I can honestly say that I know of no other musician that has made a name for themselves playing the Squeeze box (accordion), but Sharon Shannon certainly has. This without doubt Irish music, but it is Irish with a twist. It moves from classic airs to Jazz with a seamlessness that is uncanny.

This particular concert comes from the world famous Dolans in Limerick Ireland and recorded in July 2006. I feel that the only thing wrong with is great DVD is the title, It should be called Sharon Shannon And The Really Really Big Band. She has more guests than a State Dinner at the White House.

I love the interesting mixture of musical styles, you just don’t know what you are going to get next. It takes a lot of guts to ‘Play outside the box’. and Sharon certainly plays outside of the box. Quite how you can combine so many musical styles and still make it work is beyond me. But she succeeds.

Among her ‘Big Band’ is Roesy who performs a fabulous version on Trailin The True Star, this is a song that CMT would love, and the Grand Ole Opry would be drooling to have him play it on their stage.

An equally unlikely musical number is Big Rock Candy Mountain, this has been a well hidden gem in the American folk world for years, but finally got it’s day in the sunshine with the Cohen brothers movie ‘O Brother’. Irish it is not! I am not so sure that they nailed Big Rock Candy Mountain, but it sure was a fun rendition.

My theory about music, and I am sure I am in the minority, (but I have broad shoulders, so I can take the abuse!), too many musicians live within their own comfort zone, they do not explore. And exploration is key to innovation.  Without exploration you become just one of the crowd, you just disappear into the white noise that is the music industry today.

Sharon Shannon And Big Band Live At Dolans is innovative stuff, there is even a little bit of Irish Rap, hahaha now that is a genre that I have not come across before! Sharon is helped out by Roesy, Jon Kenny, The Brennan Sisters, Damien Dempsey, Declan O’Rourke, and about 10,000 other people!

This is a fun DVD, and one that I can recommend, if you want to try something fresh and exciting this is it. You can get your copy from MVD.

Simon Barrett


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