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Waiting for an Echo (Shanachie)

On Waiting for an Echo, Solas once again extends an olive branch to the fans it lost when the quintet stopped recording albums that were almost wholly Celtic jigs, reels, and airs, and started getting into jazz-pop fusion covers of singer-songwriter material. But rather than return to the stuff it was doing on its first two albums, Solas tries to keep both sides happy on its seventh disc.

Nevertheless, the traditionalists won't abandon Altan and Lunasa for this. Waiting for an Echo is still primarily a folk-rocker, with almost as many jazz and Gypsy influences as Irish ones. But those who've discovered Solas only in the past five years or so should love this. The musicianship is again soaring in its magnificence -- even the band's former fans have to concede this much. Deirdre Scanlon's soft vocals shine on the dusty folk classic "Silver Dagger," while new songs by modern composers Richard Shindell, Casey Neill, and Antje Duvekot should please concert audiences for years. This is possibly the best of Solas's four post-trad releases.

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