Take a spin with Golden Graham's choice album reviews


The Chieftains

Down The Old Plank Road:
The Nashville Sessions In Concert

RCA/Victor 09026 640229


DVD CoverRiding on the wake of The Chieftains critically acclaimed album Down The Old Plank Road, this DVD takes us to the live performance featuring a host of special guests, recorded at Nashville's Historic Ryman Auditorium in September 2002. This DVD with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound contains 120 minutes featuring the live concert, interspersed by cameo interviews with many of the artistes taking part in the concert. Four songs not found on the earlier CD are featured here being "Lambs In The Green Field" (Emmylou Harris), "Rosa Caitha" (Jerry Douglas), "Shady Grove" (Tim O'Brien) and "Jordan You're A Road To Travel" (John Hiatt & Tim O'Brien). Also found on the DVD we can also access two "Behind The Scenes" featurettes on the making of Down The Old Plank Road, interactive discography, plus other features.

The Chieftains include Seán Keane, Kevin Conneff, Matt Molloy, harp/keyboard player Derek Bell (sadly Derek was rushed into hospital while in Nashville and later died) and of course front man Paddy Maloney on uilleann pipes and tin whistle who explains much of what the project is about. With a sparkling blend of Irish, bluegrass and old-timey music, we are led through an extravagant plethora of acoustic sound as we sit back and enjoy each section of the concert, with each featured artiste talking about his or her part in the concert. Personally I found this a little irritating and would rather have sat and watched the concert in its entirety and then accessed these interviews later, but I soon found that I could skip to the next performance and therefore keeping the concert consistent. Just a few of the featured artistes include the lovely Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawling and Patty Griffin. Personally I felt that Martina McBride was totally out of place on this acoustic performance, but that was easily made up for by the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Buddy & Judy Miller, John Hiatt, Tim O'Brien, Earl Scruggs and the stunning Del McCoury band.

Several dance sequences are featured in the concert, including a clog dancing team and the Canadian Pilatzke Brothers who took the stage by storm with their fantastic Canadian version of Irish Ceili step dancing. With teasing glimpses of brilliance from all concerned, this is a performance to take your breath away. As I sat and watched my 7-month-old grandson sat in his baby bouncer, mesmerised by the sounds and images coming from the wide screen TV, dancing and bouncing along to this incredible music. Down The Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions In Concert is a performance to electrify the soul of anyone, any age from babes in arms to grandparents.