The Beara Peninsula of County Kerry/County Cork is home to the largest number of standing stone circles in the British Isles. This latest work by "Diamond Jim " Hewitt brings together elements of Celtic, jazz, bluegrass, and Oracle to create a unique musical interpretation of the ancient and modern peoples of Ireland.
The theme song, Standing Stone (track 7), reflects the raw power and beauty to be found in the vicinity of these undisturbed monuments to ancient folk religion. Glenrastel, track 5, was inspired by a daylong hike into the high country of the Glenrastel Valley in search of an ancient rock shelter filled with inscriptions carved in stone.
In between we find arrangements of traditional tunes such as The Maid Behind the Bar, which kicks into an uptempo Irish folk rock ending, and the wistful Mna na Eiren (Women of Ireland), set against a bluegrass original, Lonesone All the Time. This melding of Arizona and Ireland continues in the collection of mostly original tunes that comprise the Standing Stones of Beara.
Jim recounts, “When playing in the sessions around Kenmare and Bantry I was asked to play “Arizona” music, by which they meant bluegrass and country. Standing Stones of Beara is a tribute to the good folk of Beara, but the music is entirely my own blend of Arizona desert and Irish highland inspiration. This is not your normal traditional Celtic music CD!”
Jim Hewitt joined the music scene in Tucson shortly after he moved to town in 1973 for graduate work in Anthropology. He has been the lead instrumentalist for several well-known Tucson bands: Tucson-Area-Music-Award winning (TAMMIE) Terry Pollock and Thunderhead North, The Blue Prairie Dogs with whom he also won an individual TAMMIE in 1999 for best String player, and in a duo with popular singer/songwriter Sal Valdivia. He has played the Tucson Folk Festival numerous times with these groups as well as renowned singer/songwriter John Coinman. He acquired the nickname "Diamond Jim" while playing several seasons in the Gaslight Theatre orchestra. He currently resides in Oracle, Arizona, pursuing his day job in web database programming and his passion for electro-acoustic musical composition and improvisational performance.