Not a Novelty Act

Different Season
Shee Records 1

The novelty value of all-female Celtic ensembles went out the window when Cherish the Ladies emrged in 1985, and raised the quality bar. The Shee is Newcastle’s answer to CTL, a sextet of young women whose debut album is crisp, bold, and electrifying. The angelic harmonies of Rachel Newman, Olivia Ross, and Laura-Beth Salter would alone turn heads, but the instrumentation is even more impressive. They breathe new life into well-traveled material such as “Chilly Winds,” “Lady Margaret,” and “MacCrimmons.” On the latter, the band enter the musical dimension in which electronica and tradition swirl and collide. Each woman is a skilled musician, but Amy Thatcher wields her accordion like a scimitar carving out space for fiddle, harp, and flute bursts that make you dance like the faeries for which the band is named. This is no novelty act; it’s the real deal.

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