I DRAW SLOW : WHITE WAVE CHAPEL (Independent / Pinecastle US)
The third album from this five-piece Dublin string band sees them further hone their increasingly confident and distinctive blend of American bluegrass and Irish sensibility into something special – a kind of greengrass, perhaps. What was once hesitant now sounds assured, and that spine of American folk and bluegrass seems a perfect fit for these tales of loss and losing.
Louise Holden, an Irish Times journalist in her other life, has emerged as a singer of real character and charm and, along with brother (and guitarist) Dave, writes 12 of the 13 tracks. The songs are mostly rooted in the percussive sound of driving double bass, fiddle and claw-hammer banjo, notably All Souls and Bread & Butter. But they can also display more subtle shades: Souvenirs, Grand Hotel, Springtime, Old Wars and the single Valentine all carry that IDS signature of mystery and melody, new takes on familiar terrain.