Down the Old Plank Road (w/ John Hiatt, Bela Fleck, Jeff White and Tim O'Brien)
Country Blues (w/ Buddy & Julie Miller)
Sally Goodin (w/ Earl Scruggs)
Dark as a Dungeon (w/ Vince Gill)
Cindy (w/ Kentucky Thunder & Ricky Skaggs)
Molly Ban (Bawn) (w/ Alison Krauss)
Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (w/ Lyle Lovett)
Medley: Ladies Pantalettes; Belles of Blackville; First House in Connaught (w/ Bela Fleck)
Whole Heap of Little Horses (w/ Patty Griffin)
Rain and Snow (w/ The Del McCoury Band)
I'll Be All Smiles Tonight (w/ Martina McBride)
Tennessee Stud (w/ Jeff White)
Katie Dear (w/ Gillian Welch & David Rawlings)
Give the Fiddler a Dram (Finale)
Now that bluegrass is (again) momentarily cool, leave it to the Chieftains to (again) plunge an all-star country cast into the Celtic wellsprings of old-time music, just as they did 10 years ago with 1992's Another Country... more ». It's no surprise that the Chieftains can handle the rapacious rhythms of a hot fiddle tune; whether they can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Tim O'Brien, Béla Fleck, Ricky Skaggs, and Del McCoury is another matter. Rest assured they can, and they even coax some inspired jamming from Earl Scruggs--who sounds like he has something to prove on "Sally Goodin"--and a chilling vocal from Alison Krauss on "Molly Ban," the Celtic equivalent of "Fair and Tender Maidens." The Chieftains' only miscue comes in wasting Vince Gill's talents on a busily arranged "Dark as a Dungeon." While this set will likely appeal more to fans of contemporary Irish music than to hard-core twang fans, anyone who loves acoustic roots music will find these collaborations refreshing, if not down-right bracing. --Roy Kasten« less
Now that bluegrass is (again) momentarily cool, leave it to the Chieftains to (again) plunge an all-star country cast into the Celtic wellsprings of old-time music, just as they did 10 years ago with 1992's Another Country. It's no surprise that the Chieftains can handle the rapacious rhythms of a hot fiddle tune; whether they can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Tim O'Brien, Béla Fleck, Ricky Skaggs, and Del McCoury is another matter. Rest assured they can, and they even coax some inspired jamming from Earl Scruggs--who sounds like he has something to prove on "Sally Goodin"--and a chilling vocal from Alison Krauss on "Molly Ban," the Celtic equivalent of "Fair and Tender Maidens." The Chieftains' only miscue comes in wasting Vince Gill's talents on a busily arranged "Dark as a Dungeon." While this set will likely appeal more to fans of contemporary Irish music than to hard-core twang fans, anyone who loves acoustic roots music will find these collaborations refreshing, if not down-right bracing. --Roy Kasten
Kathleen W. (Kathleen22) from BROCKPORT, NY Reviewed on 7/1/2014...
Very nice compilation of songs; I enjoy this CD quite a bit.
Gregory T. from JACKSONVILLE, NC Reviewed on 9/20/2011...
More bluegrass than celtic but still a fun album.
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I LOVE the Chieftains, but where are they on this album?
bensmomma | Ann Arbor, Michigan | 09/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I can't believe I would even CONSIDER giving less than 5 stars to a Chieftains album, over the years they have been my #1 favorite. I have especially enjoyed their collaborations with artists from other styles of music: county (Another Country), Galicia (Santiago), even pop stars (Long Black Veil). In every case the Chieftain's joy of creating music and the sheer brilliance of their musicianship creates a new blend of their own styles and the styles of the collaborators. Think of "Another Country's" take on Heartbreak Hotel, or Tom Jones singing Tennessee Waltz (!) on the same album.But on this album they seem relegated to the status of a back-up band! You can't hear them at all. Where are the wonderful solos of world-class musicians like fiddler Sean Keane or flautist Matt Meloy? Where is Paddy Moloney's banter? Where is Kevin Conneff's marvelous tenor? The artists that ARE featured are excellent, but they are no longer collaborating with the C's, they are merely using them as studio artists. If you are a fan of the Nashville stars on this album, you will enjoy it, but only on the Finale track do we get anything like enough Chieftains presence for my tastes."
