Album: Hello World
Label: Self Released
Release Date: 10/21/2016
It’s fairly surprising Celtgrass isn’t more of a thing as genre fusions go. The main elements are close enough cousins to work beautifully together: not too similar and not too different, equal parts fun, virtuosity and heart. Maybe it’s just inevitable that some things will just slip under the radar with so much music always out there… or maybe there just aren’t a lot of outfits like JigJam that can make lively pub reels and good-ol’-boy twang sound like the most natural of mates (and get the room bouncing in the process).
With one foot at home in Tullamore and one somewhere in Texas, the now-foursome offers a rollicking time on their second release, Hello World. This time almost two-thirds of the songs are their own, which is an encouraging sign of ambition, even if some attempts are hit and miss (such as the unnecessary overdone strings on “Set Me Free”). There’s nothing wrong with any track here; at worst a couple of them come out inoffensively pleasant. Their harmonies and solid musicianship always carry things along with charm nonetheless.
And now and then a couple pieces (e.g. “The Robin” or the jaunty “Momentum”) show how strong JigJam can be when they do nail it. The fun covers and trad.-arr. tunes are reliably solid and classic, and I’m sure the band’s own offerings will match that quality more as they keep growing. This album (or better yet, a live show) should go excellently with smiles all around and a good beverage of choice, whether it’s Tennessee whiskey or Guinness.