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Knight, Sharon: Song of the Sea

Celtic mysticism, catchy pop, and lush progressive rock are all the rage on the latest from singer Sharon Knight, Song of the Sea. After my second listen I was thinking that Sharon's approach is sort of like Stevie Nicks gone folky prog with an emphasis on Celtic imagery and instrumentation. That's kind of what you get here, and Song of the Sea is a pleasant and enchanting listen, thanks to Knight's alluring vocals and the lush arrangments on the CD's eleven songs. The multitude of instruments performed on the CD include acoustic & electric guitars, violin, mandola, mandocello, bass, keyboards, percussion, bodhran, whistles, and uilleann pipes, giving the music a very folky, Celtic flavor and feel. Sharon proves to be a very capable musician as well as singer, as she adds some strong mandola and keyboard work to the instrumentals "The Well" and "Brian O"Lynn/Pipe on the Hob". All the musicians participating on this album are stellar, especially the guitar work of Winter, who also co-produced and engineered the album alongside Knight. I especially liked the longer, more mystical and progressive pieces, like "Captain Blackheart", "King Willie", "Lagan Love" and the enchanting title track. Being a fan of Renaissance and Jethro Tull cetainly made these songs pleasing to my ears.

So grab a copy of this CD, find a seat on a comfortable couch, put on some headphones, read along with the intriguing lyrics, and get swept away by the Celtic sounds of Sharon Knight.

Track Listing
1. Star of the Sea
2. Phoenix from the Ashes
3. Lagan Love
4. The Well
5. Siren Moon
6. I Fall to my Knees
7. Captain Blackheart
8. King Willie
9. May Morning Dew
10. Brian O'Lynn/Pipe on the Hob
11. Song of the Sea

Added: November 19th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Sharon Knight Website
Hits: 2904
Language: english

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Knight, Sharon: Song of the Sea
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-11-19 15:09:43
My Score:

One of the many things that defines Celtic music is its inclination to tell long and involved stories - and singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sharon Knight embraces that element to good effect.

Comparisons with Loreena McKennitt are inevitable, yet Knight's music is somewhat different - it is a blend of Celtic and pop which makes it more approachable and more mainstream, and less ethereal and eclectic. What is common though is the classic Irish ambience of the music, much of the instrumentation, and of course, that ability to weave a yarn through her prose.

Nine guest artists contribute to this effort with vocals and the standard rock ensemble, as well as a list of such unusual instruments as mandolin, mandola, mandocello, uileann pipes (recently made famous by Troy Donockley of Iona), whistles, bodhran (a percussion instrument), and violin. Just for clarity - the mandolin / mandola / mandocello share a similar relationship to one another in size and tuning we find in the violin / viola / violincello (note the equivalent suffixes in the instruments' names). It is the mandolin and its bigger brothers that yield much of the atmosphere common to so many Celtic oriented songs, yet the rich and more pleasing tones of well played acoustic guitars save this music from those jangly tones that often make mandolin-oriented Celtic music a challenge.

Standout tracks are "Siren Moon", "I Fall to My Knees" and the title track. "Lagan Love" is a soft ballad with Sharon singing strongly over an acoustic guitar, very soft bass and with soft female backing vocals. Very 'olde-worlde', and probably the best showcase for her rich, pure timbre and good vocal control. In contrast, "King Willie" is a humorous piece with the jaunty style of an Irish jig. The violin line in "Siren Moon" and "Star of the Sea" add a nice texture.

Song of the Sea is not progressive in the style of an Iona, nor is it the pure Celtic music of Avalon Rising and Clannad, nor the rock of Mostly Autumn or Karnataka, nor the wraithlike mysticism of McKennitt or Candice Night. Instead it is a blend of all of those styles, and it should consequently find a wide audience across a range of genres.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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