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Hi -- welcome to my guide to some of my favorite Celtic and British folk music... I should mention right off that I'm not particularly big on Celtic instrumental albums -- the only times I've ever really been enraptured by a jig or a reel were when I saw them performed live in a pub, with a pint or three under my belt. In a pub, you can actually see the musicians up close and their speed and technique become apparent, whereas on record it's all a bit more abstract. And monotonous. Also, when you're in a bar, you really can't hear anything else besides an accordion, fiddle or bagpipe anyway, so instrumentals make sense. Finally, if you drink enough, anything sounds good.

Otherwise, give me vocals. My preferences come in several stripes-- old ballads sung in English (which are nice, because you can understand the story); old ballads sung in Celtic, Claddagh or Welsh (which you can't understand, but it's also nice since then the effect is purely musical; and political songs (which I liked a lot more when I was a teenager, but still can appreciate...) In short, I like to hear people sing. And I like good songs, with well-crafted lyrics and strong melodies. So if you keep that in mind while you go through these reviews, perhaps you'll get a sense of what I'm aiming at. Enjoy!

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