Maryland-based Christina Harrison mixes her classically trained soprano voice in songs that vary from Celtic
contemporary folk and country. Her voice is as haunting as a flute.
Exiles her first substantive release, is a mélange about the immigrant experience. The songs she's chosen for this album demonstrate an endearing respect for her Celtic roots, including Bob Gillman's "A Little Piece of Ireland," Eric Bogles' "Leaving the Land," Dougie MacLean's "Caledonia," Richard Thompson's "Farewell, Farewell," to Phil Coulter's "Town I Loved So Well." Harrison's voice stands out in the traditional "Month of January" and in a duet with Liam Maguire in "Skye Boat Song." "To Exiles," with lyrics by Neal Monroe and music by Harrison, elucidates the emotions of the immigrant to the traditional sounds of bagpipes, flute, piccolo, recorder and bodhran. Joining Harrison are a bevy of musicians from Scotland, Britain and Ireland.
A cleanly produced album by Roger Hoilman (who adds vocals and key boards), most of the songs here are backed by bass and drums. You're apt to hear combinations of mandolin, banjo, soprano saxaphone, strings or pedal steel. The pedal steel comes into play in a country song "Don't Let the Sun Go Down Upon Your Anger," a folk ballad about expressed feelings, with a generous helping of soprano sax. The most unusual tune is "Starving Wolf With Mange," with its pounding rhythm and wind effects. Aside from its disturbing title, the song presents somber images of the eradication of Native Americans and habitat by the white man.
Steve Romanoski - DIRTY LINEN, Baltimore, MD