Voice of Ages

Voice of Ages

by The Chieftains


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Voice of Ages marks the Chieftains 50th anniversary. Initially, Paddy Moloney wanted to get all the living members of the band together for an album-length jam on "Toss the Feathers." Concord and co-producer T-Bone Burnett had a different idea. Advance label and press hype crowed about the radical approach of this album because of its collaborations with indie rockers -- nonsense. Given the Chieftains' history, collaboration -- Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Sting, Mary Black, Mick Jagger, Mark Knopfler, and Ry Cooder, to name a few -- is an integral part of their mission. Voice of Ages' 15 cuts contain, sadly, only one solo number. "The Chieftains Reunion" is among the album's best moments and clocks in at over 11 minutes, giving Moloney's original notion a nod. Other highlights include "Carolina Rua" with Imelda May (followed by the Chieftains jamming on a reel), "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies" by the Pistol Annies, who wed their unique roots music to the Celtic tradition seamlessly, the stunning, "My Lagan Love" with Lisa Hannigan's otherworldly voice, and the Civil Wars' reverent yet joyful reading of "My Lily Love." On these cuts, one can hear the Chieftains really creating with their intuitive magic; extending the scope of Irish music into the world of popular music, with vocalists who understand -- at root level -- what they're all about. Another winner is Bob Dylan's "When the Ship Comes In" with the Decemberists. While Dylan's tune is based on a traditional Celtic song, the band's performance lends inspiration and celebration to the Chieftains' arrangement. "The Lark in the Clear Air/Olam Punch" and "The Frost Is Over" with the Punch Brothers produce fine results because the approach to the material is loose and lively -- and accommodating. Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More," with Paolo Nutini's gentle yet reedy vocals backed by the Chieftains at their mournful best, also features the City of Limerick Pipe Band, who give it a stately finish. Together, they make this parlor ballad as moving a reading as any out there. Some tunes just don't work, though: Bon Iver's reading of Charlie Monroe's wonderful murder ballad "Down in the Willow Garden" is labored, tired, and boring. Given the song's emotional core, it deserves to be treated with something more than faux hipster detachment. The Carolina Chocolate Drops try way too hard on "Pretty Little Girl" -- though the Chieftains sound fantastic. The Low Anthem's version of Ewan MacColl's "School Day's Over" is far too studied and restrained. The bonus track, "Lundu," with Galician piper Carlos Nunez -- and his family members helping out on bouzouki, electric guitar, percussion, and loops -- is rough and ready. It feels like a spontaneous demo, sending Voice of Ages off on a high note as the Chieftains get their Irish reel groove on. Voice of Ages is a good Chieftains recording; its solid performances easily outweigh its duds, but it feels like something less than a 50th anniversary celebration. Moloney's original idea would have been more fitting, and really something to hear.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/21/2012
Label: Hear Music
UPC: 0888072334373
catalogNumber: 33437
Rank: 51889

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chieftains   Primary Artist
Matt Molloy   Flute,Group Member
Van Dyke Parks   Piano
Jim Keltner   Drums
T Bone Burnett   Bass,Electric Guitar
Kevin Conneff   Vocals,Bodhran,Group Member
Dennis Crouch   Bass,Acoustic Bass,Upright Bass
Noel Eccles   Percussion
David Hidalgo   Acoustic Guitar,Jarana
Greg Leisz   Pedal Steel Guitar
Colin Linden   Dobro
Paddy Moloney   uillean pipes,tin whistle,Group Member
Arty McGlynn   Guitar
Máirtín O'Connor   Accordion
Dave Priseman   Percussion,Trumpet
Fiachra Trench   Keyboards
Joy Williams   Vocals
Alyth McCormack   Vocals
Carlos Núñez   Gaita
Chris Thile   Mandolin,Vocals
Neil Martin   Cello
Pancho Alvarez   Bass,Bouzouki
Gabe Witcher   Fiddle
Darrel Higham   Guitar
Laura Rogers   Vocals
Nate Query   Bass
Chris Funk   Banjo,Mandolin,Bass Harmonica
Colin Meloy   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Jenny Conlee   Accordion,Hammond B3
Triona Marshall   Harp
Lisa Hannigan   Vocals
Noam Pikelny   Banjo
Miranda Lambert   Vocals
Nathan Pilatzke   Dancer
Adam Matta   Beat Box
Tim Edey   Guitar,Accordion
Ashley Monroe   Vocals
Paolo Nutini   Vocals
Sean Keane   Fiddle,Group Member
John Paul White   Guitar,Vocals
Chris Eldridge   Guitar
Justin Vernon   Guitar,Vocals
Imelda May   Vocals
Steve Rushton   Drums
Jeffrey Prystowsky   Upright Bass
Ben Knox Miller   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Gare   Double Bass
Paul Kowert   Bass
Mike Irwin   Trumpet
Rhiannon Giddens   Fiddle,Vocals
Dom Flemons   Quills
Xurxo Nunez   Percussion,Drums,Loops
Angaleena Presley   Vocals
Lydia Rogers   Vocals
Hubby Jenkins   5-string Banjo
Castle Park School Choir   Vocals
Anne Marie O'Grady   Background Vocals
Jocelyn Adams   Clarinet,Hammered Dulcimer,Pump Organ
John Meon   Drums
Michael Turbridy   Flute
Nikki MacLoone   Dancer
Cady Coleman   Flute,tin whistle
Neil Sullivan   Dancer

Technical Credits

Chieftains   Images
Ewan MacColl   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Charlie Monroe   Composer
T Bone Burnett   Producer
Bill Lane   Engineer
Paddy Moloney   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Brian Masterson   Engineer
Carlos Núñez   Whistle
Mike Piersante   Engineer
Tucker Martine   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Paul Ackling   Equipment Technician
Curtis Laur   Equipment Technician
Vanessa Parr   Engineer
John Paul White   Composer
Larissa Collins   Art Direction
Justin Vernon   Arranger
Glenn Suravech   Engineer
Chris Owens   Engineer
Steve Macklam   Management
Sam Feldman   Management
Rhiannon Giddens   Arranger
Dom Flemons   Arranger
Xurxo Nunez   Engineer
Thomas Lanning Moore   Composer
Michael Wittaker   Arranger
Joy Elizabeth Williams   Composer
Colum McCann   Liner Notes
Sean Pitts   Whistle

Customer Reviews

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Voice of Ages 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
booksandteainthemorning More than 1 year ago
I have most of the Chieftain's music, and this is actually one of my favorites! The talent is overwhelming! When I first heard the contributions from The Decemberists and Paolo Nutini, I almost had to pull over while driving. It is that good!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago