Cluan | The High Road

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World: Celtic Classical: New Music Ensemble Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The High Road

by Cluan

Heart-stopping Celtic music from the heart of Texas, with traditional, breath-taking folk ballads along with foot-stomping reels, and feel-good jigs from a collection of Celtic Nations including Ireland, Scotland, and Galicia.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Blacksmith
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3:52 $0.99
2. Johnny Allen's Reels
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4:36 $0.99
3. The Galician Set
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6:22 $0.99
4. Green Grows the Laurel
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3:20 $0.99
5. Farewell to Whisky
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6:22 $0.99
6. Bimse Fein ag Iascaireacht
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3:43 $0.99
7. Blackwaterside
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5:10 $0.99
8. The Butlers of Glen Avenue
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3:50 $0.99
9. John Anderson My Jo
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2:08 $0.99
10. Skidoo
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5:48 $0.99
11. Aly's Waltz
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3:54 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Cluan (pronounced CLU-in)

Untamed Irish Music.

In their second year, they have become one of Texas' most sought after Irish bands.

Winners of multiple awards from the Austin Chronicle, including listings in best new album and best world band.

"Electrifying and unstoppable... Setting a new jam genre... High Priests of Celtic Music .... "

Cluan is rapidly becoming one of Irish music's top artists in Texas. The High Road was created with legendary guitarist and producer Rich Brotherton (Robert Earl Keen, Caroline Herring) and is their much anticipated studio album debut.

Cluan has the ability to regenerate traditional tunes with explosive arrangements. Driven by the power of twin fiddles, Cluan has a fresh yet positively traditional sound.

They have the strength to suck in music lovers of many genres including world fusion, bluegrass and country.

Cluan is proud to present their studio debut:
The High Road

An eclectic combination of Celtic standards and fierce traditional sets, the High Road takes a musical journey across time and space. Go from Galicia to Texas and all Celtic points in between. Hear Irish ballads, Scottish love songs, jigs, reels and more, all performed with the magnetic arrangements that have local critics proclaiming them
. . . "Austin's High Priest of Celtic Music." - Austin Chronicle

From the Austin Chronicle
By: Margaret Moser

The Austin sixpiece Cluan is known for quality Irish music, but The High Road finds them journeying as far north as Scotland and across the water to Galicia. "The Blacksmith" opens the album with Erin Bobruk spinning the tale of a faithless lover. Bobruk's classically trained vocals appear hither and yon throughout, breathing freshness into favorites like "Green Grows the Laurel," "Blackwaterside," and Robert Burns' "John Anderson My Jo." Produced with a master's touch by the ever-wonderful Rich Brotherton, The High Road balances vocalized songs with jigs and reels. Cluan's musicians pull together under the leadership of bandleader/violin magician Chris Buckley, whose award-winning fiddling explodes with Irish fire on "Johnny Allen's." The thrum of Chuck Wright's bodhran and Charles Branch's bouzouki give Bobruk's mouth music perfect accompaniment on "Bímse Féin ag lascaireacht (I Myself Go Fishing)," while Ryan Beavers' guitar and Stephan Paetzold's fiddle send the sad air of "Farewell to Whisky" into jaunty rhythms of reels. At under 50 minutes, the album stops short, yet on this, their first studio CD, Cluan has done what any good band should: leave the listener dying for an encore.

CD Review
South Texas Music Assc.
CD Review written by Rhea Miller

This recording by Cluan is one of the best traditional selections in the last several years. Erin Bobruk's vocals are a clear and very pleasing accompaniment to the instruments. There is a delicate balance in traditional Celtic music between the vocals and instruments, and Cluan has found it.

The fiddle playing of Christopher Buckley and Stephan Paetzold is excellent and expressive, capturing the soul of the songs. The selections where the fiddles are played in harmony are particularly nice.

The recording has a good mix of jigs and ballads. The High Road includes a couple of tunes from Galicia, "Muiñiera de Chantada" and "Muiñiera de Villanova". Cluan also has a wonderful version of Robert Burns' "John Anderson my Jo". It includes the Gaelic "mouth music" selection Bímse Fein ag Iascareacht (I myself go fishing), which is a special treat. All the numbers are well arranged.

Cluan (pronounced 'clue-in') is based in Austin, Texas, with a firm grounding in traditional Celtic music. The band was initially formed in January 2002. The name comes from a milepost sign indicating the distance and direction of 'Pairc Cluana'. Members of Cluan are: Ryan Beavers - guitar, vocals; Erin Bobruk - vocals; Charles Branch - bouzouki, vocals; Christopher Buckley - fiddle, bass fiddle, vocals; Stephan Paetzold - fiddle, whistle, bagpipe drone, vocals; and Chuck Wright - bodhran. Rich Brotherton is featured on this CD as a guest artist, playing banjo & guitar.

I heartily recommend Cluan's, The High Road for your next traditional Celtic music purchase.

Chris Buckley
Chris' introduction into the tradition of Irish fiddle came when he was 14 years old under the teaching of the renowned Irish fiddler, Martin Dowling. Chris has also studied under the direction of world-class fiddle players Liz Carroll, Brendan Mulvihill, and James Kelley. He was the recipient of the 1996 Ed Ward Scholarship, awarded annually at the Milwaukee Irish Festival. He has won first place awards in the Midwestern Fleadh Cheoil, allowing him to compete in two All-Ireland world competitions. While in Ireland, Christopher appeared on Radio Kerry as well as RTE, the National Irish Broadcasting Company. In 1996 he was named National Senior Fiddling Champion at the Fleadh Cheoil in Chicago.

Charles Branch
Charles is a veteran of the Austin Irish scene, having been a session stalwart for seven years. A long time guitarist, Charles switched to the bouzouki four years ago and has been hooked ever since. Charles was formerly a member of the Austin band Tarbolton, and the Austin/Dublin band The Mad Trad Trio.

Erin Bobruk

Erin Bobruk began studying violin and piano at the age of five and later picked up guitar in college. She graduated from Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas) with a dual degree in Vocal Performance (Opera) and Communication. Erin keeps up her love of the classics by singing with the Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble where she is often a featured soloist.

Stephan Paetzold
Not much is known about fiddle player Stephan Paetzold, which is how he likes it, but this much we have found out: Since moving to Austin in the early nineties, he has either played with, sat-in with or recorded for numerous Austin bands ranging from Alamo Suite (swing standards) to Val Paradise (rock), all the while honing his Irish fiddling skills in sessions and with such bands as Crazy Jane & the Bishop, Tarbolton, and the Mad Trad Trio. Occasionally he'll pick up a mandolin or penny whistle too.

Chuck Wright
Chuck is a veteran of several Austin bands, including Ptarmigan and Tarbolton. He began playing the bodhran as an extension of his membership in an Irish dance group, providing a solid rhythmic foundation for the rest of the band to build upon.

Ryan Beavers
Ryan Beavers is a native of Chattanooga, TN, and moved to Austin from Atlanta, GA. He recently received a Master's degree (MM Composition) from The University of Texas at Austin, and remains active as a composer and music engraver. As a guitarist, he has performed in many different genres and ensembles, including the UT Jazz Orchestra, the Austin Klezmer Quartet, the Entr'acte Duo, and the UT New Music Ensemble.


to write a review

Joe Wallace, Celtic MP3s Music Magazine

Cluan mix up reels, jigs and songs to good effect on The High Road. The Texas sextet's fifty-minute studio album lives up to its name with plenty of high quality sounds from Ireland and beyond. Singer Erin Bobruk adds just the right touch of emotion on the opening jilted-lover song The Blacksmith. More impressively, Bobruk handles the tongue-twisting Bímse Féin ag lascaireacht with considerable skill and grace.

Cluan stick with what some call the all-natural sound; they don't try to spruce up the mix with electrified sounds, heavy echo or other studio tricks. The acoustic guitar, bouzouki, and two fiddles are expertly recorded; The High Road has a spontaneous quality difficult to capture on a studio album.

It's obvious the band put much thought into the flow of this release as a long-play experience. With plenty of variety from track to track, the music ebbs and flows from the mellow Green Grows The Laurel to the spirited jigs of The Butlers of Glen Avenue. The finale, Aly's Waltz, rounds out the album well, its easygoing tempo a nice contrast to the energetic Skidoo, Johnny Allen's, and Farewell To Whisky.

For a group only in existence for a few years, the group already has an impressive selection of quality work. Cluan have three releases under their belts now, the six-song The Buck Stops Here, and the longer-playing Night Out. After getting a taste of The High Road, the other two titles are very tempting. Sadly, The Buck Stops Here is unavailable, but Night Out is still in print, featuring the same skilled guitar and good fiddle playing that's found on The High Road.


Great stuff!
I ordered this CD on a whim (a bit mad considering I had to get it shipped over here to England!) and I'm so glad I did. This is one of those rare CDs which doesn't have a bad track on it. The jigs and reels are played with great energy and skill and I absolutely adored the songs. I have heard so many different recordings of The Blacksmith over the years and Erin Bobruk's version is a worthy addition to the pile. Great stuff!