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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New from Ross Crean- Lullabies for Trying Times

Lullabies for Trying Times cover art
Well, Celtic Thunder is on tour again, a brand new tour of holiday songs performed with local orchestras, a grand symphony tour that also debuts the new Emmett, who joined the group as Emmet Cahill left to pursue other projects. Emmett O'Hanlon has a powerful voice and the requisite good looks to join the rest of the oh-so-dreamy Celtic Thunder lads as they travel the States singing for Thunderheads. George Donaldson's lower voice has yet to be replaced, so the group sounds a bit less grounded now than what I am used to, but they still sound great. 


Meanwhile the rest of the music world has been busy. In particular, Ross Crean, the Chicago musician and composer whose earlier album Blackwater introduced his luscious-sounding Irish side, has a new Irish album. Ross writes and performs a lot more than 'just' Irish music, including movie scores, and a range of sounds drawing from techno, electronica, rock, rap and pretty much anything else that catches his imagination. My favorite music out of his vast repertoire is probably always going to be his Irish songs though, both the traditional songs and his Irish-inspired originals. This week his brand new album, Lullabies for Trying Times came out, not just Irish songs, but Irish lullabies!

My readers on this blog might have noticed how much I like Irish lullabies, so it should come as no surprise that this is the album whose release prompted my returning to writing here (after George died I really haven't listened to much Irish music of any kind since, till Ross sent me his album). On his website, Ross says that this new album was created for his mother Charleen, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in July of this year. He finished making the song "Siuil a Run" just in time for her to enjoy it before she died, a special gift for her then, just as the rest of the album is a fitting memorial for her now.

Roughly half of Lullabies for Trying Times is made up of traditional Irish lullabies sung in Irish. I've heard some of these before, but not all of them. I do have a couple renditions of "Cronan an Maighdinn-Mhara" in my Irish playlists, but not many, and while most fans of Irish music know 'Siuil a Run', Ross gives his rendition a special twist of his own. One of my favorites, "Taladh Chriosta", made it onto this album too. I keep wishing Celtic Thunder would record this song, but unless Ross teams up with them for this song, this recording may be the closest I've heard to what I want this song to sound like. (Now there's a crazy dream scenario- Ross Crean singing with Celtic Thunder, highly unlikely, but it would sound lovely.)

Mixed in with all the Irish are 5 other lullabies in English, including a couple originals that set the tone for the overall album. I'm afraid my ears still go straight for the Irish right now, but the English tracks are good too. Another of the songs I always think incorrectly that I've heard the Celtic Thunder lads sing, "All Through the Night", may be my second favorite track on Ross's album. I still want Celtic Thunder to arrange this one for all 5 voices, but in the meantime since the fellow I'd pegged for this song, solo, was George...  Anyway, I really like Ross's rendition of this song. And, if I was a guy, I'd still want to have a singing voice like Ross has.
And, of all the albums currently hanging out with the Byrne and Kelly album on the itunes World Music charts, this is one of the few I'd not mind seeing ahead of Ryan and Neil in the rankings this season.

Lullabies for Trying Times was released November 18, 2014, and is now available on cdbaby, itunes, bandcamp and spotify.  You can find out more about Ross Crean on his website and on facebook


"Lullabies for Trying Times" is a collection of Gaelic and English lullaby songs, which Ross Crean created for his mother, Charleen, who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in July of 2014. "My mother begged me for years to record a lullaby-type album," Crean said, "as did many of my friends who were having children. The only thing they all requested was that I make it listenable and interesting for them as adults, so I chose a few traditional favorites as well as composing a few original songs."
- See more at: http://www.rosscrean.com/whats_new/lullabies_for_trying_times_out_now/#sthash.fkjoFWd2.dpuf
"Lullabies for Trying Times" is a collection of Gaelic and English lullaby songs, which Ross Crean created for his mother, Charleen, who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in July of 2014. "My mother begged me for years to record a lullaby-type album," Crean said, "as did many of my friends who were having children. The only thing they all requested was that I make it listenable and interesting for them as adults, so I chose a few traditional favorites as well as composing a few original songs."
- See more at: http://www.rosscrean.com/whats_new/lullabies_for_trying_times_out_now/#sthash.fkjoFWd2.dpuf

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