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Beyond The Pale | The Music Plays Me

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World: Celtic Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The Music Plays Me

by Beyond The Pale

Beyond The Pale crosses the borders of traditional Celtic Music into an eclectic world of Americana, European and original roots and folk music with superb vocals and dazzling instrumental prowess.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Princess Morgan/The Skipper
2:57 $0.99
2. The High Road
3:16 $0.99
3. Sligo
3:47 $0.99
4. A Sideways Glance/ Gaestebud (Feast)
3:15 $0.99
5. The Music Plays Me
3:28 $0.99
6. Who Are These People
4:55 $0.99
7. The Abbeyfeale Polkas
3:05 $0.99
8. I Go Like The Raven
3:36 $0.99
9. Matty
4:19 $0.99
10. Danny Murphy's Reel/Monagahan Twig/Old Bush
3:23 $0.99
11. Old Silver
4:51 $0.99
12. Cuckoo's Nest/Old French/Red Wing
3:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Mesmerizing"... Outside the expected---A good showcase of talent...A band with a promising future"....(.Dirty Linen Magazine)

"Superb Vocals-Strong Singers--eclectic tunes"--Hot Press, Ireland

"Skillful musicianship, strong singing, excellent song selection and an obvious love for the joy of music."--Jed Marum--The Ceili

"..Splendid-- especially strong tunes--An enjoyable recording with an warm organic sound and an affable and relaxed way with songs and tunes."--Jerome Clark, Rambles.net

"A rare treat. I wholeheartedly recommend them.'Peter Massey, Greenman Review

"This group of top shelf Celtic musicians from Texas wowed the crowd with expert playing and genuine enthusiasm for their music that was pure joy. Beyond the Pale proceeded to take the audience on a wonderful musical journey of traditional Irish and contemporary tunes that had the audience howling for more. In a nutshell they are the real deal." -John Hazelwood, Director, Pineknot Musical Coop

That's what people are saying about Beyond The Pale.

Beyond The Pale 's eclectic and diverse mix of traditional Celtic and contemporary styles and is the key to their popularity. They have developed their unique sound by blending the traditional dance tunes and folk songs of Ireland and Scotland with an array of music from America and several other places using a wide range of instruments including fiddle, flute, accordion, guitar, hammered dulcimer, tin whistle, saxophone, harmonica, concertina, bodhran and of course their voices. Their material has been honestly acquired during many all night sessions in the pubs of Ireland, Scotland and the USA. Beyond The Pale have been featured performers at some of the largest music festivals in the USA . They have shared billing and traded tunes with some of the the top celtic groups in the world including Altan, Eileen Ivers, Solas, Danu, Lunasa, Dervish, Sliabh Notes, Brother, Seven Nations and Cherish The Ladies. They give frequent concert performances throughout the country.

Beyond the Pale's recordings include their new CD, The Music Plays Me ( 2006), Queen of Skye (2004), Strange Turns (2002), Angel On The 7th Stair (1999) and Life Is All Chequered (1997). They feature a diverse blend of traditional and original tunes and songs from the Irish and Scottish to American, Canadian, French, Breton and other World traditions. Their original songs are evocative, topical, sometimes humorous and always carefully crafted to transport the listener to a rich and beautifully haunting archetypal world.

Their latest release, "The Music Plays Me" , more than lives up to Beyond The Pale's reputation for dazzlingly precise instrumental tracks and superb vocal performances. In their eclectic fashion, Beyond The Pale once again incorporates a broad palette of musical colors into a flawlessly pleasing collage of world flavors using a list of acoustic instruments as long as your arm and doing it well. With several original selections and covers of material from Tim O'Brien, Dave Carter, Trout Fishing In America and Radney Foster plus great traditional selections with Beyond The Pale's unique stamp, this CD is sure to please.

Here's some information about the tracks on "THE MUSIC PLAYS ME":

Track 1:

Princess Morgan/ The Skipper (Original music by Gordon McLeod, McLeod Nine Music, ASCAP © 2005) Princess Morgan was composed for Gordon’s daughter…The Skipper, although a fitting score for a naval movie, is actually Gordon’s dog.

