The Immigrant Band is John Doyle, Rafe Stefanini, Clelia Stefanini, John Herrmann, and Eamon O’Leary. Their self-titled debut album (on Yodel-Ay-Hee Records) hit the streets earlier this year to much well-deserved fanfare in both Irish and oldtime music circles. John Doyle is listed as producer and he recorded, edited, and mixed this record; it’s infused with his humor and complexity. Here is a rare ensemble that successfully combines the refinement of modern Irish folk music with the raw, trancy elixir of Appalachian fiddle tunes. And it’s fun to hear American songs with double-bouzouki backing as it was done in the good old days by Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny (only now it’s John Doyle and Eamon O’Leary).
On the American side of the band, Rafe and Clelia Stefanini bring their genetic syncronicity on fiddles, and John Hermann sings and plays banjo–even a groovy gourd banjo at one point. The material ranges widely from old to new, and the arrangements span a wide spectrum as well, for a pleasant variety of gentle ballads and raging tune sets. Check out the sparkly bouzoukis driving the dance of the double fiddles in a few tracks–something you don’t hear very often. Recommended!
LISTEN: Jenny on the Railroad
LISTEN: My Boy Willie
Youtube Video from Thomas Orndorff