Matt Molloy’s first solo album came after he’d had more than ten years’ experience as a founding member of both Planxty and The Bothy Band. He subsequently took flutist Mick Turbridy’s place in The Chieftains, where he has remained ever since while continuing to produce solo albums on a regular basis. This is one of his finest and most focused recordings; the minimal accompaniment from guitarist Donal Lunny keeps the spotlight on Molloy’s finely crafted, virtuosic playing style. Apart from his remarkable dexterity and speed, two things set him apart from other Irish players: the very advanced degree to which he has integrated piping technique into his flute style, and his astounding breath control. The latter is particularly noticeable on "The Humours of Ballyloughlin," on which he produces more ornaments with his lungs than many flute players can execute with their fingers. A sharp, reedy tone in the low registers is another hallmark of Molloy’s playing; the tonal definition he achieves on the gorgeous "Lament for Staker Wallace" and the midtempo reel "The Templehouse" is a wonder to hear. But no matter how important his playing is from a technical standpoint, you never get the feeling Molloy is showing off. There’s such an unaffected, joyous quality to his virtuosity that it’s impossible not to be swept along with his playing.
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