Review from the Galway Advertiser (Ireland), May 25, 2006
IRISH TRAD albums from Alaska are not what you’d describe as ‘in abundance’ so Land of Sunshine from Pittsburgh born, Anchoraged based Possumato comes as a surprise.
Possumato’s melodeon playing has a lively, sprightly touch, that draws from the more traditional side of the fence, but displays enough ad-libs and flourishes to provide plenty of welcome colour, variety, and freshness throughout the tunes on the album.
Possumato is also happy to let his collaborators shine, as on ‘I Buried My Wife And Danced On Top of Her’ which comes across like a musical duet between Possumato and the nimble banjo picking of Jerry Mulvihill. Laura Mulcahy also contributes a marvelous rendition of ‘Blackwater’s Side,’ the old Irish song that Jimmy Page would later transform into Led Zepplein I’s ‘Blackmountain Side.’ A delight from start to finish.
— Kernan Andrews, Arts Editor, Galway Advertiser
* note: Jerry Mulvihill plays banjo on two album tracks, but not on the one mentioned above: Quentin Cooper is actually the man doing the ‘nimble picking’ on that track!
Review from Sing Out! folk music magazine, August 28, 2006
Irish music was all around when Dan Possumato was growing up in Pittsburgh, but it took a sojourn to Germany, and the purchase of a new button accordion, to bring him back to his first love: the music of Clare and Galway. In this debut CD, he has selected tunes and songs for the C melodeon and D/G button box, and assembled a cast of superb musicians to back him up. From the consistent danceability of the "Bantry Lasses" reel set, to the sweetness of the "Charlotte’s Waltz" medley, Possumato demonstrates both his virtuosity and his deep knowledge of the repertoire. Land of Sunshine has a traditional feel to it, partly because of Possumato’s selections — most of which come from the old time repertoire, but also owing to the accompaniments, which are subtle and supportive. Listen to Quentin Cooper’s guitar work on the waltz set, or Jerry Mulvihill’s banjo playing on the "P.J Hernon’s" jig set and you know that these are sidemen who love the tunes as much as Possumato does. A couple of songs grace the recording, too, by the fine traditional singer Laura Mulcahy. Kudos, too, go to the recording team, which has made the music sound clean and spare.
This is a superb first recording, and a great addition to anyone’s collection of music for button accordion, or just plain great Irish music. — Mary Derosier
Review from Dirty Linen, #128, 2007
Heading across to the United States — and in fact all the way across it — melodeon and button accordion player Dan Possumato is the first Alaskan musician to appear in this column. The Anchorage resident’s Land of Sunshine (self-released BBR-001 2006) is a smooth collection of mostly traditional squeezebox tunes recorded in Ireland with guitar accompaniment and a few bonus additions, like the winsome singing of Laura Mulcahy on a couple of tracks. Possumato is a capable, spirited player, and as the title suggests, this is happy Irish dance music that’s a good antidote for a dark winter night, even one that’s 20-plus hours long.
— Tom Nelligan
Dan is a fine player and this CD is very enjoyable…lots of tunes worth learning, played in decent settings.
Dan lives in my neck of the woods nowadays (Portland, OR) and it is a pleasure to run into him at sessions.
P.J.Hernon’s jig - last track
Sleeve notes say about the first tune on the last track – which is a jig called “P.J.Hernon’s” on the CD – “I got these jigs from Galway box-player Michael Glynn, who told me they have been played in Irish kitchens for over 100 years”.
It’s the “Kerfunten” jig – I never knew Hammy Hamilton was so old !!
Tune Name Correction
Thanks to Kenny for the name correction on the first jig of the last track, as he is quite right. I was misinformed about this tune’s name (P.J. Hernon’s as opposed to Kerfunken) and unfortunately I listed the wrong name in the sleeve notes. I’ve made the correction on this site, and henceforth I will call it by its true name. I ran the sleeve notes and recording by several first-class players in different parts of Ireland and the USA prior to going to press, but no one else caught the obvious mistake. I think I will send Hammy an apology and a CD if I can get his address.
Sorry about that!
You wouldn’t be the first to get a tune title inadvertently wrong on a recording , Dan. Hammy should get a laugh out of it, anyway. I think he would take it as a compliment that a tune he wrote is considered a hundred years old. I enjoyed your CD, nice selection of tunes on it, and hope you make another. All the best.
I’m after a copy of this CD having just got Pulling Out the Stops , great record!
Re: Land Of Sunshine
Track 7b, The Newmarket, isn’t Ray’s Classic (which it automatically linked to). There are many other polkas which have also been called "Newmarket", not currently sure which of these it is.