West County, Ennis
Saturday January 31st 2009
Four stars ****
"The enormous drawing power of 70s/80s traditional group Stocktons Wing was confirmed on Saturday night last, with 1,500 devotees showing up in the bands home-town for a once-off, rollicking romp through their eclectic back catalogue. Minus the talents of the Wings regular banjo/mandolin player Kieran Hanrahan for the night, his absence was more than made up for by a sterling display from stand-in Enda Scahill. The Galway mans ornate mandolin began the show with Drops of Brandy, as Maurice Lennons compelling fiddle soared over and gradually cajoled the other group members into the icebreaker - laying down a definite marker for a rambunctious and utterly compelling performance. Miss McLeods Reel affords the basic footing for Mike Hanrahans Beneath The Shade, with Paul Roches lilting whistle lifting the song to lofty and lark-like heights. The introduction of guests, Tony Molloy (bass), Steve Flaherty (electric guitar) and Danny Byrt (drums), generated an upsurge in intensity, particularly on Walk Away, with Flahertys searing solo adding an extra dimension to the popular song. Guest singer, Eleanor Shanley rendered a rousing version of Stephen Fosters Hard Times, while an innovative bodhrán solo by the peerless Tommy Hayes added to the diverse and entertaining nature of the overall presentation.
The low-key, banjo/jaws harp introduction from Scahill/Hayes to
The Maid Behind The Bar, signalled a calm-before-the-storm
approach, culminating in a manic and uninhibited version of the old reel.
With a fiddle/flute/banjo axis, underpinned by Byrts Ceili band
style drumming, an explosive Chicago Reel extracted gasps and howls of
approval from the large and frivolous audience. Though hindered somewhat
by an obdurate room, sound-wise and pockets of boisterous revellers in
the throng, Stocktons Wing magnificently soared above perceived
adversity to produce a memorable and satisfying recital that hopefully
will re-emerge again, in the not too distant future."
Gerry Quinn - The Irish Examiner
Joe Sasfy, Washington Post
"Versatility is the watchword of Stockton's Wing.
They are equally adept at crafting stirring traditional tunes as they
are with more sensitive vocal melodies. They transform regional roots
into a vehicle for universal communication."
Mike Van Niekerk, The West Australian
"Stockton's Wing hit the target, melody lines darted
this way and that, imparting a lilting, carefree sweep, before kicking
Jim Sullivan, Boston Globe
"They're always great value for money and provide
an infectiously lively night out. Don't miss 'em - you don't get the chance
to see them too often."
Philip Nolan, Evening Press
"Stockton's Wing had the crowds crying and smiling
to syncopated solos of flute, banjo and fiddle."
Andrew Brock, The Age
"As folk musicians, the band has virtuosity to spare
- particularly fiddler Maurice Lennon and flautist Paul Roche."
Jon Pareles, New York Times.
"The accomplished five-man group, Stockton's Wing,
provided compelling music old and new. Its instrumentals were as lyricism
itself, while its songs were as lusty and likable as the performers themselves."
Samala Harris, The Adelaide Herald
"The great thing about Stockton's Wing is that they
are never the same; one year there will be a rock edge, another jazz yet
again some acoustic divergence."
Laurie Devine. Dirty Linen
"Then came Stockton's Wing, concentrating on what
they do best, blistering sets of tunes and stunning musicianship. Their
songs and arrangements had very effective dynamic and tonal variety so
that when they really let go they took the roof off."
Ken Ferguson, The West Australian
"Stockton's Wing displayed all the fire, drive and
technical virtuosity that are fast winning them new friends."
Sue Wilson, The Scotsman
"They were eclectic, electric, passionate, personal,
innovative and powerful."
Ronnie Lundy, The Louisville Times "Letting Go opens a vivid new chapter in the long running sucess story of Stockton's Wing, an outfit widely regarded as the academy Of Excellence of Irish music. Many of Ireland's finest musicians have graced the rank's of Stockton's Wing contributing to an impressive body of work which has consistently pushed back the boundaries of traditional Irish Music"