Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Folk, World Music, New Age, Pop, Rock
A lion of British folk music, guitarist John Renbourn has journeyed further back into his Renaissance and pre-industrial roots since his late '60s tenure as one of the driving forces behind the adventurously jazz-inflect... more »
A lion of British folk music, guitarist John Renbourn has journeyed further back into his Renaissance and pre-industrial roots since his late '60s tenure as one of the driving forces behind the adventurously jazz-inflected Pentangle. Traveller's Prayer finds Renbourn on busman's holiday, casting the album reportorial net west toward Ireland. Chamber-folk settings marry his reliably elegant, lyrical guitar with gentle tattoos of hand percussion, lovely skeins of fiddle, and stately yet concise blooms of wind instruments including clarinets, recorder, uilleann pipes, and whistles. By now, Renbourn can make his underlying erudition sound offhand, mingling Irish planxties, folk songs from both edges of the Irish Sea, Scottish airs, and his own chameleon originals into a seamless, timeless fabric by turns earthy, courtly, and always lovely. Two haunting vocal interludes ("Wexford Lullaby" and the title song) arranged for a lovely mixed quartet, yield a gently haunting whole that will appeal as much to new age and Celtic music fans as his own hardy cadre of British folk loyalists. --Sam Sutherland
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Doesn't change, but keeps getting better
C. H Smith | Bowling Green, Kentucky United States | 12/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Renbourn's style and choice of material has hardly changed since the late 1960s, but his basic starting point is so flexible and--musical--that he still finds new directions to move in. In some respects "Traveller's Prayer" very much resembles in format, material and forces the other small ensemble projects he has been involved in as group leader (specifically, three or four albums as the John Renbourn Group, and one as Ship of Fools), but over his post-Pentangle years he has managed to slowly but surely remove from his music one of its very few weaknesses, a tendency toward over-tension (i.e., being just a bit too tightly wound). "Traveller's Prayer" is totally relaxed, totally balanced, and fully musical--without lacking an appropriate dose of tension and drama in the right places. And we are still offered some real gems of straight virtuostic play on the old 6-string. For those who are unfamiliar with Renbourn, this is the best place to start--though they should be alerted that his catalog is at this point quite extensive, including in addition to the items mentioned several duet albums with country blues master Stefan Grossman, the early Pentangle albums, and over half a dozen solo and small forces albums extending from the mid-60s through the early 90s. The good news is that every one of them is worth getting: Renbourn has never made a bad, or even mediocre, album."
Just about perfect
C. H Smith | 06/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a Renbourn fan starting in his Pentangle days, but since he left that group I think his best work has been his solo albums rather than his collaborations. This album is a glorious exception. Partly it's the people involved: any album that includes fiddler Maire Breatnach and singer Mairead Ni Dhomnaill has an advantage to start with! But every aspect of the album, from the solo performances to the more improvisational group efforts, and the two tightly harmonized vocal arrangements, shows the depth of Renbourn's musicianship. And he's no slouch as a composer, either: he's so comfortable with the Anglo/Celtic folk idiom (not to mention medieval and Renaissance popular music) that I defy anyone to distinguish the composed from the traditional tunes on this album without reading the liner notes. (He's rather cagy about the origins of the title tune, but I heard his group perform it in '88 in Britain, and he said then that he wrote it himself.) Some musicians who were popular 30 years ago have produced nothing but reruns ever since; Renbourn just keeps getting better and better."
A fleet-fingered elf plucking notes of grace
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 02/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard not to lean heavily on the adjectives when trying to convey just how fine "Traveller's Prayer" sounds. John Renbourn, as venerable and talented as any acoustic guitarist, has crafted a collection of traditional material drawn from English and Celtic traditions, but arranged and interpreted in a fresh, at time delicate manner. Many critics have rightly praised this collection, perhaps without pausing to listen to the nuances and subtleties that shimmer and shine. The interplay of guitar, flute, fiddle (not too much fiddle), percussion, recorder, whistles, and voice creates an elemental essence, as though the music is transformed into a sweet smoke. Mr. Renbourn shines thoughout, a fleet-fingered elf plucking notes of grace. A wealth of skilled guests accompany Mr. Renbourn, who in his unassuming way even includes all-vocal tracks. The excellent liner notes explain how these sessions came to be, what Mr. Renbourn set out to, and did, accomplish, and what history accompanies each selection.Part balm, part joy, "Traveller's Prayer" will ease the road before you or brighten your hearth. Share this CD with your quieter friends."