FOLK ROOTS October '97

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Fresh as Spring breeze and twice as unexpected Emer Mayock's first album Merry Bits of Timber created quite a buzz when first unleashed in Ireland late last year. The Co. Mayo native let loose at large a talent until then best known and kept within the session circuits of Dublin and Cork. Hearing Merry Bits of Timber is like hearing Matt Molloy for the first time. Here is a fresh new slant on flute and whistle techniques, yet one which is very accomplished and possesses a maturity beyond its creator's 24 years. The Selma Jigs lays down the gauntlet while Donal Siggins' mandola and banjo provide the appropriate suspense to eerily underpin Flathunters. Robert Harris' Eastern inclined percussion adds a mystical touch to Great Denmark Street while both John Doherty's and The Leg in the Ditch fire on all cylinders in a rush of energy. The quieter more thoughtful strains of Gaoth Barra na dTonn and an original waltz, The Changelings find the necessary sensitivity and understatement. Emer Mayock's playing has dexterity and style and Merry Bits of Timber is a stormer of a debut album.
John O'Regan