Friday, November 29, 2013

In review---Girl Swing

The Henry Girl
December Moon 
Independent recording

Hailing from Ireland, the sister trio (Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin) The Henry’s Girls are the UK’s answer to Canadian women folk bands the Wailin’ Jennys and the Good lovelies. However, they’re no copycat act since Henry’s Girls possess authenticity while even giving Irish music a facelift on their fourth recording December Moon.  One listen to their cover of Elvis Costello’s Watching the Detective (given a cabaret treatment here) turns heads.  And overall, their harmonies sound more bluegrass swing than Celtic.  The girls add some West African flavors via Gameli Tordzro’s kora on Moonstruck, an interlude sandwiched between the send-up December Moon and the lament Rain and Snow.

Anyone looking for a warm acoustic album (banjo, fiddle, harp, accordion, kora, double bass, dobro, percussion, horns, piano, mandolin, ukulele, and Mexican guitar) will feel right at home with December Moon.  There is electric guitar on Rain and Snow as an atmospheric wash.  The Long Road recalls Quebecois traditional music sung in English.  This song swings like a Good Lovelies tune given a rustic treatment.  The punchy horns wed smoothly to the lush spirited vocals.  Warm piano gives Sweet Dreams a new age feel and it’s the type of song you want to listen to as you drift off each night. And going even deeper in that direction, Aisling features bamboo flute (Tordzro again), chimes and harp.

December Moon is the perfect album for someone who wants to warm up to the season, but prefers not to listen to holiday songs.  Bluegrass swing such as Ol'Cook PotWhen Will I See You Again and Couldn’t Ask for More chase the holiday blues away.  I imagine that sitting still through this album would feel like torture.  This is foot-tapping, and get-out-of-the-chair dancing music with a few quiet breathers tossed in for good measure.  Just think, I’m ending the year with one of the most infectious and delightful albums to hit American shores in 2013.  Go girls!

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