27th April 2018
1. Five And Drive / 2. Wassalou River / 3. Trip To Nova Scotia / 4. Miss Catherine McGoldrick's Jigs / 5. The Soaring Eagle / 6. Angel; Meadow / 7. Black Swan On The Turlough / 8. Simon & Candy's 50th Wedding Anniversary / 9. John Kelly's Concertina / 10. Bakanoba (feat. Fatoumata Diawara) / 11. The Ogham Stone / 12. Bill Malley's Barndance
Don't be deceived by Michael McGoldrick's scant solo output: instead, be excited - be very excited - at the arrival of his new album, 'Arc': his first since 2010, and only his fifth in 22 years. Such unhurried intervals make any McGoldrick release an auspicious event, with each both cementing and extending the flautist, whistle player, uilleann piper and composer's repute as one of today's towering instrumental talents. Heavily edited highlights include co-founding both Lúnasa and Flook; numerous guest appearances with Afro-Celt Sound System, Kate Rusby and Julie Fowlis; a linchpin role in legendary percussionist Zakir Hussain’s globe-trotting Pulse of the World project, and eight years' touring and recording with Mark Knopfler. Alongside his 21-year membership of Scotland's iconic Capercaillie, and his annual turn in The Transatlantic Sessions, McGoldrick also joins Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny, Paddy Glackin and John Doyle in new Irish supergroup Usher's Island. With its pithily apt title, 'Arc' sees McGoldrick both reflecting and building on his trailblazing career trajectory, and the myriad musical adventures it's encompassed, connecting through his Irish roots and Manchester birthplace - where he still lives, and always has - with a worldwide wealth of traditions and contemporary sounds. On the continuity side, McGoldrick's ever-evolving big-band, both live and in the studio, remains anchored by long-time cohorts, including Capercaillie band-mates Donald Shaw (Arc's co-producer) & Ewen Vernal (bass), renowned Dublin guitarist Tony Byrne, and trumpeter Neil Yates, with whom McGoldrick goes back fully 30 years. This last relationship, it turns out, was central to 'Arc''s conception. New in the mix, too, are Sorren MacLean's plangent electric guitar and stirring string quintet arrangements by Shaw, helmed by GRIT Orchestra violinist Greg Lawson. Yates's masterly brass arrangements are more assertively to the fore, while Cosker's agile, forthright drumming – abetted by old-hand percussionists John Joe Kelly (bodhran) and James Mackintosh – lays down freshly spacious frameworks for the kaleidoscopic play of rhythms and time-signatures, all woven through by McGoldrick's sublime aural aerobatics. Also featured is the amazing Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara on the scintillating Afro-funk track 'Bakanoba'. 'Arc' represents a resounding, resplendent, back-of-the-net success.