Gathering at the River

Gathering at the River
Oak Leaf 2117 - 2004

A collection of sparkling grace notes -- hymns drawn from around the world and elegantly arranged for guitar and Celtic harp. While separating one musician's handiwork from the other isn't always easy, enjoying these beautifully woven collaborations is a breeze.

The melodies are often familiar, thanks in part to modern-day associations with everything from traditional jazz bands ("The Sweet Bye and Bye") to rugby matches (the Welsh evergreen "Cwm Rhondda"). In fact, several songs have become part of the gospel and pop vernacular, including "Morning Has Broken," "Nearer My God to Thee" and "Amazing Grace." Fans of guitarists John Fahey and Leo Kottke, to say nothing of churchgoers, should also recognize "In Christ There Is No East or West," one of the album's highlights. The duo seems perfectly at home with each piece it has selected, whether the arrangement calls for combining a processional pulse with intricate counterpoint or some blues-inspired riffs and bass runs. Not surprisingly, "Amazing Grace" is saved for last, a coda made all the more soulful by the addition of Barnes's uilleann pipes. -- Mike Joyce,The Washington Post


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