This set also includes some songs that aren't on the DVD at all, which is a nice plus. But, those are traded for some well-performed songs from the DVD that we simply don't have audio tracks for, like Ryan Kelly's Dearg Doom and House of the Rising Sun, the fun ensemble number Star of the County Down, and Ryan's Rock n Roll Kids duet with Neil Byrne -- and that's a bit disappointing.
Emmet Cahill, whom I love and adore, brings his gorgeous voice to the touching ballad Isle of Innisfree. His voice is so rich and warm that you will want to just wrap up in it! Ryan Kelly takes a break from his dangerous persona to croon the gentler Carrickfergus, a nice change to showcase what else he can do. One of the few songs on the CD that isn't on the DVD is his Streets of New York. It's a great story song that is well-suited both to Ryan's range and ability to bring a story to life, a definite like for me.
By far, my favorite of Neil Byrne's solos is Summer in Dublin. Neil has excellent comedic timing, which is showcased in some of the group numbers like Star of the County Down and 7 Drunken Nights, but Neil really shows off his more serious dramatic chops in Summer in Dublin. I believe him. His Carolina Rua is a fun and peppy little song that will make you smile, and want to dance and snap along.
I'm quite fond of Colm Keegan's Katie. Colm's voice is very sweet, and the chorus has a pleasant lilting feel to it. As well, I love his Sounds of Silence duet with Keith Harkin. I'm a longtime Simon and Garfunkel fan, and I was delighted to see this song included in the latest show. It's a nice faithful cover to the original.
George Donaldson, is a pretty old song with lovely harmonies. It is very slow, and does seem to take a long time from start to finish, but it's lovely. 7 Drunken Nights is a repeat song from earlier shows. While it's always a lot of fun, I liked earlier recordings of it better.
Scarlet Ribbons for Her Hair is a great song for George and is a great vehicle to showcase the warmth of his strong voice. Ryan performs a great dramatic song in the original piece Hunter's Moon, which has the most interesting instrumentals behind it. Keith performs a beautiful cover from his solo album in Tears of Hercules, which he emotes with tenderness and simplicity. Lovers of bluegrass might also like his Man of Constant Sorrow, which is a lot of fun.
The Ones I Skip
Keith's Now You Are Free seems to be set up as the denouement of the show, but I just can't bring myself to like it. I have no affinity to it from The Gladiator, and it kind of bothers me that the rest of the principal vocalists seem to fill a background vocalists role on this song.
Another I don't listen to often is Neil's Galileo. Neil has a really sweet and pleasing voice, which is a good thing, but I also find that song choice is really crucial as he can lean toward the "vanilla" with the wrong song. And this one just doesn't pop enough for me to listen to it much.
If You Can Only Afford Three Tracks
- Rocky Road to Dublin
- Streets of New York
- Summer in Dublin