The Irish Descendants Southern Shore

The Irish Descendants Southern Shore

The East coast-led ’90s Celtic boom in Canadian music is now long behind us but its most credible exponents are still creating worthy work. No, not Ashley MacIsaac (gag) but the likes of Jimmy Rankin and Newfoundland veterans the Irish Descendants. Southern Shore, the latter group’s 12th album, finds them in fine form. Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle produced and his band adds vocals to the stirring "Downtown Girl.” Another highlight is the moving Billy Bragg tune "We Laughed,” co-written by the late Maxine Edgington. (Maxine’s Hope, a stem cell research fund established in her honour, receives a portion of the proceeds from this.) Many of the songs are traditional but are given a distinctive Descendants twist, as are two songs from Irish great Tommy Makem. Main man Con O’Brien’s bracingly robust voice powers their sound and the clean, unfussy production and crisp instrumentation do it full justice. This is the real deal. (Fontana North)