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Floating Crowbar | The Torn Jacket

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World: Celtic Folk: Irish Traditional Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The Torn Jacket

by Floating Crowbar

The second CD from the band, this recording conveys some of the joy, reverence, irreverence, fun, and sense of common purpose we feel when we play together and which was shared by the musicians we met and whose company we enjoyed in Ireland. Sláinte!
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Reels: Maudebawn Chapel / The Galway Rambler / Maude Miller / Molloy's / The Ivy Leaf
5:35 $0.99
2. Song, Jigs: Na Ceannabháin Bhána / The Black Rogue / Seanamhach Tube Station
4:47 $0.99
3. March: Lord Mayo
3:25 $0.99
4. Reels: Teampall an Ghleanntáin / The Holly Bush / The Limestone Rock
3:40 $0.99
5. Jigs: Tom Billy's / The Mooncoin / The Donegal Lasses
4:53 $0.99
6. Song: Óró Sé Do Bheatha Abhaile
3:15 $0.99
7. Polkas: Ballydesmond Polkas 1 & 2 / Jessica's Polka
3:40 $0.99
8. Song, Reels: When a Man’s in Love/ Tuttle’s/Sgt. Early's Dream / The Tempest
7:48 $0.99
9. Jigs: Palm Sunday / The Cúil Aodha
4:03 $0.99
10. Song: Smuggling the Tin
3:03 $0.99
11. Reels: The Harvest Moon / The Beauty Spot / The Bank of Ireland
5:24 $0.99
12. Air, Song: Niel Gow's Lament for the Death of His Second Wife / Wild Mountain Thyme
5:38 $0.99
13. Jig: The Gold Ring
3:42 $0.99
14. Reels: The Torn Jacket / The Virginia
4:04 $0.99
15. Song: Raglan Road
3:28 $0.99
16. Reels: Sporting Paddy / The Crooked Road / The Old Bush
4:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Praise for "The Torn Jacket"
"Really enjoying your music. Really great blend. I'm sure it's flying off the shelves over there. I think there is room for a lot more like it !!!!!" - Connie O'Connell, composer of the reel "The Torn Jacket"

"I'm pretty blown away! Your time in Ireland must have given you tremendous confidence -- it's such a strong album. From your opening guitar with the beautiful fiddle coming in, right through to the end I was into it. I find with American Irish bands that it's often the vocals which lose me (take me out of the pub and into the bar, as it were). Not in Floating Crowbar's case. I like the selection of songs and you do them justice. It should go without saying that the instrumental work is top notch. Bravo!" - Michael Schonbach, Still Records


A listener’s guide to The Torn Jacket

How to approach a CD of traditional Irish music? Recorded Irish music is almost a contradiction in terms: this is music intended for kitchens, living-rooms, and of course, pubs. It has a level of spontaneity, of idiosyncrasy, of freedom that makes it hard to favor one performance over any other. In a traditional setting, a particularly fiery set of reels or jigs will be met with whoops or shouts of “Fair play!” And occasionally an old chap or young lass will get up and dance a few steps. But none of this is written down: someone will start playing a tune, and those who know it join in. after playing that tune a couple of times, the person who started it will start another – seamlessly, without missing a beat. Again, those who know it join in.

The fun here is picking tunes that go together, that “feel” right together, but all the time trying to surprise or enchant with an echo of a phrase from the first tune or an unexpected key change. And there are thousands of these tunes, from reels (2/4 time – they sound like "watermelon – watermelon-watermelon") to jigs (6/8 time– they sound like "pineapple-apricot – pineapple-apricot - pineapple-apricot") to polkas to marches to slip jigs, barn dances, ...etc.

But actually, these tunes are very often the “filling” between the really important stuff – the songs. At a good session, the line between “performer” and “audience” is nonexistent, and anyone can start into a song or poem whenever they like. While the musicians wet their whistles after a set of tunes, someone will shout out “Give us a song, Bridie!” and the little old dear sitting in one corner will start into "Down by the Sally Gardens". Everyone hushes up and listens, maybe humming along or joining in. When we were in Ireland last year, driving around the west coast and playing every night until 2:00 am in pubs, it was through song that we really connected with the locals. They were very nice about our playing, but they didn’t start buying us pints until we sang.

So making a CD of this music is a challenge: do we try to capture the feel of a great session, or produce a nice, polished collection of songs and tunes? On The Torn Jacket (the title comes from the name of a slow reel by Connie O’Connell – track 14) we tried to get both a “live” sound and a clean, well-produced sound. To do this we played all of the tracks together, at the same time, in the studio and then added whatever instruments we felt were missing (usually bodhran - “bow-rawn” - the drum that sometimes sounds like a bass) and occasional harmonies. We also enlisted the help of local mastering engineer Jeff Stewart (Dog Creek Digital), who also mastered our last CD, Two Nights in December. Jeff’s gift is the ability to make every instrument clear and distinct in the overall mix while keeping a unified feel, and he has done a brilliant job here.

So check out the opening set of reels, Maudebawn Chapel, which features our core sound (fiddle, flute, mandolin, guitar) and builds in intensity and drive to the twisty, modal Ivy Leaf.

Track 3, Lord Mayo, is a beautiful, haunting march played on octave mandolin (Morgan’s second instrument) with James, Don, and Rick playing flute or low whistles. (By the way, there are good descriptions of the instruments here: http://www.floatingcrowbar.com/index.php/instrument/). The tune was composed by harper David Murphy to appease Lord Mayo (1567–1629) after Murphy insulted him.

Track 4, Teampall, has a fine example of fiddle and uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes) playing in unison, with guitar and banjo accompaniment. You’ll notice that there are times when the sounds of the two main instruments blend into one: this is the “pocket” of Irish music, when the whole becomes bigger than the the parts.

For songs, check out the Travelers’ song, Smuggling the Tin: we learnt this doggerel in a pub in Westport, Mayo and liked it so much we wanted to do our own version. We had to clean it up a bit for US audiences, but you get the idea.

Then there’s the classic Scottish song Wild Mountain Thyme, prefaced by the stunning Neil Gow’s Lament, where Morgan’s fiddle playing gets rich and deep and emotional. For lyrical honesty, it’s hard to beat the line: If my truelove she were gone, I would surely find another!

Rick’s tenor shines over the top of intertwining flutes on When a Man’s in Love, which ends with an intense set of reels that – incredible though this sounds – gets people up and dancing at our regular spot at Hills’ in Spokane.

Also listen to Raglan Road, a beautiful, tender, complex song of loss in love that features James on vocals and all four of us singing harmonies.



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