The Blue Idol is a work of genius. Everything that's appealing, powerful, and musically special about Irish music is contained in these 13 tracks. MairÉad Ní Mhaonaigh's singing is spell

The Blue Idol is a work of genius. Everything that's appealing, powerful, and musically special about Irish music is contained in these 13 tracks. Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh's singing is spellbinding, and her fiddling is no less

fascinating, especially when augmented by the fiddle of Ciarán Tourish. The group's ensemble playing is formidable, as attested to in the series of jigs and reels that constitute tracks five, six, eight, and nine. Lovely and intriguing lyrics distinguish "Daily Growing" and "Uncle Rat." Also included are several songs performed in Gaelic—"Cuach mo Lon Dubh Bui" of particular interest by virtue of its catchy arrangement and unexpected saxophone part. Also take note of Dolly Parton's delightful guest vocal on "The Pretty Young Girl." The Blue Idol is a triumph for Altan and a reminder of the endless charm of Irish music.—PVV