Gatehouse: Heather Down the Moor review – Rollicking Roscommon

Gatehouse celebrate their home place in all its glory

Heather down the moor
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Artist: Gatehouse
Genre: Traditional
Label: Gael Linn

The rhythm and lift of the music of north Connacht and Roscommon is again celebrated in Heather Down the Moor, Gatehouse's second album. Anchored by John Wynne on flute and John McEvoy on fiddle, the organic balance is achieved through Jacinta McEvoy's concertina and guitar and Rachel Garvey's vocals.

But this time around the band have mustered contributions from Alan Kelly on piano accordion and John Joe Kelly on bodhrán, among others. They’ve also drawn from a bigger well, borrowing judiciously from the Sliabh Luachra and Ulster traditions. That widening of the lens has led to a smoothing of the edges and an unequivocal growth in confidence of Gatehouse’s singer, Garvey.

The crystalline slow reel Jack Rowes distilled on guitar and flute lets the tune bask in its simplicity. The closing pair of reels, The Harvest Knot and The Healing Stones, both original Gatehouse compositions, strike a similar deeply rooted chord to that of their exceptional debut album in 2016.

Very occasionally though, the finesse of the arrangements dilutes the essence of what Gatehouse are all about: a celebration of the music and their home place in all its glory.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts