2012 marks the 50th anniversary of arguably the most famous Irish traditional folk band, The Chieftains. To celebrate the occasion, the Chieftains, working with producer and mastermind T-Bone Burnett, have released an album of 15 tracks, fourteen of which feature a collaborator from the modern indie rock, indie folk, or alt-country scene. The aptly named Voice of Ages underscores how much of a debt each of these artists (from Bon Iver, to the Decemberists, to the Carolina Chocolate Drops) owe to bands like The Chieftains and how much staying power these Irish ballads have in both American and Irish/English folk music. So often the “Americana Revival” in indie music, personified by bands like Mumford and Sons and The Decemberists, seems to be evoking but not actually connecting to the regional, cultural roots of American and Celtic folk music. An album like this one helps bridge the gap. I particularly suggest you listen to the collaboration with The Decemberists, a cover of Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In” which was, in turn, based on a traditional Celtic song. Also check out “Lily Love” with the increasingly popular alt-country duo The Civil Wars.
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