Having seen Brian when he recently backed Cara Dillon at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh, (For the first time since his childhood when he was my neighbour in the 1970s), I was bowled over by his musicianship. (I did get to meet with him for a brief chat after that concert). I had realized that he was involved in the traditional music scene as I had over the years heard his name crop up as a session musician for artists such as Cara Dillon, but did not know just how good he is. Out of curiosity I did a search on Amazon to see if he had any material out there and he most certainly does, both as a solo artist and with his former band Flook. He now has a new group he is touring with called KAN.
I decided to take a gamble on this his latest solo release, and it did not disappoint. The quality of the musicianship throughout is simply superb as is the overall production of the album. The stand out tracks invariably are those Brian has composed himself and these include TRACK 3 Marga's Moment/The Crooked Reel; TRACK 5 Last of The Starrs; TRACK 7 Forest Baby/Morna/Castlrock Road; TRACK 8 If Only a Little; and TRACK 9 The 40 Year Waltz/Night Ride To Armagh which for me is the crowning glory of this album. This is not to take away from the remaining four tracks which are superbly executed and delivered.
The liner notes include a poem simply entitled Tomas written by Brian's sister Morna, and knowing the family I can only presume this is dedicated to their late uncle Tomas Finnegan.
The overall feel of the album is not so much traditional (There is a strong traditional influence as would be expected here as this is Brian's background), but it is a folk / traditional blend that will appeal to fans of both genres. This is a wonderfully relaxing listen and highly recommended. You do not need to be a fan of Irish traditional music to appreciate and thoroughly enjoy Brian's work. I for one will be seeking out his earlier albums both solo and with Flook.
I very much enjoy listening to Celtic music whist working as it provides a nice atmosphere but is not distracting. I heard one song off this album (Belfast) on Spotify, and immediately loved it, so I decided to buy the whole album in the hopes that the rest of the songs would be as good as that one. I can tell you that I was not disappointed - this is probably the best album I have acquired since Loreena McKennitt's An Ancient Muse (if you like her stuff, then you will definitely enjoy this). I have been listening to it non-stop the past couple of days preparing for professional practice exams.
The flute playing is excellent and very light-hearted. Fly is my favourite, followed closely by Belfast. It is not traditional Celtic necessarily, but it is very good all the same. Am very much looking forward to his next album :)
I confess I'd never heard of Brian Finegan and then I went to a Cara Dillon gig at South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell in which Brian was playing as part of the band. I saw his CD was on sale during the interval but took no notice because up to then only the supporting acts had played. People were buying Cara Dillon CDs but I didn't see anyone buying Brian's CD.
Then Cara and band appeared on stage and I soon realised that this Mr Finegan was something special in his own right. After a fantastic performance I headed out and decided to by Brian's CD, and it was obvious I wasn't the only member of the audience to be drawn by his amazing playing.
I started listening as soon as I got in my car and was blown away by the music. Since then (over a week now!) I've played little else and the more I hear the more I love it. The sheer technical brilliance of Finegan's playing and the quality of the accompanying musicians make this album really special.
Brian's hauntingly beautiful whistle playing sends a shiver down the spine and leaves you crying out for more. I'm really looking forward to the next Brian Finegan album now although this one has set an impossibly high standard to beat!
The consummate whistle blower does it again. If you want to have more of Brian's playing in the post Flook world, you will surely want this album. It contains a great mix of tunes with great accompaniment. Brian's playing is second to none.
The album is lovely, and has all the brilliant whistle and flute playing from Brian that you'd expect. Add to this a wide range of equally brilliant musicians, and a broader selection of instruments than the (much missed) Flook days - and some beautifully worked out arrangements, and this is my album of the year for 2010 (and I've met some other very good ones too this year).