Since his work in seminal Australian band Spot the Dog, Mark Cryle has been acclaimed by music journalists as one of Australia’s leading songwriters. Carmel Newman has played classical violin since she was three. A consummate live performer, Carmel’s sublime fiddle playing & voice complements this act superbly. Whether playing Mark’s original songs, traditional songs or fiddle tunes, this duo will dazzle you with their rich musicality. This is music for the head, the heart … and the feet.
CD review by Tony Smith
This album of ten tracks demonstrates clearly the mastery of Mark Cryle as a songwriter and the importance of a close working partnership with fiddler and vocalist, Carmel Newman.
The album, which includes seven Cryle originals among the ten tracks, is quite outstanding in the Australian-Celtic genre.
As well as providing vocals, Cryle plays guitar, mandolin and bass, while Newman leads the vocals on several tracks and plays fiddle.
They are joined by Rebecca Wright (cello), who shares production credits, Donald McKay (bodhran), Chrissy Euston (accordion) and the versatile Michael Fix (guitar, dulcimer, banjo, percussion and backing vocals), who recorded, mixed and mastered the album.
In ‘New Girl at the Session’, the singer tells his Ma about the new girl: ‘there’s something about that girl, I think she smiled at me, I might just say hello’.
The vocal harmony is excellent and the song concludes with a lively fiddle interlude.
The traditional ‘I Know My Love’ has been covered by many brilliant Irish singers but Newman’s version is as good as any.
‘The Three Little Jigs are The Miller of Glanmire, The Butcher’s March and Fiddler’s Heaven’.
It is good to hear percussion used with some subtlety to support and enhance the melody rather than overwhelm it.
There is more great fiddle on the reels ‘The Julia Set: Julia Delaney, The Miller’s Maid and Star of Munster’.
In ‘The Taste of the Rain’, Cryle sings about someone filling up the senses: ‘She’s in every tear I cried, She is there in every line I try to write, Every last refrain, Every breeze on the cheek, There in the taste of the rain’.
This song features some excellent guitar.
‘Bridie Mahoney’ was a young woman from Kilmurry near Ennis.
Her story is so poignant and yet quite a common tale.
This song has earthy banjo accompaniment and is beautifully sung by Newman.
After her employer in Sydney forced himself upon her, Bridie went into labour on the steps at St Brigid’s church.
The baby died.
Bridie makes a ‘deposition’ about her fate.
‘She’s Comin’ Back’ is a rollicking ear worm of a song for empty nesters.
The fiddle line was written by Steve Cook.
Your daughter is always your little girl.
We are ‘going out to get her in the morning. There’ll be tears of joy’.
In ‘Slip Away’, Newman sings nicely again and there are fine harmonies for the refrain.
This track features the mandolin.
And in ‘Just Call My Name’, Newman sings: ‘When the storm clouds cover the sun’ against some splendid guitar by Michael Fix.
‘The Moon Turned Blue’ features accordion backing.
This album achieves a very nice variety and balance between songs and instrumentals.
You can imagine the audience dancing, even that new girl at the sessions!