Image © Warner Music Group 2006
Live in Portsmouth (1998)
Live in Croyden (1998)
In Blue (2000)
Live In Dublin (2002)
Borrowed Heaven (2004)
(12 March 2006) The Corrs have gone full circle back to their roots with their newest release, Home (Rhino (USA) R273217, 2006). Fifteen years ago, the group was internationally renowned for their fusion of pop songs and traditional Celtic instrumentation. Their current CD is a collection of thirteen traditional and modern Irish songs performed by the four siblings: Andrea on lead vocals and tin whistle; Caroline on drums, bodhran, piano and vocals; Jim on keyboards, guitar and vocals; and Sharon on violin and vocals. Driven by the siblings' passion to shed new light on traditional songs and airs, this radiant collection features the crystal clear production and brilliant harmonies for which the band is celebrated.
The album is a tribute to their late mother, Jean, who passed away in 1999. Their mother had a handwritten songbook that provided a major source for the material for their album. Andrea said, "She used to play every weekend in pubs with Daddy, and she'd written all of these Irish songs out in a book. They're songs we've loved over the years, and because our parents played them in their band, they're very special to us." The album also contains two songs in Gaelic marking the first time The Corrs have recorded in their mother tongue.
These treasured and traditional songs have been reinterpreted by the quartet. Andrea's heartfelt vocals are pure and crystalline, and the Irish reels like "Old Hag" and "Haste to the Wedding" are real toe tappers. This collection is full of acoustic and orchestral sets, which is definitely The Corrs' forte. Their fans have been begging for an album for years that was more traditional, and this CD has filled the bill. It was Caroline Corr who initially suggested revisiting the traditional form, since “all over the world people tell us they love our Irish stuff and that they want to hear more of it.''
The emotions pour forth in the two moving Gaelic tracks, "Buachaill On Eirne" and "Brid Og Ni Mhaille." There is warmth in Andrea's emotive performances. These tracks were supported by the pure production of Mitchell Froom, the drumming of session veteran Matt Chamberlain, and the strings of the BBC Concert Orchestra. Their arrangements certainly blend and eclectic style in their songs and wonderful instrumentation by these seasoned performers.
Besides their own arrangements of time-honored Celtic classics, the Corrs also present engaging renditions of Anna McGarrigle's nostalgic "Heart Like a Wheel" (which Jim Corr had played with Dolores Keane in his days as a session musician), Phil Lynott's dynamic "Old Town," and Richard Thompson's melancholy "Dimming of the Day." The ethereal and poignant vocals abound throughout this collection of songs, evoking the raw beauty of Ireland. Home includes songs that span a millennium of Irish music from "Return to Fingal," a song music scholars say is at least 1,000 years old, to "Old Town," a song written in 1982 by late Thin Lizzy frontman and fellow Irishman Phil Lynott.
Andrea Corr says, ''We've always blended our Celtic influences with the songs we write. That's the root of one side of our music and our inspiration. It's a big part of who we are. We felt we owed it to ourselves and to the fans who complain every album that there's not enough of the traditional Irish element. We've definitely crushed that complaint on this record! Now people will probably say 'where's the pop?' It's very earthy and raw. There's nothing arch about it. And we called it Home because it's just the truth, isn't it? That's the place it all comes from.''
Any fan of Irish music will appreciate The Corrs' superior and hauntingly beautiful album, where they honor their Irish/Celtic musical heritage with a contemporary flair. Every time they break out the tin whistles and bodhrans to accompany Sharon's violin and Jim's guitar, the band brings the house down. The band has succeeded in their earthy
and natural renditions of the traditional and there is a poetic flair to the songs on this CD. This is a stunning album and one can only say that Home is certainly where the heart is.--Audrey Elliot in New York