Marty Fahey: born and raised in Chicago. Marty credits piano players Eleanor Kane Neary, Mary Mc Donaugh and Nancy Harling for his early tutelage on the piano as well as box players Paddy Gavin (brother of Kathleen) and Paddy O'Brien for his inspiration and aspirations on the box.
This cd is Marty's second full length recording, the first of which was with the well-known Chicago fiddler, Liz Carroll (A Friend Indeed, Shanachie Records) in 1977.
Besides playing music (with Brendan, with The Broken Pledge Ceili Band and other good friends) and helping to raise his family, Marty works as the Creative Director for a National Stone and Tile company.
Brendan Bulger: born and raised in Boston. Brendan specifically credits fiddlers Seamus Connolly and Larry Reynolds for his musical upbringing.(And his brother Chris for dissuading him from playing the box (!) in favor of the fiddle.)
This is also Brendan's second full-length recording, having released his own self-titled solo album two years ago.
Brendan now lives in Chicago and is studying violin-making while playing music (with Marty, with The Broken Pledge Ceili Band, the Sprigs and others) and teaching fiddle lessons as well.
Kathleen Gavin: born in Mayo and raised in Dublin. Kathleen
comes from a well-known musical family in Balbriggan (north of Dublin)and grew up with "music at the house" all the time.
Kathleen credits her father (the late Paddy Snr.), her brothers (Lar, Paddy and Michael) and other close musical
friends for her musical upbringing. She plays the piano and the fiddle.
Kathleen spends her time helping to raise her family and as a Board Member for various charitable and educational
organizations in Ireland.
Kathleen and Marty, who first met at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in 1974 (Listowel), have been friends ever since and both of them were thrilled to be able to collaborate on this project.
Marty and Brendan have played together quite regularly for the last five years and began to work on this project after collaborating on a couple of tracks for Brendan's cd two years ago.
For more details, check out the extensive liner notes (16 page booklet) that accompany the cd.
First review of "Music at the House"
by Earle Hitchner
"Ceol Column", Irish Echo newspaper, NY, November 26, 2003
WINDFALL FROM THE WINDY CITY (excerpt from the full review)
"The face of the CD resembles a black-vinyl LP, and that's intentional. It is meant to take listeners back to a pre-cd, pre-"Riverdance" time, the 1950s, '60s and '70s, when long-playing records of traditional Irish music were often being made with a naturalness, warmth, flow and savor that have somewhat slipped into neglect during the recent rush to stay in sync with musical technology and trends. There is nothing indulgent or frivolous on the CD. It showcases the innate beauty of melodies played by three musicians in total service, not servitude, to them....the results of this approach and mindset are like a long sip of a vintage wine...
Bulger, Fahey and Mayo-born Gavin have made a fiddle-box-piano album with the heady bouquet of such classic trios as Seamus Connolly, Paddy O'Brien and Charlie Lennon, Sean Maguire, Joe Burke and Josephine Keegan,and Andy McGann,Joe Burke and Felix Dolan...
The album's objectives were stated clearly by Fahey and Bulger: to revisit or reintroduce some marvelous older tunes and a few originals, to convey the joy of playing together, to honor mentors and forebears, and to provide a simple, not simplistic alternative to the current showmanship-drenched trend in Irish musicmaking.
"Music at the House" achieves them all."
[Copyright Earle Hitchner. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of author]
Second review of "Music at the House"
by Bill Margeson
Tradition in Review (Irish-American News, December, 2003)
(excerpt from the full review)
"The first album up this month is a fabulous piece of business we just received. It is called Music at the House and features Chicagoans Marty Fahey on box and Brendan Bulger on fiddle, with Dublin's Kathleen Gavin on piano. What an instrumental gem this is!...
The album offers the full measure with 16 tracks, comprising 31 tunes altogether. Wonderful variety...
Each musician is given plenty of room to show off their well-honed skills. This is due, in no small part, to Dennis Cahill's excellent work as producer, Dennis is already recognized as one of trad's great guitarists, and should also soon be ranked as one of the great producers, as his credits continue to build.
Each of these musicians has obviously deep ceili roots, but there is so much more. The ceili really comes to the fore in a sure, determined and straight ahead rhythmic phrasing on all of the tunes...Music at the House shows these players to be incredibly gifted and well-grounded in the entire tradition.
Gavin's sure sense on the piano proved the wisdom of flying her in from Dublin for the work. Bulger's fiddle is perfect throughout, and (try as we might) there is nothing more to say. He is wonderful, Period....Fahey's work on the box is a revelation...(he) has been one of the truly wonderful Chicago musicians for years...he is terrific.
You hear all the background, knowledge and marvelous talent each of these three has acquired and lovingly brought to this album. It is a joy, and these three are obviously having a ball playing the tunes.
Additionally, there is a full set of liner notes that really do a great job introducing the listener to the tunes and the musicians. It also features a great cover, very evocative and original, as well as the most creative label for the actual cd we've seen in years!...
This is one of our favorite albums of the year. Another reason we love this is that these three have refused the current trend of playing everything at 248 mph. We don't know where or why this trend started, but it is evident even in the current releases and concerts by some of the very best in the field. This "speedplaying" is neither pleasing nor traditional... Thank God, these three know and understand the tradition. These tunes are given the tempo to really open to the listener and show the phrasing and intonation that is at the very heart of the tradition.
So here it is. Deeply traditional and thoroughly modern in conception. These three should be very, very proud. They have created a stunner."
Rating: Four Harps
[Copyright, Bill Margeson, Irish-American News,
Christmas, 2003 All rights reserved.]
Check out the artist's website:
1. Jigs: Jimmy Neary's, Tommy Maguire's & Conroy's
2. Hornpipes: The Lone Bush & Eugene Stratton's
3. Reels: Mickey Callaghan's &The Man in the House
4. Jigs: Buttermilk Mary & Failing Memories
5. Air: In Memory of Coleman
6. Reels:The Blackthorn & The Drunken Tinker
7. Jigs: Kit O' Mahony's & Paddy Walshe's
8. Reels: The Girl who Broke My Heart & Maude Miller
9. Hornpipes: St. Gilbert's & The Stage
10. Air: Da Slockit Light
11. Reels: The Chandelier & Christmas in America
12. Slip Jigs: My Mind will never be aisy, Paddy O'Snap & Lough Key
13. Jigs: Dooish & The Musical Manicure
14. Reels: Mc Greevy's & The Humours of Castlefinn
15. Jigs: The Galway Jig & Willie's Fiddle
16. Reel: The Yellow Tinker