Review Irish Music 8th May 2005 Volume 10
Back in 2004 at the BBC Folk awards, I met Luke Daniels, who told me he had a new album coming out and he wondered if I'd like to hear it? Course I would, well it's taken over a year but finally there it was in a padded envelope from Wren records, with a little sticker reading; 'Luke Daniels Secret Sessions'. So I gave it a spin in the old DVD player and here's the wow and flutter.
What you get here is some terrific accordion playing, but you get more because, in effect this multi-sampler CD. Daniels teams up with a selection of other players to make four different musical statements. With Cathal Hayden and Art McGlynn, he explores familiar Irish territory, Maids of Mount Sisco, Sailor in the Rock and Silver Spear, a dark low voiced Humours of Balyloughlin and another Sailor on the Rock selection, this time teamed up with Mama's Pet and Miss Monaghan's. The set of sessioneers are Daniels on the box and Teressa Connolly on fiddle with Ian Carr on guitar, it's a seamless shift into more familiar Irish material with Shetland tune added to bring a bit of spice to the music.
Then the second half sees Daniels exploring the more eclectic and experimental side of his psyche, with first three sets with Alec Dankworth (double bass) Ben Castle ( clarinet) John Paul Gandy (piano) and Bbrian Abrahams (drums) it's still largely Celtic but painted on a wider canvass. The final three pieces take us to the continent and the influences of French accordion is writ large on Musette a Teresa and the album closes with Quebecoise tune Reel Beatrice with Daniels backed by Dean Magraw on guitar.
A work of wide imagination and astounding technical accomplishment, a big musical statement with plenty in the bank, if you like accordion music you'll want this in your collection.
By Sean Laffey