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New Irish Hymns
Artist: Margaret Becker/ Maire Brennan/ Joanne Hogg
Label: Worship Together.com
I need to start off by saying that I was extremely prejudiced about this album even before I heard it. Even though she now calls Nash Vegas home, Maggie B. is originally from Long Island, NY. I can remember when she was the chick singer at one of the local wine and cheese hangouts, so there is some hometown pride there. As far as Maire and Joanne are concerned, they are my two favorite female vocalists, so I came to this project with high expectations. Were they met? Absolutely without a doubt!
All of the music on the album was written by a 26 year old wunderkid named Keith Getty and it falls into the Celtic circle of things as is obvious from the album title. The majority of the lyrical content was contributed by the girls individually. There is no collaboration between them as far as lyrical content goes. The only drawback that I can see on the album is a lack of vocal interplay between the singers ala Lost Dogs. Margaret sings her tunes with Maire and Jo singing background vocals and the same is true when Maire and Jo take over the lead vocal chores. It is at best a minor gripe and is a matter of my own personal taste. That said, this is one fantastic album. Although it will be classified as a worship and praise project, it is more than that. It is a contemplative study on the awesomeness of our Creator and Lord.
The players on this album are also some of the finest around. Teryl Bryant, Tim Harries, Phil Keaggy, Tim Oliver, Troy Donockley and The Prague Symphony Orchestra Strings, among others lend their considerable talents. Although I said this is a Celtic album, it not a jump up and dance around the house project. This needs to be savored and appreciated like a glass of fine wine that has been aged to perfection. Sit back in a nice quiet room, turn the lights down and feel the presence of God moving through this wonderful music.
Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock 2/28/2002