is a group that has been playing since 2005 and their experience shows! A Dutch band with their roots firmly planted in a base of Irish folk, they have no problem mixing it with other styles and genres, and making it sound awesome. But to prove their excellence in the Irish scene, they are the only Dutch band ever to have been invited to
(2013), a large international festival and competition for Irish Folk musicians.
This year they have released their fifth album, The Cure For Anything. The band describe it as showing their nine year journey to find their musical power and identity. If that is the case it certainly sounds like it has been an interesting journey.
The first track is called
It immediately shows that combination of musical styles, as it is definitely Irish, but with lots of Bluegrass sprinkled on top. A combination that makes sense, as modern day Irish folk and Bluegrass share the same origin. But that is not all there is to this song. If you are a visual thinker, like I am, it is very easy to see a story unfold during this song. Chasing someone down the streets and narrow alleys of Abu Dhabi isn’t a very far fetched idea and that adds just a little middle eastern touch to it all.
Next up is the song
Where the previous track conjured up images of a fast pursuit through a busy city, this song makes me think of a camp-fire on a beach, between an forest and a lake, dancing and singing and sharing this song with friends. During this song they sing “Harmony Glen is forever our love”. Well, I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I certainly love it!
The third track of the album picks up momentum again, as
Lay Down Rosie
blasts through the speakers. The vocal in this song is a bit more raw, which fits perfectly with the overall sound. The flute play adds just that touch of light that makes this song more cheerful.
When listening to
The Charlatans Barnacle
it’s hard to choose between taking a sip of good old moonshine or some fine Irish whiskey. But either way, the song is a feast for the ears and it feels like a party! The song seamlessly moves into…
again a different musical style, but very fitting. A song with very soothing vocals that allows everybody that jumped on the dance-floor during the previous track to pair up and do a little one on one dancing.
Pleasant and Delightful
is very much that, pleasant and delightful to hear. A storytelling, acapella sung, accompanied by sound of the sea shore, it is very easy to close your eyes, envision this song being sung in a harbor pub and let your emotions run free.
Flight of the Mimosa
is one of those rare songs where there is a lot of energy from the start, yet is does feel like it’s continually building up. It gives a very “Irish Traditional” feel, but it incorporates a middle eastern atmosphere without any problem.
Rest My Little Son
is a song from a mother to her sleeping son. It starts off very touching and emotional, but as the song progresses the music becomes very powerful. It speaks of the darker sides of life, but also that we can make a difference. This song went straight through my ears into my soul. I would easily call it inspiring.
I can imagine
Another Summer’s Morning
being played fifty or a hundred years from now as a “traditional”. To me it has all the elements of the great songs of the past and I can envision versions of this song being played by a duo in a pub or an orchestra on a massive stage. The harmony towards the end of the song is amazing and invites you to sing along at the top of your lungs.
Breath of Pale
calmly follows, bringing an overwhelmingly warm feeling. Definitely a song to enjoy with your eyes closed, letting your mind wander.
After a deep song like Breath of Pale, hang on to your boots as
makes you want to jump up and dance again! The essence of the song is “No matter how far I am, don’t come to find me, I will come home one day”. Though the song speaks of past experiences, and correcting them, it’s great to shout along to when heading home from work, or especially when heading to or from a festival!
Midwinter’s night starts off feeling very medieval. The sound is very different from that of the rest of the album. However, if you only heard this song you would think that this is the type of music Harmony Glen normally plays, as it sounds very natural. Halfway through the song it seamlessly moves into other styles, more modern, then somewhat Eastern European, and then back to the medieval feel. An awesome display of musicality!
Then, as if to remind everyone, the album turns back to the Irish roots with
A fast reel, I don’t know if there is anyone that is capable of sitting still during a song like this. Feet of flames anyone?!
Harmony Glen on this performance:
“This is us playing Thelonious’ Fancy at the Senior Céili Band Competition, Fleadh Cheoil 2013 in Derry. It was amazing how those 2500 people couldn’t resist and started clapping and cheering 🙂 We had so much fun!”
comes the sun. Well, there is no darkness on this album, but there sure is a lot of sunshine! The song is very uplifting and it is very fitting to have this as last track on the album, because you’ll keep smiling for hours after this. Whatever happens, after darkness comes the sun!
On the website of the band they speak of nine years of ups and downs. Well, the only ups and downs on this album are in the form of energy. The variation of the tracks is amazing and together they deliver a very balanced album. The quality of the tracks starts off very high and remains at that extraordinary level from start to finish, no downs there. I do wonder however. Even though Irish folk is the basis on which Bluegrass and ultimately all Country music is built, these two styles have their own fan-base. Does the band appeal more to one than the other? Or perhaps they can bring both together. Either way, I would think that Harmony Glen is due for a massive North American tour, as this is the home of Country music and of course home base for a huge group of Irish descendants as well as other Folk-lovers. So if you’re in North America, contact your local radio stations and events organizers!! Let’s help a great band get a great tour!
Although all of the tracks have their appeal and their own beauty, picking a favourite track was actually rather easy. I absolutely love how
Rest My Little Son
conveys the love of a mother and how it touched my heart. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the song is just inspiring!
This album plays a lot in my house or car, especially whenever I need a shot of happy energy. I would suggest that everyone buys the CD. If not for the amazing music, then to help you lift your spirits whenever you need it!