Balladeers and Aeronauts by Watercarvers Guild (Nov. 2005)
Surprisingly, outside of the northwest U.S.A, Watercarvers Guild are still a little known band (or should I say trio), however, judging by the quality and content on this album this may soon change. Watercarvers Guild is a band to watch out for!
They are one of the new wave of contemporary acoustic bands, while not exactly 'folk' as we know it in my part of the world, they can play folk festivals, and sit alongside traditional folk bands quite comfortably. I liked the music instantly and I think you will too. They have a musical style that sits firmly in the American folk mode, but the arrangements gently flirt with bluegrass and new contemporary acoustic music. The singing is pleasing to the ear. Embossed by acoustic guitar, a smooth piano and mandolin all pinned by a tasteful bass. All the songs are written by David Casey and for the most part are well crafted. The tunes and lyric style of a couple of them put me in mind of Tanglefoot (Canada). So if you are a fan of Tanglefoot you might well enjoy this album.
Watercarver's Guild is headed by father Darrell Casey on lead guitar, mandolin and backing vocals, with his sons David Casey on lead vocals, guitar, piano, accordion, recorder, bouzouki, and percussion and Nathan Casey on electric bass, fretless bass, and vocals. The trio produces admirably, singing with accompaniment that is very smooth and tight. An extra mention must go to Darrell Casey for his guitar solos. They are well crafted and match the tune without being too fussy, slinky enough to blend in superbly. Keeping it in the family, they are joined on two tracks by cousin Nollaig Casey on fiddle.
The album title and theme are a bit elusive at times but it doesn't matter. You just enjoy the selection of songs. The first song, 'Sailing Away', is not about sailing ships as you might imagine from the title, but turns out to be about balloonist Vincent Lunardi. The next song is 'Captain Maxwell' and is about a sinking ship. 'Waiting For You' has a lot of hidden meaning. After the only instrumental track ,'Carolyn's Ramble to Cashel', comes 'Neil Young Fan'. This and the next song, 'Self Made Man', have to take the prize for being my favourite tracks, but 'Amelia' about Amelia Earhart is also worthy of an extra mention.
The album is well presented and the sleeve notes contain all the lyrics to David's songs. Essential readings if you are to fully appreciate the material.[Peter Massey] Green Man Review
"From the exquisite cry of the fiddle to the sparkling, crispy ring of the mandolin to the warm rumble of acoustic guitar backing heart-centered male vocals reminiscent of David Wilcox, Watercarvers Guild features a wide variety of folk-based songs from those dancing on the edges of bluegrass and country folk to straight-up singer/songwriter styles. Always keeping the journey fresh, upbeat and clear, they deliver a solid disc of ten solid songs, each fully inhabiting its own world. Their ability to blend and move freely between moods and colors is noteworthy and makes "Balladeers and Aeronauts" a recommended album."
Watercarvers Guild, Est.
1973 by Watercarvers Guild (2000)
"These guys are great! Each song on a Watercarvers Guild recording
is distinctive, well-chosen and informed. This is American music
-- no euro-pop here… And the band has real cohesion; each
player is clearly in tune with the other -- listen to the blend and
balance of instrument and voice -- these carefully arranged elements
lend both weight and grace to the stories they tell. This rare quality
of musical intimacy can only come from years of experience and a
profound attention to the craft of songwriting and performance. Highly
Tom Loewe, Host "Notes From Above", Ave
Watercarvers Guild, Est. 1973 by Watercarvers Guild (2000)
“An excellent album that combines beautiful folk ballads and
uptempo, bluegrass-tinged pop. Full of sweet guitar and mandolin
sounds and solid harmonies, this album won’t disappoint even
the most critical acoustic music lovers.”
Brian Hurlbut, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Without a Word by Darrell
Casey (1996) (original fingerstyle guitar)
"Casey’s artful blend of traditional fingerpicking styles
with his modern sensibilities recalls the elegance of Chet Atkins
and the inventiveness of Michael Hedges. But Casey is wholly original,
delivering his intelligent brand of fingerstyle with a sensitive
and refined touch.”
Jon Chappel, Executive Editor of Guitar Magazine
These Good Figs by Darrell
Casey ( 1993) (traditional Christmas on guitar)
“Darrell Casey has given new life to timeless Christmas classics
through his intricate guitar work. These Good Figs quickly became
our most requested CD of the season.”
Steve Blair, Radio Program Director, KMTX/KCAP
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