With a career at the pinnacle of Irish music that has spanned nearly 30 years ALTAN has achieved legendary status and venerable position in a genre that has been equally shaped by the band’s influence and genius. More extraordinary is the fact that, after three decades together, the band is making music that is as relevant today as when they arrived on the scene. On The Poison Glen, Altan is propelled by a raw energy seemingly channeled from the pub sessions on which the band cut their teeth and which has inspired the last 40 year wave of interest in the “new traditional” Irish sound.
The new release comes on the heels of Altan’s career retrospective 25th Anniversary Celebration and is reminiscent in its approach to earlier classic albums such as The Red Crow and Horse with a Heart. The instrumental prowess of Ciaran Tourish (fiddle), Dermot Byrne (accordion), Mark Kelly (guitar), Ciarán Curran (bouzouki) and Daithi Sproule (guitar) alternately shines on sets of spritely jigs, driving reels and gorgeous airs, and interweaves with Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s ethereal vocals to stunning effect. Standout tracks on the album include “A Fig for a Kiss”, “The Blackest Crow” and “The Lancers”.
The Poison Glen confirms Altan’s legacy in the pantheon of Irish music icons alongside The Chieftains and The Bothy Band all the while demonstrating an elegance and grace rarely found in the tradition.