Incomparable Irish-trad duo weaves gently understated masterpiece
Renowned Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill have been making music together since the 1980s, when the two first met up in Chicago. The pair’s newest record, Welcome Here Again, captures the magic that’s possible when two musicians are confident enough in their abilities to serve the music so fully that they disappear entirely. There’s no ego, no grandstanding with instrumental technique, just the absolute soul conviction of Hayes’ scraping bow, at its most emotionally devastating on the “The Dear Irish Boy.” Cahill’s guitar accompaniment offers a similarly delicate touch, providing a supple foundation for the fiddle. Welcome Here Again is a superb-sounding record from start to finish, abounding in space and atmosphere. “The Booley House Jig” might be the record’s finest two-minute stretch, a charming little dance tune that rolls gently by with a wink and heart-gladdening lift.