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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Now Listening to- Celtic Thunder: Voyage II :)

I wasn't sure if I would, but yes, I did in fact buy a copy of Voyage II, the CD, recently released by Celtic Thunder. It was very inexpensive, on one of those nifty amazon.com mp3 album promo sales, and I did really want "Girls, Girls, Girls" for my spotify playlists. Ever since my DVD speakers died I've been stuck with whatever music my sad little laptop can play for me, which does not include the songs which are only on the Celtic Thunder DVDs. Sadly, even with the Voyage II CD, I still cannot listen to the trio arrangement from the DVD for "My Lagan Love" in its Voyage II form. Oddly enough, Paul Byrom's voice still chimes in for the Voyage II CD's version of this song, so it is in fact a recording from the Storm era.

There are several tracks on Voyage which are not simply brought forward from other earlier albums, though, so for those of us who have been fans of Celtic Thunder for a few years, there is still reason enough to buy this album. It's not just a starter album for new fans. But, it does seem decidedly tailored as a sort of supplemental album, a bonus of sorts for old fans, and a great introduction to the group for new folks just now being transformed into fledgling Thunderheads.

The fact that the young Mr. Daniel Furlong is featured so much more on this album than on the first Voyage album means that this is the disc new child fans would latch onto. They would of course be very disappointed if Daniel is not being kept on, so we must hope he's still on board; but, so long as he's still singing with Celtic Thunder in the future, Voyage II would be the equivalent of The Show and Act II, and a whole new batch of fans could grow up listening to the maturing voice of the newer CT boy singer, just as fans grew up listening to their beloved "Damo", Damian McGinty, over the past few years. It may not be possible to engineer the kind of synergy that made Damian successful, though, and so it's anyone's guess whether we'll hear much from Daniel through Celtic Thunder this next year. But even I like him a lot more hearing him on this album, and I'm not really a fan of kid-singers in general. He's adorable in "You've Got a Friend In Me" and his voice really helps improve the overall effect of the ensemble in "Danny Boy".

Voyage II sports a lot of rerecordings of older, classic Celtic Thunder tunes, and they're pretty good. "Danny Boy", with Daniel as part of the ensemble, has a few shaky bits in the middle, but the harmonies at the end make this arrangement quite impressive. "A Place in the Choir" (a song I have been in love with since I was 8yrs old, btw) is particularly nice in the Voyage II version. I like the earlier arrangement, with Damian showing off his bass range, but for showcasing the song, this newer recording is far superior. The CD recording of the "Clancy Brothers Medley" is also very good, not better than the version the guys sing on the DVD, and not better than the less dramatized version they sang for their PBS promo spots, but equally as good.

And, of course, there's "Girls, Girls, Girls", an adorable cover of a song by the European pop/rock group Sailor, a group which I am sure few fans on this side of the Atlantic had ever heard of before. I had heard this song, I am sure, as a barbershop song, back when I was in elementary school, but I had no idea where they got it from then. The Celtic Thunder version is really, really good, and its a nice twist from the usual Celtic Thunder sound we're all pretty used to now. Oh, and "My Irish Molly O" is also pretty good. I think because Emmet is so much younger than I am, I am a bit out of the "Emmet" fangirl loop- no, I am not in love with him, and for my taste he's not exactly perfect, though I am glad he has so many fans who think he is. Still, his rendition of this classic Irish tune is gorgeous. Actually, after hearing a few of his off-stage video recordings, I am being slowly won over, not to the extent that most of my fellow tumblr Thunderheads seem to be, but ...

So, if you are on the fence about buying Voyage II, yep there are a lot of 'repeats', but there's plenty more to this one than just repeats of tracks from old albums. And, if you are newer to Celtic Thunder and do not yet have the older albums, this is a really good introduction to Celtic Thunder's musical range and style. There is almost nothing on this album with Ryan Kelly's voice in it, because he was going through a bit of an adventure outside the group last year when the rest of the group was in the studio. But even without him, Celtic Thunder sounds great on these tracks. (Better by far with Ryan included, in my humble opinion, but then he and Neil are my favorites. I am not so sure how long I would remain a devoted fan of the group if those two were to leave.) Now, just over a month left till Keith Harkin's debut album comes out (!!!). In the meantime, Happy Listening!

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