David Wilkie and the McDades
by Ryan Thomson
That's a interesting concept for an album title, I thought to myself, while reading the label
which includes a picture of a cowboy hat framed by celtic style artwork. I looked more
carefully at the artwork and noticed a cowboy on horse back cleverly worked into the
This recording starts with traditional Irish fiddle tunes and evolves into American western
melodies like "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies," and "Shenandoah." Being an
experienced listener I can detect Irish influenced licks on the fiddle and mandolin even on
tunes played purposely American style. Despite my discerning ears though, most of the
Irish tunes sound Irish, and the cowboy tunes sound American, particularly because of the
fine country mandolin playing.
I enjoyed an exception to the rule in the Texas swing style version of the Irish melody "The
Girl I Left Behind Me." Irish tunes such as the "Maid Behind the Bar," though, reminded me
of a good traditional pub session. The overall feeling of the album is relaxed, not frenetic
dance music, nor just easy listening, but a mix of waltzes, reels at a little less than session
speed, country style fiddling, and even a song. This recording isn't merely American tunes
played in Irish style though. Its also not just a collection of someone's favorite Irish and
American tunes on the same album.
I tried to put my finger on what the music reminded me of. Finally it hit me, the album
sounds as if it were designed for a movie sound track. It invoked emotions and images in
my mind which went beyond what I might expect of an album of isolated tunes. There was
a coherent emotional theme. I don't know if this was the intent of the musicians, but if I
was them, I'd send copies off to every film maker in sight.
For ordinary listener types I predict satisfaction with the clean playing and creative
arrangements. Its an all purpose recording, suitable for driving in the car, while working
around the house, or jogging with the walkman.
Written by Ryan Thomson