(21 May 2000) The fourth album from Kansas City-based Connie Dover,
The Border Of Heaven - Celtic Music On The American Frontier
(Taylor Park Music (USA) TPMD0401, 2000) is an eclectic collection
that blends traditional Celtic themes with songs of the American west.
Dover's earlier albums received international acclaim and include
Somebody, The Wishing Well and If Ever I Return.
The album was produced in conjunction with Phil Cunningham and
is comprised of twelve tracks with instrumental contributions by
a bevy of additonal performing artists. Be sure to visit Connie's
website for additional information about the album and the artist's
Connie's soprano voice perfectly suits the folky themes of her
newest album. Songs are sung either in Gaelic or English and most
blend Irish and American instrumental themes.
The album opens with "The Blessing" sung in Gaelic
and combines traditional melodies with additional instrumentation.
The traditional American folk song "Sweet Betsy From Pike" has a
lovely moving melody and Connie's sensitive lead vocal carries it
wonderfully. Adapted form the Alabama folk song, Connie's "I Am
Going To The West" is a folk ballad with a catchy melody certain
to appeal to a broad audience. The eclectic combination continues
with Connie's interpretation of "The Streets Of Laredo" accompanied
primarily by accordian. A contrasting vocal by Skip Gordon adds
to the American cowboy flavour of the track.
Phil Cunningham's penny whistle introduces the ballad "Lord
Franklin," perfectly illustrating the crystalline texture of
Connie's voice. The traditional Irish song "An Spailpín
Fanach" (The Wandering Laborer) is sung in Gaelic with tremendous
clarity and, a highlight of the album with a lovely instrumental
bridge, is also a tribute to Connie's vocal talent. The track
"Last Night by the River," written by Connie Dover is a very
slow, almost droning, hymn; vocals soar over the lightest
instrumental arrangement. An American folk song of Scottish
origin, "The Water Is Wide" and the English folk song "My Dearest
Dear" are highly accessible yet slow paced ballads with stunning
lead vocals and light instrumental accompaniment.
Orchestral-sounding instrumental arrangements support Connie's
lead vocal in the hymn "Wondrous Love" and make it a highly
memorable track. The pace actually picks up in the folk song
"Winters Night" with dancing feet contributing to its percussive
texture. The American Civil War folk song "Brother Green" is
sung almost a capella and serves to illustrate the range and
depth of Connie's vocal talent.
Taylor Park Music has spared no expense in the production of
Connie's latest album. Artwork is lovely and a thick booklet
with complete lyrics and song backgrounds accompanies the compact
disc. You can read further reviews, hear soundbites and order the
album from amazon.com
here. Connie's earlier albums are also available at amazon.com.
This latest album is technically superb and eclectic in its construction.
The music is very listenable and most appropriate for relaxation.
Worth a journey, it is certainly a very nice listen!