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The Border Of Heaven - Celtic Music on the American Frontier CD Cover
Image © 2000 Taylor Park Music 

(21 May 2000) The fourth album from Kansas City-based Connie Dover, The Border Of Heaven - Celtic Music On The American Frontier (Taylor Park Music (USA) TPMD0401, 2000) is an eclectic collection that blends traditional Celtic themes with songs of the American west. Dover's earlier albums received international acclaim and include Somebody, The Wishing Well and If Ever I Return. The album was produced in conjunction with Phil Cunningham and is comprised of twelve tracks with instrumental contributions by a bevy of additonal performing artists. Be sure to visit Connie's website for additional information about the album and the artist's career.

Connie's soprano voice perfectly suits the folky themes of her newest album. Songs are sung either in Gaelic or English and most blend Irish and American instrumental themes. The album opens with "The Blessing" sung in Gaelic and combines traditional melodies with additional instrumentation. The traditional American folk song "Sweet Betsy From Pike" has a lovely moving melody and Connie's sensitive lead vocal carries it wonderfully. Adapted form the Alabama folk song, Connie's "I Am Going To The West" is a folk ballad with a catchy melody certain to appeal to a broad audience. The eclectic combination continues with Connie's interpretation of "The Streets Of Laredo" accompanied primarily by accordian. A contrasting vocal by Skip Gordon adds to the American cowboy flavour of the track.

Phil Cunningham's penny whistle introduces the ballad "Lord Franklin," perfectly illustrating the crystalline texture of Connie's voice. The traditional Irish song "An Spailpín Fanach" (The Wandering Laborer) is sung in Gaelic with tremendous clarity and, a highlight of the album with a lovely instrumental bridge, is also a tribute to Connie's vocal talent. The track "Last Night by the River," written by Connie Dover is a very slow, almost droning, hymn; vocals soar over the lightest instrumental arrangement. An American folk song of Scottish origin, "The Water Is Wide" and the English folk song "My Dearest Dear" are highly accessible yet slow paced ballads with stunning lead vocals and light instrumental accompaniment.

Orchestral-sounding instrumental arrangements support Connie's lead vocal in the hymn "Wondrous Love" and make it a highly memorable track. The pace actually picks up in the folk song "Winters Night" with dancing feet contributing to its percussive texture. The American Civil War folk song "Brother Green" is sung almost a capella and serves to illustrate the range and depth of Connie's vocal talent.

Taylor Park Music has spared no expense in the production of Connie's latest album. Artwork is lovely and a thick booklet with complete lyrics and song backgrounds accompanies the compact disc. You can read further reviews, hear soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Connie's earlier albums are also available at amazon.com. This latest album is technically superb and eclectic in its construction. The music is very listenable and most appropriate for relaxation. Worth a journey, it is certainly a very nice listen!

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