Martin Hayes & the Common Ground Ensemble have today released their brilliant debut album, Peggy’s Dream via Faction Records.
Dedicated to his recently passed away long-time collaborator Dennis Cahill and his mother Peggy, Peggy’s Dream is yet another impressive showing by world-renowned fiddler Hayes, but it couldn’t have been achieved without The Common Ground Ensemble.
The group, which consists of Cormac McCarthy (piano), Kate Ellis (cello), Kyle Sanna (guitar) and Brian Donnellan (bouzouki/harmonium/concertina), create riveting, traditional Irish songs that still manage to blend that contemporary sound Hayes’ group The Gloaming are so well known for.
‘The Boyne Water’ and ‘Johnny Cope/Hughie Travers’ Reel’, for instance, sees the group work up a storm, with Hayes fuelling it from its centre. ‘Toss The Feathers/The Magerabaun Reel’, the final track, does likewise with Cormac McCarthy shining with some pacey (jazzy, even) piano before Hayes carries the song to its brilliant crescendo.
It’s not all breathless belters, however, as the band counterbalance the first half of Peggy’s Dream with subtler songs in the second. Tracks ‘Garrett Barry’s Jig’, ‘The Glen Of Aherlow’, and ‘Aisling Gheal’ each stir in you sentiments only trad seems capable of stirring.
A truly flawless first effort from Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble, Peggy’s Dream is not only the latest exhibition of Hayes’ talent, it is another reminder of how traditional Irish music continues to find its place in the modern world.
Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble play a sold-out show at the National Concert Hall on March 26th and Vicar Street on October 20th, with tickets for that show available here.
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