Release Date: June 29, 2013
Run Time: 31:55
1. Step It Out Mary
2. Jamie Raeburn
3. Crooked Jack
4. The Andro Set
5. Gather Up the Pots
6. Ye Jacobites By Name
7. Big Jig Set
8. The Foggy Dew
9. Johnnie Cope
10. The Parting Glass
Jasper Coal’s album “Drowning the Shamrock” opens with ‘Step it out Marry‘, the band’s take on the traditional Irish song written by Sean McCarthy. This expansive recording features lots of instrumentation and great vocal performances. Fantastic harmonies, both vocally and instrumentally, and added atop flowing strings and supportive drums. The exposed verses contain limited instrumentation and an interesting story line. The lyrics are memorable and the vibe is positive. Everything is fine-tuned and each instrument is impressive in its performance.
‘Jamie Raeburn‘ follows with an outstanding performance by the bagpipes to open the song. I am absolutely loving all the harmonies showcased in these tracks; in my opinion, this is what real music is. The songs are fleshed-out to their full potential, the drums holding the beat without overpowering the vocals or other instrumentation. Each vocalist has a distinct vocal tone, and the lyrical content and story lines are very spiritual, uplifting, and encouraging.
Each instrument again puts forth a good, clean effort; the acoustic guitar held things down in the background as the detailed bagpipe lead shows off in the forefront. ‘Crooked Jack’ describes the hardships endured by men who worked at The Hydro Electric Plant in Scotland lyrically, and has a different feel from the other tracks instrumentally. The song has a rawer, less refined sound, as expressive harmonies and a large strings presence fill up much of the sonic landscape. A great ending to the track displays the band’s musical knowledge, and their intense creative drive.
My review closes with ‘The Foggy Dew‘; much of the song is minimalistic, featuring only an acoustic guitar and vocals. The drums are used very infrequently in the first half of the song, as a shaker takes up the rhythm section instead. As the song progresses, the snare drum provides more timing.
There is a ton of attitude and aggression vocally, and each of the instruments mesh well together. Each of the tracks on this album were mixed well and featured good production. While the production was somewhat basic, it was definitely enough to let the songs’ meanings and overall groove shine through.
Everything seemed very rehearsed and fine-tuned, and I was impressed by the unique story lines and captivating harmonies showcased in Jasper Coal’s album “Drowning the Shamrock.”