Origin: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Canadian Folk/Celtic. That’s the best way to describe this particular group. It’s a very interesting mix of Celtic and North American folk music, with a good blend of vocals and instrumentals to keep it from getting too lively.
A visit to their Web site turned up the following information on them. Kilt is composed of Tony Ronalds (lead vocals), Bonny Jean MacDonald (fiddle, vocals), Brennan MacDonald (guitars, vocals), Brian Buckle (drums, percussion, vocals), and Scott MacFarlane (bass, vegetables(!) and vocals). They hail from Cape Breton and Newfoundland. Originally a group performing with other, better-known artists like Great Big Sea and Bruce Guthro, they broke out on their own with their 1997 debut album, Kilt, which immediately soared to the top of the HMV Halifax’s Maritime Music chart. Two years later, they’ve followed that effort with Four In The Crib, which further showcases their variety of talents.
There’s something different about Kilt, that I can’t quite put into words. They’ve got a lively beat and a slightly off-kilter (no pun intended) style that stirs the body even when you’re not completely listening. They switch from Celtic to folk without even breathing hard, and yet you can actually feel the switch, like walking from a sauna into a refrigerator. It’s not bad, it’s just profound, and fun at the same time.
Kilt deftly handles traditional reels (“Prince Albert’s Reel / Drowsy Maggie / Jenny Dang the Weaver / Lord Kinnaird”), jigs (“Lads of Duns / Dan the Cobbler / Shins Around the Fireside / The Beauties of Ireland”), traditional songs (“Lift Up Your Glass”) and their own material (“Dylan’s Ghost,” “Sight,”) and more. They finish with the unusual “(Dirty) Dinky Dorrian’s Reel,” described as a “bonus for traditional screaming guitar fans.”
So, are they any good? I’d say so. Kilt’s not my first choice for whiling away the night hours, but they provided me with several hours’ worth of enjoyment. I can see how they got their reputation and strong fanbase, and I look forward to seeing what they’ll do in the future. I recommend them as something a little new and different, a keen blending of Celtic and Canadian folk with a decidedly Newfoundland twist on the matter. If you’re tired of the same old same, Kilt definitely isn’t it.