As a reviewer, I get a lot of odd things sent my way. Atonal ‘harmonics’ based on the writings of Rumi. Indie ‘rock’ groups with a computer and a recording gear who think being loud with lots of feedback will score them a place in the big time. Women who can sing, by God, but have no sense of what constitutes good lyrics.

And every once in a while I’m given a gift, pure and simple. A lovely little album so perfect and shining that I all I can do is enjoy every track, every note, and I don’t even bother trying to write the review as I’m going along, I’m too busy enjoying myself, darn it!

This time the gift came as a draft of Irish Coffee by Cady Finlayson.

Her bio tells us that Ms. Finlayson is a classically trained violinist who also performs with several bands, notably with Pierce Turner and the McCabes. She can be found playing a variety of venues in and around the New York metro area. Take my advice: find out where she is playing and see her. It was my one and only sadness about this album – it’s clear that live, this lady ROCKS (if you’ll excuse the phrase) and I wish I could get hit of that adrenalin.

Irish Coffee is her third album and is a collection of 19 instrumentals (by the titles, traditional Irish tunes) played on fiddle and accompanied by guitar, accordion, pipes, hard, bodrhan and other percussion instruments as needed. Joining her on this delightful album is an incredible group of talent: John Redmond, Elkin Brown, Danny McLaughlin, Jim Roberts, Tim Alworth, Michael J. Nelson, and Cynthia Wyatt.

The opening tune, Tuttle/Caislean an Oir lets the listener know right from the start that this is going to be fun. It’s a lively tune with phenomenal fiddling and percussion that feels more like it came from Africa than Ireland. My absolute favorite track was #8, Sporting Paddy/Baltimore Salute/Lexie McAskill a three minute whirling romp that begs to be danced to – preferably with a partner swinging you around.

The album is available through CD Baby and I highly recommend it!

~review by Lisa

Artist: Cady Finlayson

2007, $15, 64 minutes