“This for me is the goose-bump album of 2014. […]Songs of a Roving Blade album was recorded in […] the family studio in An Rinn, this album being dedicated to the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and rightly so. Dónal explains in the album notes that after his father died, there was a silence in the house but the ghosts of the songs were with him. Although until then he’d been happier to play the guitar, the songs had to be sung.
Sing them he does on this album. Fans of the Clancy’s will recognise almost every one of them, from Rosin The Bow, The Broom of the Cowdenknowes, Crúíscín Lán, Heave Away My Johnny, The Sean Bhan Bhoct and more. Mrs McGrath is an old family version, with a melody and chorus that were both new to me.
The goose bumps hit when Dónal sings. There are genetics at work here, he has the same vocal qualities as his father, that uncanny ability with timing, the clarity of diction, subtle storytelling, unhurried, unsullied singing. […] His guitar playing is of course of the highest quality, delicate finger picking on Sally Brown, a punchy chop on Roddy McCorley. The backing band he has put together for the album is top drawer too. It includes his wife Mary Rafferty on box and whistle, Martin Murray on mandolin, banjo and fiddle, Seán Ó Fearghail adds fiddle on The Limerick Rake. He is joined by Danú band mates Benny McCarthy on box and Donnchadh Gough on bodhrán. David Power guests on uilleann pipes, with Karan Casey on vocals and my old sparring partner from ‘96 Pat Sheridan on backing vocals on two shanties.
This might be called Songs Of A Roving Blade, but Dónal hasn’t strayed that far from his roots and the world has another Clancy to carry the torch for folk songs. I can see Dónal roving this album around the world in 2014, a great vintage already, and it has only just been bottled!”
Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine January 2014 Edition
1. Mrs. McGrath
2. Rosin the Bow
3. The Broom of the Cowdenknowes
4. The Limerick Rake
5. Sally Brown
6. Heave Away My Johnny
7. Eileen Arúin
8. Nancy Whiskey
9. An Crúiscín Lán
10. I Once Loved a Lass
11. The Sean-Bhean Bhocht
12. Roddy McCorley