Trio's 'The One After It' is a must for traditional music fans

Ooh, it’s that time of the year when the summer releases come fast and hot.  Yes, festival season brings a veritable shower of new music and as you might imagine, there are discs that are clear winners.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about several of them.

One such album is “The One After It,” the new release from Dylan Carlos, Cein Sweeney and John McCartin.  It’s the group’s second album, a follow-up to their 2019 debut “Carlos Sweeney McCartin,” which was a powerful, well-conceived collection of traditional music that dazzled folks on its release.  This album picks up exactly where the other left off, again showcasing a group of outstanding musicians gelling in a way that is rewarding to hear.  This one’s a must for traditional music fans.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Although each musician comes from a different county – Carlos (fiddle) is from Roscommon, Sweeney (flute) is from Cavan, and McCartin (guitar) is from Leitrim – they all come from a musical families and each brings a track record of personal success, with Carlos and Sweeney possessing senior All-Ireland titles, and McCartin a master’s degrees in “Traditional Music Performance” from the University of Limerick. 

 Suffice to say these are all very accomplished players, but as we all know, bona fides like these and the word of critics and well-wishers only say so much.  What I found far more compelling after the first album came out were the accolades I saw and heard from their peers, among them many, many musicians I really admired, each of whom pointed to the album and said, “this is great music.”  Endorsements like these are important and I imagine the same folks will say similar things about this one as there’s no drop off in quality between the two.

Carlos and Sweeney are fabulous melody players, and McCartin’s backing is superb.  There’s real drive in the music they play and it’s made with a shared singular vision that results in a very supple approach to phrasing and execution.

 Every track on here has something going for it.  I quite like “The Windy City / …,” which is a blast of reels played with real elegance.  There’s an urgency to the music that gives it real lift.  They take a similar approach to “The Swaggering Jig / …,” the set of slip jigs that follows. The tunes here are well-chosen and capture the group’s energy well.

Then there’s a track like “The Humours of Bolton Street / …,” which has a bit more to the arranging that helps showcase the group’s musical depth.  Here, Carlos and Sweeney do their thing as you’d expect, but I feel it’s McCartin that takes a lead here, laying down a lovely groove (with a couple nice interludes) that seems to set the tone for how the melody players approach the track.  “Con Curtin’s Big Balloon / …,” a jig followed by a couple of reels, takes this idea even further.  The mixing of tune types is a very effective way of creating variety, but as with the previous track I mentioned, McCartin adds a guitar part that gives the track a special drive.  When Donal Lunny joins, it gives the track a different slant still, and a groove that listeners will enjoy.

 In addition to keyboard player Dave Sheridan, who appears on a single track, the album once again features extensive contributions from the great Donal Lunny, who guests on all but two of the album’s 12 tracks, which not only adds to the sound of the music overall, but speaks to the clear talent of Carlos, Sweeney, and McCartin that they could attract the contribution of such a legendary musician on not one but both of their albums.

“The One After It” is another excellent release from Carlos, Sweeney, and McCartin.  The playing is top shelf and the taste extraordinary.  From the choice of tunes to how the musicians execute with a single vision, it’s all there for a listener to enjoy.  If you love traditional music, this will be a cornerstone of your collection for years to come.  To learn more and to purchase, visit here.