Dirty Linen - 2/04, p.67
"[T]he musical skills are undiminished, making the standard of playing on ANOTHER DAY astonishingly high, these are, after all, among the best Irish musicians in the world."
Solas: Diedre Scanlan (vocals); Seamus Egan (nylon guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, flute, low whistle); Eamon McElhom (acoustic guitar, ceelo, keyboards, background vocals); Winifred Horan (fiddle, background vocals); Mick McAuley (button accordion, piano accordion, concertina, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Bela Fleck (5-string banjo); Chico Huff (bass); Ben Wittman (drums, percussion).
Recorded at Taro Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Solas have a vision that extends past the lexicon of traditional Celtic music. They've covered musical ground that similar groups often overlook, mining the rich catalogues of past and present songwriters like Tom Waits, Nick Drake, and Peggy Seeger, as well as composing their own songs. On their sixth record, Another Day, they take the latter approach, opting for only two covers, a sweet rendition of Dan Fogelberg's "Scarecrow's Dream," and an almost Baroque pop version of Dougie MacLean's "This Love Will Carry." Virtuoso fiddler Winifred Horan's contribution, the elegant "Highlands of Holland," swings and twists, showing off her classically trained chops without being indulgent, and segues flawlessly into Kieran Goss' beautiful ballad, "All That You Ask Me." Accordion player Mick McAuley (who's fine solo record Ocean's Breadth featured alms from the majority of the group) and founding member, guitarist, and producer Seamus Egan are the glue that hold this ship together. Their work on the reels and breakdowns is impeccable, and offers further proof of the band's otherworldly abilities in a live setting. The powerful group vocals that fuel the two Gaelic numbers, "Seoladh Na Naamhna" and "Maire Mhilis Bhrea," remind one of Altan in their prime and illuminate how indispensable each member has become. Another Day doesn't suffer from the over-produced, electronic gadgetry -- even though it sneaks into a few tracks -- that makes contemporaries like Capercaillie sound so chilly. It works because the arrangements are forward-thinking, bursting with energy, and human to the core. ~ James Christopher Monger