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The Gravel Walk

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of Jethro Tull should really check this album out. This is good solid rock, in the vein of Tull, but with a more solid Celtic tradition. The musicians in the band are Rob Wullenjohn, Michael Mullen, Adolfo Lazo, Jay Nania, and Lief Sorbye. This album also features special guest Robert Berry.

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Track by Track Review
One For the Fiddler
A Celtic song with a nice rock and roll twist, and some fun violin work. The band says that this is "a tribute to all the moments we`ve had sweating, tired and happy in some warm venue at the end of the road". This one contains some nice organ work, and is a fine opening number.

Buffalo Jump
Buffalo Jump contains some definite Jethro Tull leanings, which are fairly frequent with this band. This is a very strong track. According to the liner notes, a buffalo jump was a trap used by the Plains Indians "to herd buffalo off cliffs, in order to provide" for the tribe`s needs in the coming year. This track is actually bundled in with a Scottish pipe march, and a traditional song from Northern Ireland to make for a very fun, Celtic rock number.

Bonnie Lass of Anglesey
The lyrics to this song, an original based on a traditional story, tells a tale of a King, who "thinking to use a young woman`s charms to foil his enemies, finds himself losing more than he bargained for". This starts off in a very definite Celtic mode, with some quite nice guitar work. The Jethro Tull leanings are quite evident here. This is quite a solid number.

Green Grow the Rashes
Starting with some Celtic violin work, this is a Robert Burns poem set to traditional music. The band added a reel and some eastern Indian music to the arrangement on this song to give it a little more "flavor". It definitely works. This is a fun song and contains a very tasty guitar solo.

Flowers of Red Hill
An instrumental, this track is actually a combination of three reels. Flowers of Red Hill has a nice layered Celtic feel to it. This one does contain some seriously hard rock influenced work in places. Actually this is a solid rocker, with heavy Celtic traditions and a very meaty guitar solo.

This song tells of the fate of 300 Scottish mercenaries who, in 1612, landed in Norway. These mercenaries were on their way to join an army amassed by King Gustav of Sweden to war against Norway and Denmark, when they were ambushed by Norwegian farmers. This track starts with military styled drumming leading into some nice melancholy violin work and a spoken word verse. Tbis is a good, traditionally based song with some rock leanings, and contains some very nice textures, at times showing the Tull leanings again.

Plains of Kildare
This number, again very much in a Jethro Tull vein, tells a tale which "exists in many forms in both Irish and American folk tradition." This is a tale of a horse and "an odd day at the races." This number is probably the most progressive rock based song on the album, and contains a very nicely progressive instrumental break. Plains of Kildare is my pick for best song on this album.

Trip Across the Mountain
In a continuing reflection of the Tull influences, this one begins with flute and carries on in a definite Tull vein. This is quite an interesting instrumental track which the band describes as "a suite for flute and fiddle based on traditional Norwegian themes", and is another song with some solid progressive rock leanings.

Broken Ring
Described in the liner notes as "a winsome tale of misspent youth, the bonds of friendship and lost freedoms cast in the fond light of memory", this is another solid Celtic rock song, again bringing to mind Jethro Tull at times.

The Karfluki Set
The final track on this album, this instrumental is actually a medley of four separate songs. The liner notes say that this is the band`s favorite "live tune set". The first segment of this number is a nice acoustic guitar violin section, then there is a stop, with some speaking (basically one musician speaking to another about the music), then it jumps back in to some electric instrument based work. This is a fun track.

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