For their third release, this Nashville-based folk/country band continue their fascination with theme-based albums.
Their first drew from ghostly tales surrounding a Kentucky mansion, the second was inspired by Italian caves and this one explores the myths and legends from in and around County Antrim in Ireland.
The songs were penned by the group's three core members: Neilson Hubbard, Ben Glover and Joshua Britt and written over a course of a week in coastal locations around County Antrim "where the lushly pastoral land meets the rocky, unforgiving sea". The results were then recorded in situ in St.Patrick's Church of Ireland in Glenarm.
Glover has a direct connection to this part of the world having spent his childhood in the region. The title track features pupils of the primary school he attended.
Many songs are haunted by the ghosts of drowned sailors and doomed maidens but instead of dwelling too much on morbid details, faith brings hope and acceptance in the gospel rhythms of St.Patrick on Slemish Mountain and the mandolin infused folk-rock beats of Black Nun.
In Under the Chestnut Tree, the story of a Spanish nobleman who perished when his galleon sank is given an incongruously cheery arrangement.
The highlights are two songs apparently composed in boats: Children of Lir and Captain's Song (Sorley Boy). The latter is notable for the contribution of a verse sung by the mighty John Prine.
The respect for tradition and authenticity is evident throughout but any darker moods are sacrificed in favor of sing-along, commercially orientated ballads. It's a pity that the band broadly settle for such a safe, radio-friendly format because the stories behind this set of tunes offer far wider and weirder possibilities
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