Ravens Three | The First Thirteen

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Folk: Celtic Folk World: Celtic Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The First Thirteen

by Ravens Three

Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. The Wind That Shakes the Barley/Blair Athol
4:54 $0.99
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2. Athol Highlander
2:07 $0.99
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3. Foggy Dew
4:43 $0.99
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4. Banish Miss Blarney
3:15 $0.99
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5. Ashokan's Farewell
2:50 $0.99
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6. Crooked Jack
6:13 $0.99
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7. Bonaparte's Retreat
2:25 $0.99
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8. Spancil Hill
3:39 $0.99
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9. The Battle of Drowsy Maggie
3:27 $0.99
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10. Archibald McDonald of Keploch
2:32 $0.99
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11. P Stands for Paddy
3:49 $0.99
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12. Skibberreen
3:37 $0.99
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13. Health to the Company
4:20 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
ALBUM REVIEW: Ravens Three – The First Thirteen (independent) 2015

Recorded at Eric Herndon’s Blarney Cross Studio here in Oklahoma City, Celtic-folk music trio Ravens Three has just released their debut album, the appropriately titled The First Thirteen.

Ravens Three is vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Audra Blankenship-Pierce, fiddle-player/vocalist Shawna Kennedy and guitarist Dustin Cooper. I first came across their music in 2014 when they performed in the back of a pickup truck in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. These are great people and very talented. Red Dirt Report are big fans!

And I’ve always been a sucker for Celtic, Irish and folk music, loving everyone from The Waterboys and The Chieftains to Ewan MacColl and Scotland’s Dougie MacLean.

“The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” a traditional Irish song, merges flawlessly – love the fiddle intro from Kennedy - into the Scottish ballad “Blair Athol,” followed by “Athol Highlander.”

Blankenship-Pierce’s voice is very authentic in the Celtic style, but while there are a number of vocal-and-instrument tracks, the instrumentals are there as well, as evidenced on their cover of Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell,” the beautifully melancholy fiddle piece that was featured prominently in Ken Burns’ 1990 PBS miniseries The Civil War. Recall the reading of Union Army Officer Sullivan Ballou’s moving letter written to his wife Sarah before he was killed following the Battle of Bull Run.

The Irish whistle, played by Blankenship-Pierce, opens up the working-class labor song “Crooked Jack,” based on a traditional ballad known as “Dives and Lazarus.” Cooper’s strum-n-stop-n-strum is effective, as is the Celtic percussion. You feel as if you are in a pub somewhere, drinking a pint while holding the chill at bay sporting a woolen sweater.

The moody folk song “Spancil Hill,” about the struggles of Irish immigrants arriving in America (and heading west to California for the gold rush) but sorely missing life back in their homeland, is featured here. Fans of Dropkick Murphys may remember their song “Fairmount Hill,” which was based on “Spancil Hill.”

There are plenty of reel-type songs, including “The Battle of Drowsy Maggie” (which I imagine is a popular one in a live setting) while mellower, bittersweet-sounding fiddle-heavy instrumental lament like “Archibald McDonald of Keploch” (also known as “Archibald MacDonald of Keppoch” and best-known as played by fidde player Alasdair Fraser) fits well in the mix of 13.

But my favorite track is the absolutely haunting version of the traditional Irish folk song “Skibbereen,” a town in County Cork that was hit hard by the Irish famine in the mid-19th century. Sung acapella by Blankenship-Pierce, she sings of the “cruel reason I left old Skibbereen,” as son asks his father why he left “Erin’s Isle.”

Oklahoma City should be grateful to have a class act like Ravens Three.

As the trio might say in Ravenspeak: “Caw!”

For more information on purchasing The First Thirteen, along with learning more about performance dates visit RavensThree.net or Facebook.com/RavensThree.

ANDREW W. GRIFFIN | AUGUST 20, 2015

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