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Baile (Home)
Artist: The Crossing
Label: Grrr Records
Time: 11 Tracks / 57 minutes

Irish music has many sides, and this release is a duller one. With neither the soft, polished, ethereal magic of Clannad or Dillon, nor the riotous joviality of The Pogues, this treads an unimpressive middle ground, with the best comparison probably something like The Dubliners, Ceili Rain or maybe The Chieftains – an earthy, lo-fi bar-session of a disc. 

The Crossing comes from the same impressive JPUSA stable as Glen Kaiser – a place I respect. This release shows a story-based approach to some songs and a safe, pleasant batch of instrumentals, where the fiddle and whistles work well together, such as “Kusi Wawa” and “Johnny Boyle’s Set,” but the jigs and reels feel a little dutiful and simply lack the zest that should power them.

Their vocals seem to be the area that lets them down. While multiple harmonies (“Columbanus” or “Home”) can work well, the two-part male harmonies sound messy and amateurish.

Lyrics speak clearly of faith and I would listen to this more happily than many formula Nashville worship discs.

At nearly an hour, this release is a generous one, and those who like an earthy approach to Celtic music may pick out several tracks here, such as the folky “Stirrup Cup “ or the mellow Jethro Tull-like “Requiem,” but it is not one to get excited about. 

Derek Walker



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