Hard Times

Tayberry Records 7001

The Celtic Tenors—Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson, and Daryl Simpson—label themselves “classical crossover artists.” Insofar as I can tell, most who use the term mean it as a vaguely insulting way, as if forays into pop and folk music are frothy breaks from more ‘serious’ music. That would explain why most of these projects, including this one, are horrifyingly awful. Let’s start with the musical and ethical inappropriateness of performing misery with upbeat polished harmonies and stage theatrics. Now ask what the hell songs such as Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” Dillon O’Brian’s “Fearless Love,” or Eric Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally” have to do with the hard times theme in the first place. The Celtic Tenors are the latest darlings of the PBS haute bourgeoisie crowd. I’m willing to cut a deal; if PBS stops presenting music it doesn’t understand, I won’t put on a Big Bird costume and film remakes of Sesame Street.

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