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"Traditional Irish and American tunes, with some
original compositions make up the very lovely Miles
From Dublin. Produced by Seattle area guitarist Dan
Carollo on his independent CeltoGrass label, this Celtic
treasure chest contains 17 tracks of reels, hymns and
jigs in a thoughtfully balanced collection of beautiful
Carollo’s tender and skillfully played guitar, usually
in open D tuning, takes center stage on the hymns and
his originals – “The Thing That Fell Off The Kettle,”
and “Pour The Coffee,” but all the guest musicians on
Miles From Dublin have their moments of glory. The
uilleann pipes on “The Black Rogue,” and the flute on
“Over the Moor To Maggie,” show off Eliot Grasso’s
talents, while Michael Connolly’s mandolin gets the
spotlight on track 4 and 8. Suzanne Taylor’s accordion
conveys an almost tear-jerking sense of longing in “The
New Land,” and fiddler Randal Bays takes it away on
“Ships Are Sailing,” and “Paidin O’Rafferty”.
of the songs and all of playing on Miles From Dublin
are excellent, but I could listen to the hymns, “Come
Thou Font of Every Blessing,” and “Be Thou My Vision /
St. Margaret’s Reel,” over and over again, preferably
alone and with a box of tissues near by.
Miles From Dublin is a beautifully packaged CD as
well, and extensive liner notes on all the songs are
Victory Music Review , May 2007 (Accoustic Music Magazine)
"Carollo is a wonderful
guitarist whose style incorporates the techniques
developed by many of today's finest folk and new age
players while at the same time hewing to traditional
fingerpicking and Celtic and American sources. "The
name Celtograss describes Dan's eclectic blend of Celtic,
old-time American, gospel, bluegrass and original folk
music," Dan writes.
You may find him in various
local venues, either solo or playing with bandmates as
Celtograss. Especially strong is the fiddle work of Ted
Yuen, whose mastery of tone shines clearly in a superb
reading of Jay Ungar's "Ashokan Farewell", The repertoire
here includes traditional reels and jigs, sweet
contemporary compositions, and Yuen and Carollo originals,
which always have a spiritual foundation. For
example, the second song, "St. Peter's Hot Rod," weaves
together Windham Hill-like spaciousness with witty uptempo
work. It is Carollo's delicately-complex solo
version of "Amazing Grace", though, that wins my
allegiance. The CD's one vocal, "Nothing I Desire,"
doesn't quite fit in this set, but it makes Carollo's
Christian underpinnings very clear. The following
song, "Instrument of Peace," with its catchy djembe
(played by Travis Coster) and guitar and mandolin rhythms
(both played by Carollo), is the second highlight track --
though all the music on the CD is uniformly catchy,
moving, impeccably produced, and spirit-lifting.
There are even a few guitar runs that make this listener
shout for joy."
Victory Music Review , August 2004 (Accoustic Music Magazine)
"From the opening set of traditional tunes, you know this
is happy relaxing-with-friends-listening music. Well
crafted, unhurried, a smooth double-cappuccino atmosphere
settles upon the listener (check out
Dan's web site
for sources of Dan's inspiration). The intimate sound
quality adds to the friendly feeling that the players are
in your own living room.
Tasteful arrangements of old favorites are evenly
interspersed with original compositions in traditional
style. Acoustic finger-style guitar (Dan Carollo) and
fiddle (Ted Yuen), the predominant instruments are
expertly played and well balanced in their interchanging
roles as lead and backup. Mandolin, bodhran, bass,
keyboards, and djembe fill out the tunes.
In the well-known category, particularly agreeable is
the instrumental version of "Down in the Valley to Pray,"
one of several reflective pieces, including "Ashokan
Farewell" (two versions) and "Amazing Grace", sensitively
interpreted with lovely chord choices. A truly joyful
rendition of "Soldier's Joy" leads into a rousing "The
Wind That Shakes the Barley," with a creative bodhran
ending. Sunshine infuses "John Ryan's Polka" as well.
The most successful of the original compositions are
"Thinking Time", "Waking Up / Voice of the Irish" by Dan
Carollo and "New Wine Reel" by Ted Yuen, reminiscent of
John Doan's compositions. These tunes epitomize his "Celtograss"
style, inspired by Irish Celtic and American Bluegrass
The weakest tracks are the vocal number, "Nothing I
Desire," more in a pop style, not matching the rest of the
recording, and "Instrument of Peace," which both lack
Appropriate cover photo of the artist leaning against a
weathered old barn, his guitar at his side, suggests the
pleasant down-home feeling this album conveys. There are
no liner notes; rather one is directed to the website for
stories behind the songs.
Listening to Waiting for Inspiration puts one in
an untroubled, reflective mood, ready for personal
--Heather Beckmeyer for