Ron Cody has come up with a beautiful new album drizzled in Celtic influences. Bluegrass traces peek through, which makes sense given the strong Scotch/Irish fiddle tradition that informs Bill Monroe’s music.
The overall sound is sweet and elegant, with a rich palette of sonoroites led by Ron’s facile and heartfelt five string banjo playing. He’s joined by a hugely talented and sympathetic cast of musicians whose primarily wood-timbred instruments – cello, mandolin, guitar, bouzouki, bass, and fiddle – take one to a sun-spattered shore near the cliffs of Moher. Here Ron joins Chris Thile’s Punch Brothers in the move toward (new) acoustic chamber music, with exquisitely played unison melodies and mood-altering texture shifts.
Ron has been composing wonderful original music for years and his inclusion of several new gems is a welcome addition to the project. Here you’ll find exquisitely adroit music that never overshadows the profound Celtic melodies that form the backbone of this album.
I have always wanted to play Celtic tunes on the banjo. Since my early years of playing, I tried to play these tunes by listening to a variety of sources. With not a lot of Celtic rules and instructional material for the 5 string banjo about, I stumbled along the way with different techniques, eventually assembling an approach to technique that includes single string, melodic and 3 finger styles. Over the years, listening to great players like Irish 4 string player Gerry O’Connor, and 5 string players, Bill Keith, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka helped a lot.
My goal was to make a listenable banjo album. While I was focused on banjo sound and technique, my primary emphasis was arranging these tunes with these musicians and making each instrument sound its best with a banjo. The album has cello, fiddle, bouzouki, harp, flute, mandolin, bass, and guitar spread throughout.
The musicians are wonderful and talented players I know as friends. Cellist Natalie Haas added her profound texture and rhythm to the music in this recording. We had a lot of fun and I am so pleased with how great banjo and cello sound together in this style.
I hope you will enjoy listening to this album.