Gráda’s natural angle on American folk

THE SCOTS and the Irish emigrated in droves to the United States throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, bringing their music, customs, and whiskey distilling techniques with them.

From this ‘Gaelic invasion’ came the American folk musics known as bluegrass (from the Irish ) and Appalachian and hillbilly (from the Scots and Scots-Irish ), a rich tradition that resonates still to this day.

It is a tradition that has inspired Irish trad band Gráda for their new album Natural Angle (Compass Records ), songs from which they will play at the Róisín Dubh on Sunday June 13 at 9pm as part of the Stirling-Galway Sessions 2010 music festival.

“The Stirling-Galway Sessions festival is very much about the links between Ireland and Scotland,” says festival organiser Mick Crehan. “Gráda explore that on their new album and how it developed into American folk music. The new album is a lovely mix of Irish and Scottish songs and how they influenced American folk song.”

Gráda are Nicola Joyce (vocals/bodhran ), David Doocey (fiddle/concertina ), Stephen Doherty (flute/accordion ), Andy Laking (guitar/vocals/double bass ), and Gerry Paul (guitar/vocals ).

Natural Angle sees the band bridging traditional Irish and Appalachian tunes and songs with Americana songwriting. Four of the 12 tracks are American songs - although some of those have older Irish roots, eg, ‘The Butcher Boy’ (recorded by Bob Dylan as ‘The Railroad Boy’, a song he probably learned from The Clancy Brothers ) and ‘Pretty Polly’ (an American version of ‘The Elfin Knight’ made famous by Ralph Stanley.

Original songs include ‘Linen and Lace’ by vocalist Nicola Joyce and ‘5 Jumps’, a set marrying a Danish reel, an original reel by former bandmate Colin Farrell, and a traditional Irish tune.

The album was produced in Nashville by the renowned bluegrass musician and singer Tim O’Brien, who Gráda met at the Tonder Festival in Denmark in 2005.

Tickets are available from the Róisín Dubh and Zhivago. Graham Dolan will be DJing afterwards.

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