Marking 50 years since their first recordings, the Irish legends have opened their doors to a mixed bunch of guests for their birthday party. However, there are no invitations for previous Celtic-connected collaborators of the old guard such as Van Morrison or Elvis Costello; this is a bash for a younger demographic.
Hence, we have a whispered but double-tracked Bon Iver getting weepy on Down In The Willow Garden and The Decembrists adding spirited energy to When The Ship Comes In. Time and again, the mix of hip kids and long-in-the-tooth traditionalism serves up a joyous feed, illustrating just how much a debt the latecomers’ own music owes to what went before.
Paddy Moloney’s veterans work especially well with womenfolk; The Civil Wars’ Joy Williams (Lily Love), Lisa Hannigan (My Lagan Love) and the sweet harmonies of The Secret Sisters (Peggy Gordon) effortlessly locate the deep-rooted tenderness of laments first sung generations before they were born. It’s no surprise to see T-Bone Burnett listed as co-producer, his intelligent and intuitive guiding hand has been long adept at striking the perfect balance between old and new.