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Review: Greenhouse CD: Dreams and High Hopes

RiGGy 07 Mar 10 - 12:56 PM
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From: RiGGy
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 12:56 PM

I've been listening to the *new* [michaelr] Greenhouse CD, DREAMS AND HIGH HOPES in my *new* [ to me ] car constantly for the last few days, and have really been enjoying it ! This band has been playing around Sonoma County for many years and I've been an audience member on many occasions. The CD captures a lot of what happens at their gigs, but provides some surprises as well. Like Michael Rofkar's tasty electric guitar playing. And his excellent songwriting ! I was blown away to read in the album notes that the title song was from his own hand. It's a well-told tale of an Irish famine immigrant drawn into the American Civil War, and finding his childhood best friend in his rifle site, and luckily NOT killing him. That incident is spoken in the song to great effect. I like that stylistic device, and it's used again in pirate voice during Patricia Casey's rendition of THE MAID ON THE SHORE. Very cool !

There's lot of fine musician-ship on this recording, as well. Jon Berger, my favorite Sonoma County violinist, comes through loud and clear on almost every cut. He also does a fine job on mandolin, melodeon, viola and whistle, filling in the spaces with texture and filigree in a most artful and appropriate manner. Several guests have come along to sweeten and expand the production. I was thrilled by Todd Denman's soaring pipes, particularly in the Nollaig Casey tune THE MOUSESKIN SHOE. Michael Capella brings his tasty dobro into the mix on the country-flavored title cut.

My favorite piece on this CD is the final song LONE SHANAKYLE, a beautiful ballad written in the 1860s to tell the sad story of Ireland's holocaust experience a generation before. The production values on this cut really shine and every player provides perfect support for an important and beautiful historical presentation.

Well done, GREENHOUSE !
I am certain this CD will garner much attention from Celtic music fans around the world.

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