A superb album of beautiful recordings from Jed Marum and his Boston Road Records music friends. The tracks in this collection have been selected from 3 of Jed's best selling albums - and have been favorites of broadcast and web-based radio around the world.
These tracks are the very best recordings collected over the last decade from among Jed's favorite Scottish and Irish songs - all produced by one of North America's best folk music producers, Paul Mills. The collection includes featured performances from Brian McNeill, Hugh Morrison, Mason Brown, Tom Leighton and others. In addition to Jed’s vocals, the album’s all acoustic instruments include; guitar, banjo, piano and button accordions, fiddle, cello, whistle, flute, upright bass, and harmonica. The tracks are from Jed’s earlier releases on Boston Road Records; SOUL OF A WANDERER, MILES FROM HOME and SANDS OF ABERDEEN.
PAGE 16 *JULY 2011 * IRISH EDITION
By Jamie O’Brien
The Best of Jed Marum
(Celtic Folk Roots)
Music is wonderful, isn’t it? There’s so much of it. And this month it’s even more wonderful, with straight traditional albums to more contemporary, jazzy styles and now this, Jed Marum’s collection of a dozen songs taken from three of his earlier albums.
The Texas-based singer has such an appealing voice it’s almost impossible not be drawn into his performance. There’s gentleness here, but there’s also substance and emotion. He handles a song like “rose of Tralee” with care and subtlety, but the power of “The Sons of Liberty” will draw tears. A sing-along piece like “Broom of the Cowdenknowes” is irresistible.
Marum plays guitar, banjo, banjola and harmonica and is joined by a number of other musicians adding everything from accordion to mandolin, whistle to bass and more. Arrangements are also intriguing, switching from elaborate “Star of the County Down” with its accordion, guitar, fiddle, whistle backing vocals and more to the simple vocal and guitar on “White Cockade” to unaccompanied “Where the Parities Grow.”
(Just to go back to “White Cockade,” possibly my favorite on the album, I didn’t mean the guitar was ‘simple’ it’s actually a superb example of finger picking that makes me so jealous! Wish I could play like that.)
For a compilation, this is quite exceptional in that it stands as an album in its own right. There is good flow and no sense that the tracks were “lifted” from different sources. Having said that, I’d now really love to hear the individual albums, and these songs in the context Marum original conceived.