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Bushes & Briars


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Audio CD, February 3, 1998
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$8.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Bushes & Briars + Lowlands
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

For her foray into traditional music, American-based Irish singer Susan McKeown hasn't chosen the safe path. By including instruments like tabla, French horn, and clarinet--none of which are associated with Celtic music--she's stretching the boundaries of the genre. But the fascinating, often daring arrangements serve merely to frame her voice, which is often shown starkly, even unaccompanied. With guests like Morocco's Hassan Hakmoun, former Planxty man Andy Irvine, and Solas's Seamus Egan, she has a first-class crew behind her, but she, and her haunting voice, remain the real stars of the show, offering a radiant path to the heart of the songs here. Her selection of material (both in English and Gaelic) veers far from the tried and true, but even on a song like "Bonny Boy," she marks it with her own identity. Bushes and Briars is a complete triumph, establishing McKeown as one of the top contemporary Celtic singers. --Chris Nickson

1. Bushes & Briars
2. In London So Fair
3. Driving The Calves
4. Little One
5. Bonny Boy
6. The Mountain Streams Where The Moorcocks Crow
7. Banks Of Claudy
8. Craigie Hill
9. A Mhaire Bhruinneall
10. Donal Og
11. After Aughrim

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 3, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alula
  • ASIN: B000003U9P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,529 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on February 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The second CD from which Susan McKeown took material from for her 24 January concert at San Juan College, which I attended, is Bushes & Briars, which consists mainly of traditional Celtic music. Again, McKeown's instrumentation doesn't consist merely of the usual flutes, fiddle, bodhran, and Uileann pipes, but also guitar, tablas, a French horn, and a clarinet. And her folky sound again recalls Natalie Merchant, but there are shades of acts such as Clannad or Maire Brennan.
The title track not only refers to the ones the protagonist goes through to enjoy hearing the birds sing but the bushes and briars that exist in the heart and between the gender roles: "But if I should go unto my love/my love he may say nay/if i show to him my boldness/he'll ne'er love me again."
McKeown began her set by singing the a capella "Bonny Boy" that truly demonstrated her vocal power. Then, before launching into the mid-paced "In London So Fair," she explained the maritime transvestism that went on, of women wishing a better life and seeking a life of adventure by disguising themselves as men. Well, one woman does such a thing to be with her man in this story song, even sharing the same cabin with her man until one day, he says "You're like a lover of mine... I left on the shore long ago." She then reveals herself, they get married, and they spend the rest of their lives travelling over the sea. Those were the only two songs from this album she sang live, the rest of which is stunning.
"H-O Abha-inn" is a lullaby, complete with Uileann pipes and bodhran that has a mid-paced rocking melody.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neal Reynolds VINE VOICE on June 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Susan McKeown is one of those recommended to Enya's fans and she also is compared to Loreena McKinnett, but don't be mislead by the comparisons. She is unique in her interpretation of traditional celtic melodies.
The instrumental backing certainly isn't your traditional celtic sound, including guitar, tuba, tabla, french horn along with the more to be expected fiddle, whistles, and pipes. The important thing is that it works. The unusual instrumental blend highlights her haunting voice.
The songs themselves are wistful, longing, but not tragic...ballads of love and loyalty. Listen especially to the title song "Bushes & Briars", "In London So Fair", "Bonny Boy", "Banks of Claudy", and "After Augrim", but if you enjoy traditional celtic, you will enjoy each and every one. This receives my highest recommendation.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ricardo Escalante on February 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
After buying "Lowlands" I went online and looked up Susan's other albums, then bought B&B. The combination of her voice and the melodies just knock me out. Although I am less enamoured of her earlier work, I recommend these two and look forward to another in the future. Fortunately you can use your own ears and if thirty seconds per works for you, go for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Mystical at times, down-to-Earth at times, and often both at once. Reminding one of Niamh Parsons and June Tabor at their bests, Susan McKeown's dark alto cuts straight to the soul with this music. Instrumental accompaniment is unfailingly interesting and tasteful and is provided by many of the best musicians in the business. Special kudos to Seamus Egan for his haunting low whistle playing. Much of this CD is acapella or near-acapella which may cause some people to hesitate in purchasing this CD; DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let that stop you!
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