Pipedreams was the fourth album release from uilleann pipes and low
whistle player Davy Spillane. The album, co-produced with Davy by
renowned guitarist Anthony Drennan, is substantially new material
composed by Davey. Pipedreams is the culmination of a musical journey
that Davy started with his 'Out Of The Air' album in 1988 and later
progressed with his 'Atlantic Bridge' and 'Shadow Hunter' albums.
Along the way Davy and his band, comprising some of Ireland's finest
musicians have pioneered a unique style and sound that combines Irish
traditional music with, jazz, blues and rock influences.
For the recording of 'Pipedreams' Davy and his band
who include Anthony Drennan on electric and acoustic
guitars, Tony Molly on bass guitar, James Delaney on piano, organ
and synths, and Paul Moran on drums and percussion are joined by
old friends from 'Moving Hearts' days Noel Eccles on percussion,
Keith Donald on sax. As well as ex Stockton's Winger, Tommy Hayes
on Bodhran and Andrew Boland on keyboards.
"For Celtic folk-rock of the smoothest order,
it's hard to beat uilleann piper Davey Spillane, whose latest excursion,
'Pipedreams' takes him yet further into the realms of jazz, although
there are still remnants of tradition to be heard - 'Call across
the Canyon', for instance, with his fluid piping insinuating itself
around elemental cross-currents of percussion, didgeridoo and vocal
whoops, suddenly reveals itself as a slowed-up reel. Once again,
he has surrounded himself himself with first-rate rock and jazz
musicians - some of them, like saxophonist Keith Donald and percussionists
Paul Moran and Noel Eccles, old hands from Spillane's Moving Hearts
days, and there are substantial shades of that band's sound in tracks
like 'Undertow' (another more traditional set). Other tunes, like
the North-Africian-flavoured 'Mistral', with its querulous sax and
keyboard carousel, or the swaying Indian grace of 'Rainmaker', sound
all geared up for the 'world music' market.
The musicianship is superb all round; Anthony Drennan's electric
guitar employs less of the slide work that flavoured the last album,
and James Delany's keyboards add touches of delicate tonal wash
or brassy chunkiness. Spillane's piping is more fluid than ever,
although one can't help pondering the fact that although the disc's
cover picture shows Spillane nursing a fully plumbed-up set of uilleann
pipes, drones and regulators glittering purposefully, you only really
hear the chanter on these recordings.
One is reluctant to carp however, on hearing that chanter sing so
eloquently in beautiful 'Midnight Walker'. In a similarly lyrical,
if more brooding, mood, the album closes with 'Corcomore'
played on unaccompanied low whistle - velvety, haunting and - for
anyone who knows the ruins of Corcomore Abbey
in West Clare - with just a touch of Burren bleakness."
Jim Gilchrist - Cencrastus
"Davy Spillane has a perfect pedigree. In
a Crufts for musical diversity he'd be the odds-on favourite. The
Uilleann piper's fourth solo LP is an aural fireworks display of
solid playing and invention. Producers Anthony Drennan & Spillane
have harnessed this seething energy to a sweetly melodic bandwagon,
driven by Spillane's virtuoso playing. The well-oiled sigh of numb
melancholy on such tracks as 'Shorelines' & 'Midnight Walker'
slips into the shadows of eternal night on some great melty slabs
of pipe, guitar and keyboards. The whole CD possesses a fiery emotional
rush that just oozes class. For once, sumptuous is the word. It's
certainly worthy of greater public acclaim, but to achieve the potential
'crossover' market, maximum radio exposure is essential."
GW - Folk on Tap