The Coming Dawn




“Nightingale is three confident and experienced musicians: Jeremiah McLane (accordion, piano) and Becky Tracy (fiddle), and Keith Murphy (vocals, mandolin, guitar). This, their debut recording together, showcases a solid ensemble and some of the finest contra-dance playing I’ve heard. I’d drive a long way to a dance they were playing-and I can’t even dance! The trio has obviously logged scores of hours listening to great traditional and revival musicians, and hundreds more hours playing the music; they’ve settled into a synthesis of the best of what has gone before, from Quebecois style (including the infectious dancing feet we’ve all grown to love) to revival Irish to classic contras, all presented with energy and delight. Fiddler Tracy provides the most exciting moments. She has wonderful lift, drive and scrape to her playing; she’s not afraid to take chances and they always pay off. Her slow airs and song accompaniments are smooth, soothing and beautifully phrased. Murphy’s guitar and mandolin playing are keen and precise, from quiet melodies to propulsive backup. He’s a master of middle-voices-and-drone open-tuning Irish style, but can ker-chunka-chunka French-Canadian swing style with verve. McLane is that rare piano accordion player, a musician rather than a button pusher. He plays with restraint and ingenuity, phrases beautifully, enjoys changing textures and goes a long way toward improving the reputation of his often-maligned instrument. The trio understands that “less is more”-they play with many combinations of solo and duo voices before kicking into ensemble sections, and they build a medley masterfully. Murphy’s warm, poignant voice, reminiscent of Dannie Carnahan, suit his guitar-mandolin style; his best songs are “Trios-Navires” and “Tickle Cove Pond,” both Canadian. Producer Pete Sutherland has done a great job-all the instruments have depth and clarity and sit together very naturally in his mix. This recording is a pleasure from start to finish.”


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