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ATLANTIC UNION releases new CD, Homeward - "Folk with Finesse"


There’s an essential purity to Celtic music that remains undiminished by commercial concerns and the intrusion of modern trappings. Based in Newfoundland Canada, the trio known as Atlantic Union cull from their heritage naturally, although the grace and calm that they offer is a gift beyond bounds.


That’s evident in the first two songs alone, courtesy of Sally Goddard’s lush vocals and the subtle nuance imbued through Jane Ogilvie’s harp and the violin, dulcimer and mandolin tapestry provided by Dan Rubin; all contribute to the music’s sensual sway. The melodies are rarefied and relaxed, a blend of original songs and traditional tunes, all providing perfect solace in a turbulent world.

With beautiful ballads like “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s” and “Two Coves and a Bay,” as well as the chipper “The Singing Stone” — the latter given Rubin’s spry vocal — there’s little room, much less reason, for outside intrusion. Atlantic Union make folk with finesse, as well as a grace and charm inherent to their native trappings.


It’s the kind of music made to put a smile on one’s face and add solace even in the midst of despair.  Hopefully they’ll gain the greater awareness they deserve, allowing Homeward to become a common calling.

— Lee Zimmerman, ELMORE MAGAZINE


(Blue Island Records BI201601)


Atlantic Union is a long-established acoustic trio from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Their third CD Homeward features a new thematic approach as well as a change of personnel since their last album, 2004’s The Whole Dance. With the departure of Andrew Lang and the arrival of Jane Ogilvie, Sally Goddard is the only member of the band remaining from its original 1997 incarnation. However, Sally’s vocals have lost none of their power and purity, and the newer faces maintain Atlantic Union’s tradition of instrumental versatility. There’s something of a shift in focus on the material, too: there’s more emphasis on original songs, and the instrumentals are airs rather than dance tunes.


While a typical Atlantic Union set draws on a wide range of material from both sides of the Atlantic, in this case Canada is such a strong presence as to be almost a fourth member of the band. The result is an atmospheric, somewhat nostalgic set that manages to be both emotionally charged and uplifting. I’m looking forward to hearing where they take us next.


— David Harley,

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