Sharing the Stage
wysewomon | Paonia, CO United States | 11/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One sign of true stardom in the performing arts is the ability to share the stage, not only to let others have their moment, but to let them outshine you. In this respect, the Chieftains truly are stars of traditional music -- something I'm sure we all knew!__Down the Old Plank Road_ features lots of current giants in the Bluegrass & Newgrass scene. Performances range from stunning to amusing, and many both point out the differences as well as heighten the similarities between Bluegrass and its Grandfather, Irish Traditional music. There is a higher proportion of vocal music than you would expect to find on a strictly Celtic album and the arrangements struck me as more Bluegrassy than Celtic, too, with instrumental virtuosity peeking out between the verses of songs rather than taking center stage as much. So if you listen mainly to Celtic music, you might find this odd and unsatisfying. I really enjoyed all the songs, particularly Vince Gill's "Dark as Dungeon" and Allison Krauss' chilling "Molly Ban." The latter was probably the most "Celtic" track on the CD, with the possible exception of Bela Fleck's set of reels. I also liked the finale track, "Give the Fiddler a Dram" quite a bit and appreciated how it gave every player a solo moment -- something that both the Chieftains and Bluegrass tradition often do. I really would have liked the liner notes to be more detailed for this track, though; if you're unfamiliar with the artists' different styles it's hard to know who's doing what.A real treat for fans of Bluegrass and Celtic music alike!"
The Old Plank Road
Paul Egan | Tullaghanogue, Trim, Co Meath Ireland | 03/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Chieftains are in flying form on their latest album where the cream of the twin traditions of Irish Traditional and American Country Music come together for a Seisiun.The album opens with a swirl of the harp strings as the band launch into the title track with vocals from John Hiatt who describes the Chieftains as "the original rock gods".The guest artists come from both the new and the old traditions. They include Martina Mc Bride, Buddy Miller, Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck Jeff White, Vince Gill and many others.On this fourteen track disc there a few stand out songs including:"Molly Bawn" with Alison Krauss."Cindy" with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. "Don't let your deal go down" by Lyle Lovett.Perhaps the best of all is a song that has been slaughtered in many a singing pub by a "musician" engaged in mortal combat with a drum machine. This is by Vince Gill one of the biggest stars in Nashville, he sings " Dark as a Dungeon". "Down the old Plank Road" is the Chieftains 40th album and a fitting tribute to Derek Bell their harpist who died recently. . He gave them their unique sound and added much of the humor to their style of playing. I am an a la carte Chieftains fan. I never considered them "rock gods" but I really enjoyed my fifty four minutes "Down the Old Plank Road"."
A Melting Pot of Bluegrass/Celtic Fusion ..........
Joseph Goria | L.A. CA USA | 10/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is so stunning.. Full of heartfelt music that will make you (literally) want to beg for more. Bluegrass is becoming more popular these days, because people WANT to hear the best in music. This album will not disappoint. My favorite tracks would be the title (John Hiatt, of course =).."Country Blues" with Buddy & Julie Miller and "Katie Dear" featuring Gillian Welch & David Rawlings (What a sound!!) I've never been a hugh fan of The Chieftains, but this album will give me more insight into their sound and possibly buy some of their collection. One of the best of 2002, along with Nickel Creek, Paul Westerberg, The Tragically Hip and James McMurtry, etc. Peace - JG "The Bear""
Celtic roots brought into the Old Time Music revival
E. Richard Franke | USA | 09/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album starts with the infectiously fun and drivingly energetic "Down the Old Plank Road." The enjoyment heard in that song between the Chieftains and many of the finest performers of old and new country flows through this album. Each of the songs has charm and is enjoyable, but there are a few that are truly outstanding along with the title track. My personal favorites include "Country Blues," beautifully rendered by Buddy and Julie Miller; Don't Let Your Deal Go Down, a song sung with urgency by Lyle Lovett; a beautiful rendition of a less known version of an American lullaby "Whole Heap of Little Horses", sung by Patty Griffin with a voice that gives me chills; and finally, for sheer fun, Jeff White singing "Tennessee Stud" with the Chieftains weaving a musical tapestry behind the vocals calling this song of an American and his horse to the mythic tales of old, where a champion could always depend on his steed. I love the album and all the collaborations. My only reservation is the obligatory jam session included at the end. While it is traditional for a Chieftain's album and shows off a variety of instrumental virtuosity by the participants, the form is just a little tired and I would have preferred that they have two more tracks highlighting great songs from the American tradition with a Celtic Twist. Still, the album pleases me greatly and I recommend it to anyone caught up in the songs brought back to us by O Brother Where Art Thou, Songcatcher and Down From the Mountain."