Track 2:

The High Road (Tim O’Brien, Universal Music Corp) This haunting song is about the memory of a lost love and a song that the two lovers once shared together. It's yet another fine example of how "the music plays us." Thanks to our dear friend Elaine for passing this song along via a recording by a wonderful Pacific Northwest group of all-female acoustic performers, The Misty River Band. (Betsy Cummings, lead vocal)

Track 3:

Sligo (Original lyrics and music by Gordon McLeod, McLeod Nine Music, ASCAP © 2005)/ Collier’s Reel (traditional) There is something about County Sligo, Ireland…beautiful and mysterious. (Gordon McLeod, lead vocal)

Goin’ up to Sligo,
Gonna’ climb Mt. Knocknarea,
Wanna’ conjure up a double rainbow,
Like we did that day.

Sligo from your mountain looking down,
I can feel your hills and valleys, hear your sounds,
I can wonder at the stones piled on this mound,
Oh oh oh,….. Sligo

Climbing up to Carrowkeel,
Gonna’ slip under a stone,
Let the sunrise on the equinox,
Set fire to our bones.

Sun storm on the ocean, blowin’ up the spray,
Ten thousand years of mystery splashes on our face,
Splashes on our face…

Goin’ up to Sligo,
Gonna’ climb up on Maeve’s mound,
Hear the crashing of the ocean,
Feel the power of that sound.

Track 4:

A Sideways Glance/ Gaestebud (The Feast);
These are two fantastic tunes by European composers…the energy of these tunes speak for themselves.
Sideways Glance (Original music by Paul James, © 1986 used by permission, www.blowzabella.com ) Gaestebud (The Feast) (Original Danish folk music by Morten Hoirup, used by permission, www.hhduo.dk , KODA/Composers of Denmark)

Track 5:

The Music Plays Me (Original lyrics and music by Christy McLeod, McLeod Nine Music, ASCAP © 2005) Dedicated to two of the best Irish musicians we know…whose love of sharing a tune and a pitcher of beer inspired a great conversation…P & T…here’s to you! (Christy McLeod, lead vocal)

I met a man who travelled around
Playin’ his music from town to town
Didn’t know where it came from…he didn’t learn the parts
The music’s just there…it comes from the heart

The world’s just a dot, he said, spinning in air
And sometimes it feels like nobody cares
And sometimes it feels like they’ll eat you alive
Yet through it all, the music survives.

Chorus: He said, it’s not about talent or art
I don’t play music...I play my heart
It all comes so natural…the music comes free
I don’t play the music, the music plays me
I don’t play the music, the music plays me

I met a man who sang me his song
Of joys and of sorrows his whole life long
Sometimes was for money, sometimes he sang free
He said the words of the music are the spirit in me.

Singing songs about lovin’ and leavin’ the land
Of people and places and things that were grand
The songs have a power....the spirit ascends
This gift of the music is there without end

Keep the faith...hold your head up high
You may feel earthbound…keep your eye on the sky
Everything matters… no matter how small
When you give it voice…you give voice to us all

Track 6:

Who Are These People? (Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet, Troutoons Publishing © 1994) The song simply reports on a celebrity obsessed world and exposes the emperor's new clothes. “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.” ~ Albert Einstein~. This song comes to us from the great folk duo Trout Fishing In America.

Track 7:

The Abbeyfeale Polkas
Traditional Sliabh Luachra tunes…learned at an incredible session at Murphy’s Pub in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick, Ireland, in 2004, from our friends in the band, Sliabh Notes, (Matt Cranitch, Donal Murphy and Tommy O’Sullivan)…too bad we can’t play them as fast as we did that July night!

