Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill look like a couple of old geezers, don’t they?
Apparently they met in the eighties playing in a jazz fusion band – go figure – but found a mutual love for Irish music. I haven’t heard their first album The Lonesome Touch but I’d like to. I have this, their second album, on high rotation in the house and car. It puts me in a good mood most times I put it on. They have done other records, but not together, so I believe.
Hayes’ playing is kind of slower and less flamboyant than a lot of other Irish fiddle stuff I have heard, but there are soulful swoops and touches to replace the sound of the virtuoso’s burning fingerboard. But for me, Cahill’s playing is what really makes it work out. It’s all voicings of the same five or six chords we all play, but Cahill always picks the perfect inversion for the particular moment in the tune. And the sound he gets brings out echoes of harp, lute, and banjo, and goes well beyond the standard steel string strum-along that sits behind so much Irish fiddle playing.
All up, these guys are really worth a listen. It’s all instrumental and all quite slow and soft, but it’s groovy, too.
This particular tune is apparently a Scottish dance set but to me it sounds kind of American. I can see it as the instrumental track to some coming to America story, the first time an immigrant sees Boston, or something of that sort.