'Atlantic Bridge', the first solo album from Davy Spillane took on
a totally new musical direction with Davy being accompanied by not
only the cream of Irish musicians, (i.e. fellow members of Moving
Hearts) but also by the legendary guitar player Albert Lee, bluegrass
and country music stars Jerry Douglas on Dobro, and Bela Fleck on
Banjo (these three musicians have all been nominated for Grammy awards).
'Atlantic Bridge' fulfilled Davy's dreams of combining
the best of Irish and American traditions, enriching and complementing
both without compromising either. This is compelling music, and
as producer P.J. Curtis says in his notes "Listen and enjoy".
"For me Davy Spillane has always been the melodic linchpin of
Moving Hearts' exciting brand of fusion music, his fluid, imaginative
style being the source of some truly wonderful peaks, most notably
on the band's last album, on tunes like 'Finore' and 'Peader O'Donnell.
'Atlantic Bridge' sees him forging new alliances, with such
stellar company as Albert Lee, Gerry Douglas, and Bela Fleck, and
it's a measure of the man's assurance and talent that he is not
in the least overshadowed in their company.
The album kicks off with a set of his own reels, beginning slowly
with just an acoustic guitar backing, the arrangement builds till
Albert Lee takes a peerless solo, and from then on it's into some
beautifully controlled, but still passionate playing from all concerned.
The title track, which follows, is a true meeting of minds, commitment
and generosity being the keynote: Davy, Bela and Jerry swop licks
and ideas as if they were going out of style, but at no time do
they succumb to the understandable temptation to indulge in virtuosity
for its own sake. Every note and change in tempo has its place and
purpose. The feel from this track is reminiscent of the finest moments
of Douglas' 1986 solo set 'Under The Wire' itself a true testament
to instrumental excellence.
As riveting as his collaborations with the assembled stars are,
the stark 'Tribute to Johnny Doran' is the best indicator of Davy
Spillane's remarkable musicianship. Bereft of any accompaniment,
he turns in a truly breathtaking performance of pipering in the
travelling style on a superb brace of reels.
Produced with craft and affection by P.J. Curtis, 'Atlantic
Bridge' is a testimony not just to great talent but also to the
power of music as a form of communication transcending cultural
differences and even language itself. its a major achievement of
which one and all involved can be proud."
Oliver P. Sweeney - Hotpress
"Seemingly divergent musical styles have, on occasion, been
successfully fused, but rarely with as satisfying a result as Davy
Spillane's, ground-breaking offering, Atlantic Bridge. Spillane,
one of a few original Moving Heart members to contribute to this
collection, is one of the most accomplished and respected uilleann
pipers in the country.
His still, almost unemotional composure on the live stage belies
a tremendous forcefulness and mastery of both traditional and contemporary
The man's accomplishment on the pipes and his re-weaving of
traditional airs is the primary thread which runs through the ten
tracks, but Atlantic Bridge is no collection of Irish trad music
solely. It represents, as the title suggests, the coming together
of all-American country rock, bluegrass and contemporary sounds
with the ethnic Irish strains.
Certainly, Spillane's piping is the peg upon which the album
hangs, but almost equal credit must go to the others who have made
the collection possible. The opening track, Davy's Reels, is a perfect
intro with uilleann pipes laying down the rhythms to be closely
followed by the gradual build-up of bodhran, bass, drums and eventually
guitars. The effect is tremendous with such musical masters as Albert
Lee (lead guitar), Greg Boland (electric rhythm guitar), Eoghan
O'Neill (bass), Christy Moore (bodhran), Noel Eccles (percussion)
and John Donnelly (drums). Apart from Albert Lee, almost every other
contributor has nearly togged out with Moving Hearts - arguably
one of the finest Irish groups of all time - at some stage along
The second track Atlantic Bridge has got to be the high point
of the collection. With Ry Cooder-ish high-strung steel guitar from
Eoghan O'Neill and tennessee mountain-type five string banjo from
Bela Fleck, the number is based on all-American sounds interspersed
with the good ol' Irish airs. It is the type of cut that will appeal
to all types of musical tastes, and one which lucidly proves the
close natural links which exist between most strains of ethnic and
The rest of the numbers vary from a collection of Spillane-arranged
trad tunes on Tribute to Johnny Doran, to the Lennon/McCartney
classic In My life.
Other gems include River Of Gems, with sounds closely resembling
O'Riada's Mna na hEireann, and Silverish which could have been used
on the backing for Cimino's Heavens Gate, such is its richness of
western influence. On this particular track the banjo playing of
Bela fleck is something to hear.
Atlantic Bridge is destined to become one of the great albums
of the 80s."