitt's ninth studio sees her cover traditional Irish folk songs, bar one of the songs which she wrote herself. Although there is not that much originality in the way that she has chosen to arrange the songs, they work very well as an ensemble, providing the listener with an interesting variety of musical instruments to hear, possibly for the first time. Her voice is as angelic and pure as usual and the songs she has chosen suit her well.
Most of the songs have their own special little something. "On A Bright May Morning" is probably the best track on this album, being a very intimate ballad with a beautiful harp arrangement and lovely vocals. "Down By The Sally Gardens" has a celebratory feel to it with emotive uilleann pipes. The title track "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" has a mournful quality to it together with a haunting peacefulness in its sheer simplicity. The same goes for the final track "The Parting Glass". However, not every song is that inspiring as "The Death Of Queen Jane" is a little dull.
I do tend to prefer when artists release their own music and creations, but the collection of songs on "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" is a very decent effort merely for the fact that Loreena McKennitt does Irish music so well. For that reason, it is worth the purchase and deserves 4 stars.