Review Archive

Life Is All Checkered’ from Nathan Gourley and Laura Feddersen with Brian Miller(January 21, 2015)

(January 21, 2015)

Irish music has an unerring habit of percolating its way throughout nations and cultures. No surprises there. Few countries have spread their children so far and wide across the planet, and few possess such an affinity for retaining their heritage. Musicians from almost every nation have absorbed its Nathan Gourley - Life is all Chequeredeternal memories and reflected them through its music. In the greater scheme of musicians that play the music of Erin’s Isle, Nathan Gourley and Laura Feddersen are right up there with the best. Their album ‘Life Is All Checkered’ is a delight - start to finish. Gourley and Feddersen present enthralling twin fiddling, ranging through intricate synchronisation to chordal harmonies, rhythmic and melodic variations, while Miller strokes out chords and driving rhythms on guitar and Greek bouzouki. This is a fervent slice of Irish tradition served up from the depths of their American roots.

With music flowing through their veins coupled to an obvious and abiding love for and deep understanding of Ireland’s tradition, Gourley and Feddersen’s album is evidence of a singular musical pedigree. It’s also an album that engages on every level. Your alternatives are sit back and let the music weave its magic or indulge your urge to join by executing a lively step. Whatever takes your fancy, the only real measure is to realise that ‘heard once’ this music will be with you for a long time to come. Gourley, Feddersen and Miller explore their catalogue of Irish music from‘The Bachelor/ The Flogging Reel’ through ‘The Coalminer’s/ Trip to Nenagh/ The Blockers’ and ‘Lament for O’Donnell/ The Star Above the Garter’ to ‘The Cocktail/ Bill McEvoy's/ Blackberry Blossom’ and ‘The Blackbird/ The Road to Garrison’.

Any album of Irish music requires sympathetic production to complement and augment the musicians’ work and make it 'live'. It's said if you can ‘feel’ the music just as you would in a ‘live’ environment then it works to perfection. That’s precisely what you get with ‘Life Is All Checkered’.

Find Nathan Gourley and Laura Feddersen here:

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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