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Joe Cullen / Press

“Joe Cullen plays piano accordion. He sings standards. The Fanad Head, Donegal, native has recorded an album that seems to fit like your favorite jumper: comfortable, well worn and familiar. He goes down roads familiar to many. "Pat Murphy's Meadow" opens the album, sung with a parlour room presentation. "Gentle Mother" is a softly presented heart-tugger that Cullen's soft tenor pulls off with great panache, as is "A Mother's Love is a Blessing." His playing is closer to John J. Kimmel than to the explosive playing of his contemporaries. Joe is backed by old playing partners who fill in his sound. Kathleen Keane joins him on fiddle and whistles, and Joe McShane plays guitar, banjo, harmonica and percussion. He plays for his audience, and this album was done for that group. He also plays for himself, and he owns the songs and the tunes, as well as the platform. The album is like a journey into a recently distant past. It is a safe and smooth, and actually nice, place to be.”