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PHIL COULTER - HIGHLAND CATHEDRAL - CD
Pop songwriter and Irish instrumentalist Phil Coulter melds the traditional and contemporary on his American debut, Highland Cathedral. Filled mostly with light, airy piano tinkling, this music soothes with simple melodies while recalling the Celtic tradition. Soft uilleann pipes and whistles swoop in and out of Coulter's piano, and his occasional use of harp, violin, accordion, and cello add a new dimension (albeit unexciting yet interesting) to the music. Coulter is also unafraid of the synthesizer, which on such songs as the title track, "Tranquility," and "If These Stones Could Speak," creates a lush, timeless feel akin to the music of Enya and one that works well. In fact, Aoife (pronounced "ee-fah"), a protégé of Maire Brennan, Enya's sister, contributes a crystal soprano to select tracks and these songs are definite highlights. Not for the listener looking to push listening boundaries, but rather for those plainly in love with pleasant New Age Celtic music, Highland Cathedral well satisfies. --Karen K. Hugg
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"Coultergeist" is also one of my favorites. Verses here and there stop suddenly before the end -- little ghosts disappearing in mid-air.