Mícheál Healy with Steve Cooney

Fri, Oct 26, 2012, 01:00

Pleckin’ About independent release ***

Banjo albums are hurtling hot’n’heavy from mixing desks, hell-bent on alternatively canoodling with and bludgeoning listeners into submission. Mícheál Healy is still a teen, but his playing wisely favours subtlety over precociousness. Steve Cooney accompanies and assists with arrangements, and Healy siblings Sinéad, Darragh and Gráinne add delicious daubs of colour on piano, harp, accordion and bodhrán. One of Healy’s strengths is his ability to temper his playing so that the melody speaks for itself. Here, tunes breathe free, nowhere more deeply than on The French Waltz, where pinprick precision is threaded lightly through the backbone of a delightful tune. This is a wide- angled debut, with a hint of compositional skills on three tunes: whispering of a musician with a weakness for spectral melody lines and high octane workouts. michealhealy.com

Download tracks: The French Waltz, The American Polka