For her spring 2007 Compass Records release entitled The New Shoes, Nuala Kennedy has assembled a new band by the same name, and together they have captured a wonderful collection of traditional music with an excitingly fresh feel. Brought together when producer Bob Kenyan asked Kennedy to put together a band of musicians for a Gaelic television show, their rich and luscious sounds bear testimony to the creative imagination and depth of experience harnessed in this ensemble. Featuring the virtuosic talents of Marc Clement (guitar/vocals), Julian Sutton (melodeons) and Claire Mann (fiddle/flute/whistle/vocals), The New Shoes begins with a rousing jig that sets a level of musicianship that is sustained throughout the record. Where Kennedy's apt flute playing is made obvious in the first track, "The Pink Flamingo." Then, listeners get a taste of her startlingly focused and beautiful vocal timbre in "Cait i nGarrain a Bhile." Other highlights include the swinging "Highlands and Islands" and the closing title track, "The New Shoes," with its complex and upbeat melodies filled with wonderful tension and resolution.
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