Words by Michael Quinn
Cathy Jordan has stepped out from the front ranks of the band Dervish after more than two decades. Her debut solo offering finds her in plaintively nostalgic mood with a collection of new material and ballads heard during her County Roscommon childhood. All the Way Home is an altogether affecting concoction, the self-penned title-track being a gorgeous meditation on a journey that quixotically returns the traveller to its point of departure.
The past and the present co-mingle with eloquent ease here. ‘The Lark in the Clear Air’ receives an agreeably rousing treatment, while the poignant take on ‘The Bold Fenian Men’ is hauntingly beautiful and bittersweet. Roger Tallroth’s instrumental ‘The Jordan Jig’, with Jordan on bodhrán, proves a delightfully vivacious new take on a familiar form. No less infectious are the two other instrumentals: Jordan’s bluegrass-tinged ‘The River Field Waltz’ and the ebullient ‘In Curraghroe’, co-written with Patrick Devine. Understated arrangements that eschew drama for emotional punch make Jordan’s light, cracked-porcelain vocals seem even more alluring on the hushed ‘Eileen Mc Mahon’ – an affecting duet with Eddi Reader.
There are guest appearances from Dervish bandmate Liam Kelly (on whistles and flute), Michael McGoldrick (uilleann pipes), fiddler Tom Morrow, and Andy Irvine on mandocello and bouzouki. They add to the sense of impeccable but lightly worn craftsmanship on display throughout. Swedish folk music veteran Tallroth’s production lends proceedings a polished, cut-crystal clarity. In one word: sublime.
Listen to a choice track from All The Way Home on the Top of the World CD included with the current issue (#84 June 2012).