Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill Live in Seattle Green Linnet Records
World-class fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill began their decades-long partnership as a jazz-rock fusion experiment, the tone of which has since shifted toward County Clare, the area of Ireland’s western coast Hayes’ musically-inclined clan calls home.
Hayes—winner of six All-Ireland fiddle championships—was reared under the tutelage of a concertina-playing grandmother, fiddling uncle, and prominent Celtic-rock father, P.J. of the Tulla Ceili Band, all of whom young Hayes left to persue rock ’n’ roll dreams in America. Home has hung about in his style, however, as evidenced on Live in Seattle.
The album is a mélange of reeds, hornpipes and jigs linked together by a slow, lyrical approach to Celtic music and the subtle nuances of Cahill’s accompaniment. Stripped-down versions of traditional tunes leave space for Hayes to join contemporary style to the classics. Medleys are a specialty; one track showcases 11 songs that flow from foggy melancholy (“Port na bPucai”) to buoyant optimism (“Exile of Erin”).
Beyond blarneying, Hayes and Cahill weave tradition and modernity into a sound all its own. (Jonathan Stumpf)
Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill perform Saturday, April 14, at 8 PM at The World Theater, 2023 S. Higgins Ave. $16.