From the Better Late Than Never Department here at Fiddlefreak World Headquarters: Sometimes a CD gets lost in the whirlwind of detritus that passes for my desktop, and surfaces later like a stone in a tater patch. Or something reminds me that I had wanted to review it but it just never happened. Such is the case with Kyle Alden’s Songs from Yeats’ Bee-Loud Glade: Thirteen Poems by WB Yeats, Set to Music. Kyle is a singer-songwriter from Marin County, CA, which is just north of the famous Golden Gate. He is well-known in the traditional Irish music community for his skillful guitar work in DADGAD tuning, and he’s deft on mandolin and fiddle as well. He’s joined on this record by the luminary Mike Marshall on mandolin and incandescent Athena Tergis on fiddle, among others. The music here sits right in the middle ground between trad music and contemporary folk. Kyle creates a perfect foil for the words of the great Irish poet, as rooted and craggy as a granite-studded hill on some remote Irish moor, languid and sad and longing, wanting nothing more than to just be.
I was struck by the innate musicality and songlike qualities of many of Yeats’ poems. “The Cap and Bells ” leapt off the page as a fully formed song, and others followed soon after. It was a great pleasure to work with Yeats’ strong, well-crafted lyrics, freeing the songwriter within me to focus on the task of musical setting. –Kyle Alden.
LISTEN: The Song Of Wandering Aengus
LISTEN: The Cloak, the Boat and the Shoes