The Tin Sandwich Band
by Hook or by Crook Claddagh Records***
Harmonicas have made their mark across a raft of traditional music collections in recent years, and many owe their provenance to the playing of John and Pip Murphy, whose paired harmonicas are the defining force of this newly-hewn Tin Sandwich Band. The initial impression is one of soaring pitch, with Benny McCarthy’s melodeon shoring up the treble robustly.
Donal Clancy’s guitar and vocals introduce some welcome, grounding bass lines, and the quartet find full purchase on the reels set, My Love Is In America, where each instrument has room to breathe among arrangements that rightly bow to the melody lines. The Murphys’ handling of the slow air, The Fairy Child, is equally thoughtful, their paired tin sandwiches basking in the plaintive mood of the piece. At times the pitch proximity of melodeon and harmonica can be challenging, but it’s a quirk that sets this collection apart.