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evansakes Transatlantic Sessions London 6 Feb (18) RE: Transatlantic Sessions London 6 Feb 07 Feb 12

It was a great evening as ever with some of the world's finest musicians. Eddi Reader calls it 'God's Band' and you know what she means. I was also a little disappointed by some of the song choices from Eddi Reader and even Tim O'Brien (did we really need another take on 'This Land Is Your Land')...and Declan O'Rourke though a nice enough lad and decent voice doesn't come over as a top drawer writer. Raul Malo gave the evening something different...I enjoyed the Nat King Cole croon on 'Around The World' and the Orbison-esque take on JD Souther's You're Only Lonely. Karen Matheson was the vocal star for me....a vastly underrated singer if ever there was one.

Much as I love Jerry Douglas and the dobro I could really have done without the now traditional extended solo interlude. After 7 minutes of pyromaniacs I don't think I was alone in muttering 'Enough already!'. Douglas is the one who always says about TS 'Everyone checks their ego at the door' but he always seems to grant himself exemption to this rule. Everyone acknowledges he's the best in the business but TS is all supposed to be about collaboration and not being show-offy.

The unsung (and sometimes uncredited) guys were often the real heroes on the night for me. Danny Thompson cool and composed as ever, James Mackintosh the definition of restrained and subtle percussion and John Doyle on guitar never took a solo or got to sing a song but as ever he was the glue in the rhythm section. John McCusker was more in the shadows than in previous years and though you don't often notice him Donald shaw is also an essential part of the bedrock. I think this year I enjoyed the instrumentals and tune-sets more than the songs. The ones composed and led by Phil Cunningham and Russ Barenburg were strong and melodious. Meanwhile Mike McGoldrick can do no wrong. His understated accompaniment on whistle and flute was always a highlight and the slow air he led on the uilleann pipes was for me the most beautifully moving music played all night.

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