Track 8:

I Go Like The Raven (Dave Carter/ ©Dave Carter Music ( BMI), admin, by Tracy Grammer Music (BMI) This song is about the strength and wildness of the female spirit…another great suggestion from our pal, Elaine Christian. (Christy McLeod, lead vocal)

Track 9:

Matty (Johnny Mulhern, Bal Music)/The Boys of Malin (traditional)
This song is truly a masterpiece from a great Irish songwriter. It tells the story of an everyday poet who is just a bit too sensitive for this world. We’ve all got a “dark familiar”…Matty made friends with his. (Gordon McLeod, lead vocal)

Track 10:

Danny Murphy’s Reel (Original music by Gordon McLeod, McLeod Nine Music, ASCAP ©2005)/The Monaghan Twig (traditional)/ The Old Bush (traditional)

Gordon wrote the first of these reels for his young friend Danny Murphy, son of Donal and Mary Murphy. Donal is the magnificent box player from Abbeyfeale who plays with "Sliabh Notes" and "Four Men And A Dog". Danny is a budding baseball star in Ireland ( where that's a rare thing!) and a wonderul spirit. His sister, Melanie is a fine young fiddle and whistle player and their younger brother Eoin is a fine young guitarist with rock star genes!

Track 11:

Old Silver (Radney Foster, © 1992 BMG Songs, Inc./Muckleroy Music, ASCAP) Years ago, Betsy fell in love with this Radney Foster composition about the life and love of a gambler as told from the perspective of his "sidekick" friend. The imagery in the lyrics tells a fine tale full of interesting characters-- through poignant and humorous themes. (Betsy Cummings, lead vocal)

Track 12:

Cuckoo’s Nest/Old French/Red Wing (traditional) Red Wing adaptation by Gordon McLeod, © 2006

A grand finale if there ever was one. Beyond the Pale transforms the union label song into a "klezmerized" sax- tinged polka!


Gordon McLeod: Fiddle, mandolin, octave mandolin, guitar, bass, clarinet, harmonica, bodhran, percussion, vocals
Christy McLeod: Guitar, bodhran, percussion, vocals
Betsy Cummings: Accordion, bodhran, vocals
John Delaney: Hammered Dulcimer, flute, whistles, concertina, C-Melody Saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals

Guest musician: Dirje Smith: cello, background vocals

String arrangement on "Who are these People" by Gordon McLeod, performed by Gordon McLeod and Dirje Smith a.k.a. "The Amazing Stringtet".

Special thanks to all of our family and friends who help keep the music playing in us all; Betsy’s husband Shawn Capehart; The Southwest Celtic Music Association for years of support; Dirje Smith for her excellent cello work on several of these selections, to Matt Cranitch, Donal Murphy and Tommy O' Sullivan of Sliabh Notes, and Paddy Keenan for the polkas and inspiration, Bob and Denise Gentry for their ears and advice.

Produced by Gordon McLeod © 2006
All musical selections used by permission of the composers and/or publishers: traditional selections noted.
All arrangements by Beyond The Pale or as specifically noted.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Gordon McLeod at Mockingbird Lane Studio, Tyler, Texas.
Cover art design by Christy McLeod; graphics by Stuart Fleming.
Band concert photographs by Steve Farmer (www.ceili-album.com )

For more information and bookings: www.beyond-the-pale.com or emails us at beyondthepale@tyler.net



to write a review

Christina Nickels

The best CD I ever borrowed!!
I borrowed this CD from a friend of mine and fell in love with the music. So much in fact, that I had to buy it for myself!! This music really moves me and is the best remedy I have found for a bad day!!

Jerome Clark

An enjoyable recording, with a warm, organic sound---splendid!
This is the Texas Beyond The Pale, and [their latest CD] The Music Plays Me is an enjoyable recording, with a warm, organic sound and an affable, relaxed way with songs and tunes. The traditionals -- mostly, not exclusively, instrumentals here -- are especially strong. The multi-instrumentalist Gordon McLeod, also the producer, is a splendid fiddler though he is, as well, perfectly capable on mandolin, whistle, bodhran and other instruments. McLeod also sings, as does everybody else: Christy McLeod (guitar and percussion), Betsy Cummings (accordion, bodhran) and John Delaney (flute, hammered dulcimer, saxophones, whistles, concertina).
BTP has a keen ear for out-of-the-ordinary material. Most of it will be fresh even to informed folk fans. And when it's something familiar, such as "Red Wing," it's done in an innovative arrangement. In fact, the medley of which that tune is a part (the other parts are "Cuckoo's Nest" and "Old French"), the 12th and last cut, is to my hearing the best of them all. Which is not to say anything on this amiable outing is ever less than satisfying and pleasurable.
Though all the material is played in Celtic style, some of the songs are from well outside the tradition. The most unusual of these is Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet's odd and lovably cranky "Who Are These People," an exasperated (albeit tuneful) rant -- I am confident the only song ever devoted to the subject -- set off by the stupefyingly unrealistic depiction of human beings in popular fiction, movies and television shows. Well, somebody had to put those sentiments to music. And about time, I say.

