The Long Notes launched their new album In The Shadow of Stromboli at Camden’s Underworld in October before they headed north to Scotland and performed at the Tyneside Irish Festival.
Because the musicians are all involved in different bands, as well as having their own individual albums on release, they don’t tend to gig as a unit on a continuous basis.
The Long Notes are Jamie Smith (fiddle), Colette O’Leary (accordion), Alex Percy (guitar/ vocals) and Brian Kelly (banjo/mandolin). They formed the band in 2007 after playing together at sessions in London’s Camden Town.
Over the last five years the band has toured Italy, Austria and Germany as well as Britain and have appeared at major festivals including Glastonbury and Celtic Connections.
This album is a fine testament to their individual and collective talents. It has terrific drive, energy and fire, as befits the title, as well as tasteful and imaginative arrangements impeccably played by the four members and some special guests.
The two vocal tracks are excellent with Alex Percy doing the honours on Solace and Joy, while guest singer Adam Holmes gives a moving performance on the Scottish song Come by the Hills. If you don’t find yourself tapping your feet to this album then I suggest you see your GP as soon as possible.
Galway singer Sean Keane should prove a big attraction on the night also. I have seen him on a couple of occasions and he has the knack of picking just the right song and giving it his own special treatment.
His version of the Sonny Curtis composition I’m No Stranger To The Rain took me by surprise when he recorded it some years ago.
Having seen Sonny perform it on a few occasions I thought it was a strange choice of material for Sean at the time but I was totally wrong. Sean Keane is his own man and seems to able to make a song his own regardless of its origin.
His cover of Richard Thompson’s Galway To Graceland really is terrific and sounds like it was written with him in mind.