The Barley Grain

By Larry Kinsella

Five comments

Larry Kinsella

Larry is from Wicklow and his father, Lar Kinsella, was a well known melodeon player in the push and draw style.

I’m not sure about this album though. His playing is sweet and clean but the recording is badly organised. A repeated trick is that Larry plays the first tune of a set (usually the reel sets) and Gavin Ralston enters on the second tune. This gets tedious. He also plays reels slower than what one might be used to and, in my opinion, he is losing the drive. Its possible to play at that speed and put in drive or feeling but this CD lacks that quality. However, the supporting musicians are quite spectacular (Gavin Ralston on guitar, Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh on fiddle and Kieran Munnelly on bodhran and flute.)

The tunes are solid and the sleeve notes are comprehensive enough. Though, I can’t recommend it just yet. Maybe it needs more air time, I’ve only received it last night.

As I sit and listen to this CD and read the review above, I am reminded of how one man’s meat is another’s poison and how amazing it is that two people can listen to the same piece of music and hear different things. That having been said there is not much I can say about a review that describes this man’s playing as lacking in drive whilst at the same time describing the guitar playing as “quite spectacular”.I am sure Larry if he were to read it would get a good laugh
To me this is as near as one will get to hearing good concertina playing in your kitchen without all the studio extras. I might be tempted to say that it is the good old style music but the term “old style” has unfortunately acquired negative connotations in some quarters
. A good CD which perhaps reminds us of how contaminated our ears might have become by the large percentage of studio recordings and the “work” done on them.

This, to me, isn’t a good example of a “kitchen recording.” If I want that kind of playing, I listen to Kitty Hayes. This CD just doesn’t make me feel anything inside.

I do like Gavin Ralston. I really like his style of backing and have particularly become interested in dropped D tuning because of him and Paul Brady.

i’ve been playing this cd for a week or so and i like it plenty. it may not go down as one of my rave-faves, but i think it’s lovely. i particularly like the pace. in case that’s not clear, i especially like the absence of, er……“drive.” there is a dreamy feel to it that reminds me of martin o’brien’s recording a year or two back of east clare concertina music. i saw that cd’s ambience described someplace as “elegiac” in feel, and that is also the feeling i get from this one.

gotta say---here is another display of canny project choosing by guest fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

I think its a lovely CD and shows a great respect for the tradition. Good sleeve notes too.