Fiddlefreak doesn’t publish best-of lists–but if we did, we would place The Alt right at the top for 2014. Rabid fans of pure-drop Irish trad may already be aware of this new supertrio, but for the rest of you: wake up! The Alt is one of the best things to happen to the Irish song tradition, ever… and their all-too-few instrumental sets will satisfy the tune hound as well. Comprised of guitar legend John Doyle, flautist Nuala Kennedy, and the amazing Eamon O’Leary, The Alt has released a self-tilted debut album that delivers from start to finish. It seems more often that trad bands will scatter a few ballads among their tunes, like chunks of lamb in a hearty stew. But the Alt have flipped this aesthetic on its head by emphasized the songs. The tunes are grand, don’t get me wrong–but the three-part vocal harmonies on this record shine like new pennies. The intricate interplay of various strings and waterfalls of flute and whistle, on great old songs that connect with the heart of Irish tradition, combine to make this one of the best folk records of 2014. Recommended!
LISTEN: Going For A Soldier Jenny / The Chandelier
LISTEN: The Letter Song