Hey everyone! We’re a little behind on the Friend Feature Fridays lately, but here’s one to finish off your night.
Now the initial goal of these posts was to highlight recently released albums, but as a backer and singer, I’ve been kind of afraid to try reviewing an album that doesn’t heavily feature guitar, bouzouki or some other plucked string instrument, and I can’t think of such an album that was released in the last 6 months right now (send me your ideas!). So I’m going to dig juuust a little bit further back into the past and talk about the album my friend Marla Fibish released with Jimmy Crowley in 2011 called ‘The Morning Star’.
Marla is an amazing mandolin player from the Bay Area in California. I met her at Lark Camp three years ago when I was first immersing myself into Irish music, and since then I’ve gotten some of my favorite tunes from her, and did a fun set of gigs with her and Joey Abarta last November. You can read more about Marla, the album, and her other group, Three Mile Stone, on her site. I haven’t had the chance to meet Jimmy yet, but in addition to all the bouzouki+ he played on this album, he’s also known for his wonderful singing, which you can hear on his site.
‘The Morning Star' is, basically, tasty tune after tasty tune (traditional Irish and some originals) played on mandolin, mandola, mandocello, and bouzouki, beautifully recorded and mixed. I have a hard time picking a favorite track, but I am partial to Marla's “The Adephian Waltz/The Gneevegulla” and to the hop jig/reel set “The Rocky Road to Dublin/Comb Your Hair and Curl It/The New Moon Meadows”. Marla’s phrasing, sense of rhythm and variations are fantastic, and I love how Jimmy trickles in delicately with counterpoint that is as interesting to listen to as the melody but never detracts from it, and builds up gradually to rocking out on full chords in the B section of “Meadows.” Here’s another great set, “The Humors of Bandon/A Fig for a Kiss/The Dusty Miller”:
f you need to You definitely need to add some Irish music on the mandolin and bouzouki to your collection, a) because there just aren’t many albums like this around, and b) because I can’t imagine anyone not loving ‘The Morning Star’ as much as I do. And if you’re lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, keep an eye on Marla’s schedule and go see her in person when you get the chance!
Thanks for reading!