This new Celtic music is an incestuous scene, and players keep popping up on each other’s albums as if they were old Blue Note blowing sessions. In addition to playing accordion on Madden’s album, John Whelan has a new solo CD called Celtic Reflections (Narada). Although he’s been steeped in the folk tradition since he began recording in 1980 at the age of 14, for Celtic Reflections he’s opted for the mystical side of Ireland. He sets his button accordion in a chamber ensemble that includes keyboards, guitars, bass, uilleann pipes, flutes, and whistles from virtuoso players like Jay Ungar and Jerry O’Sullivan. The reedy sound of the button accordion gives Celtic Reflections a slightly edgier feel than many cosmic Celtic albums, and he balances the searing beauty of “Longing for Home, Longing for Here,” with the rollicking “Dancing to a Lot of Time.”
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