Liz Carroll & John Doyle
Ever a dynamic live performer the Chicago-born Irish-American fiddler Liz Carrollís recordings have often been contrastingly far less vibrant. Something seems to have clicked into place, however, on the sixth album to bear her name, In Play. The reasons are complex, but unquestionably involve the seemingly symbiotic musical relationship with the former Solas guitarist John Doyle, a far more varied selection of tunes (more than twenty of which are self-composed and another written with Doyle), and perhaps the fact that the pair have produced the album themselves.†
That symbiosis colours the entire album and allows Liz to demonstrate the full array of her skills, ever supported by a variety of colours from the palette of Johnís fretboard. The sheer delight of a trio of rambunctious reels (Rolling in the Ryegrass/The Laurel Tree/OíRourkeís) where Lizís swooping fiddle is complemented by Johnís pulsating guitar is matched by the delicacy of the self-penned air The Island of Woods.
Elsewhere the jaunty Kieranís Polka leads into another stirring reel, The Bike to Ballyhahill, while Dennehy Dancers is a sprightly jig aptly celebrating a Chicago dance school.
A friend fortunate to witness a recent gig by Liz and John in Ireland reckoned it was one of the best heíd seen in many a year. Dare one hope that one day soon the pair might repeat such occasions in the UK?
This review by Geoff Wallis originally appeared in Songlines magazine Ė www.songlines.co.uk.