Texas platters

Phases and Stages


The High Road

When it comes to "jam bands," the Celts are left out, yet the proliferation of local groups such as Poor Man's Fortune, the Sarah Dinan Band, Carey Street, and the Tea Merchants is proof the genre is alive and, well, jamming. The Austin sixpiece Cluan is known for quality Irish music, but The High Road finds them journeying as far north as Scotland and across the water to Galicia. "The Blacksmith" opens the album with Erin Bobruk spinning the tale of a faithless lover. Bobruk's classically trained vocals appear hither and yon throughout, breathing freshness into favorites like "Green Grows the Laurel," "Blackwaterside," and Robert Burns' "John Anderson My Jo." Produced with a master's touch by the ever-wonderful Rich Brotherton, The High Road balances vocalized songs with jigs and reels. Cluan's musicians pull together under the leadership of bandleader/violin magician Chris Buckley, whose award-winning fiddling explodes with Irish fire on "Johnny Allen's." The thrum of Chuck Wright's bodhran and Charles Branch's bouzouki give Bobruk's mouth music perfect accompaniment on "Bímse Féin ag lascaireacht (I Myself Go Fishing)," while Ryan Beavers' guitar and Stephan Paetzold's fiddle send the sad air of "Farewell to Whisky" into jaunty rhythms of reels. At under 50 minutes, the album stops short, yet on this, their first studio CD, Cluan has done what any good band should: leave the listener dying for an encore.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Sunday ACL Fest 2019 Record Reviews
El Mal Querer (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, Oct. 4, 2019

Texas Platters
Atlas Maior
Riptide (Record Review)

Michael Toland, June 14, 2019

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle