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reviews Dance in the Shadow by Benji Kirkpatrick

The son of John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris, Kirkpatrick has for several years now been touring and recording with the group The Hedgerows. This disc marks his debut as a solo recording artist, and its a strong first effort. It highlights Kirkpatricks instrumental skills on bouzoukis, guitars and mandolins, as well as his singing and songwriting. In general the standards of playing on this disc are quite high. I particularly like his takes on Traditional tunes; one set of reels contains a lot of what Kirkpatrick calls riffage accompanying the basic tune, which makes for an interesting sound and a fun track. Kirkpatricks own compositions are very impressive, as well; a pretty set of jigs written in honor of the house where he was brought up is both touching to think about and enjoyable to listen to. Kirkpatricks singing does fall somewhat short of spectacular, however, and the effect of an album based on bouzoukis and mandolins is a somewhat tinny listening experience. From what Ive heard, then, Kirkpatricks skills work best in a band environment. Still, this disc shows he can go it alone, as well.