Jed Marum writing for "The Ceili"

Skillful musicianship, strong singing, excellent song selection and an obvious l
The Music Plays Me
CD Review written by Jed Marum

THE MUSIC PLAYS ME is the newest album released by Beyond The Pale (BTP). The CD has 12 tracks for a total run time of 44 minutes, 35 seconds. It was produced and engineered by band member, Gordon McLeod at Mockingbird Studio in Tyler, Texas. In addition to Gordon, BTP band members include Christy McLeod, Betsy Cummings and John Delaney. Dirje Smith appears on several tracks as a guest performer.

Playing melody throughout the album, you will hear mostly Irish Traditional instrumentation; whistle, flute, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, accordion and concertina. You will also hear traditional style rhythm instruments; guitar, octave mandolin (not infrequently used in lieu of bouzouki in Celtic trad music), and bodhran – but there are some pleasant surprises as well along the way, including saxophone, harmonica and cello.

THE MUSIC PLAYS ME has a good mix, a well balanced selection of songs and tunes that deliver bounce and humor – dance and melody. Its variety of instruments, interesting song and tune selection, and its variety of musical styles give the CD depth. THE MUSIC PLAYS ME is rich in texture.

The track list starts well with a couple of fine tunes composed by Gordon, arranged and played ceili style with Irish flute, whistle, bodhran, fiddle and guitar. The tunes set the tone for the musical styles and textures you will hear throughout the album. Track two stands out as the album’s finest. Betsy sings a trad sounding Tim O’Brien song called High Road while the group provides a grand, “sweep you off your feet” melodic dance between each verse. Betsy delivers the song with the warm intimacy of a friend telling you a sunshine story, her vocal touched nicely with a tasteful harmony by Christy. The powerful, dancing fiddle/accordion lines in between verses trade licks throughout. It’s a track you wish would never end. It really captures this group’s strengths all at once; skillful musicianship, strong singing, excellent song selection and an obvious love for the joy of music. I challenge you to listen to this song without at least part of you getting up and dancing!

At its roots, THE MUSIC PLAYS ME fits the Irish Trad genre, but the album explores new sounds, new scales and rhythms, as well. One of those new explorations is a track that combines two modern European tunes, Sideways Glance and Gaestebud. Played primarily on trad instrumentation, the group adds saxophone and a touch of electric bass. This track has a strong Celtic Gypsy feel. The tunes evolve and combine nicely to make a noteworthy piece.

Another nice variant from the trad genre is a superb song written by Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet (a.k.a. TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA). The song, Who Are These People is a thoughtful look at the ‘drive by media,’ sound bite world where we sometimes live -- a world where the TV/Hollywood image of life never quite fits with who we really are. It is a strong song sung well and convincingly by John Delaney. The arrangement feels uncomplicated and elegant. It builds on the song’s simple melody and verse, adding layers of strings, harmonic vocals and percussion. John’s saxophone lines flesh out the arrangement with a sort of “icing on the cake” touch.

In addition to the first track’s original tunes, the album’s track list includes two strong original songs, one each by Gordon and Christy McLeod. Gordon’s Sligo – paints a romantic series of images seamlessly mixed with a driving traditional reel in Celtic almost Bluegrass flavor. Christy’s original, The Music Plays Me ties the album’s themes together against a mix of instrumental and vocal harmonies - reflecting the joys of music and its connection with the human spirit. Both songs are celebrations of life, and love for the music we make along the way.

There are more highlights. Another nice “aside of the genre” track is one titled Old Silver. It is a great Americana/roots style song, nicely sung, with harmonies. It is simply and well accompanied in Celtic flavor. The Abbeyfeale Polkas are “session” style tunes. The set is traditional sounding but with the surprise addition of saxophone on the melody. It is a great addition to the album. A set of traditional tunes end the album with a joyous dance - ending almost the way it began; celebrating life and reminding each listener that “the music plays me.”