Shannon Heaton Flute Album Fits Many Moods

The Blue Dress

Eatsrecords 009

How do you like your Irish flute music? Cool and contemplative, or hot and jaunty? Something that makes you wistful, or something that makes you boogie? Tunes you can turn down low for tasteful background music, or ones you can crank and pretend you’re a competitive step dancer? Shannon Heaton’s got you covered. Her delightful twelve-track solo flute album puts one in mind of Matt Molloy projects for its blend of precision and passion. Like most “solo” projects, Heaton enlists some help—in her case, guests include husband Matt on stringed instruments and Maeve Gilchrist on harp—but she is indeed front and center in ways she’s generally not when performing as a duo or in an ensemble. She showcases her considerable wares on sets of reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, and airs. If you want to get a quick sense of the album’s many moods, cue tracks three and four. The first is the album’s eponymous tune—it’s the only waltz on the album is as delicate as lace. It’s followed by the bouncy “Dennis Watson’s” set of reels that command great breath control to keep pace with Paddy League’s crisp bodhran thumps. Listen for the skillful transition about 2:30 in and you’ll also appreciate Heaton’s craft. And if you think you know what polkas are all about, check out “99 High;” it sounds like Irish music entangled in a tango. This album is a pure delight. And, yes, there really is a blue dress, which she models on the cover in glorious contrast to her red mane. I know, an Irish-American woman with red hair—who could imagine?

Click here for a clip of Shannon and Matt Heaton in concert.

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