Album Review | Kila Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5
Eoin Dillon’s playing of the Uilleann Pipes has contributed in no small measure to Kíla’s unmistakable and distinct sound. Given that Kíla’s albums, live concerts and festival appearances have showcased great musicianship from what could be described as a collective, of which Dillon is but a part, it’s rewarding to hear those pipes singled out as an entity in their own right. There is little doubting the contribution Kíla has made to the evolving traditions of Irish Celtic music through their half a dozen or so albums, and this, Dillon’s debut solo album, enriches those traditions further with ten instrumental pieces of outstanding quality, eight of which are composed by Dillon, with a couple more being arrangements of tunes by Frank Tate (Marcus Mc Spartacus) and Dee Armstrong (The Bearna Waltz). With some generous accompaniment from Des Charleton (guitar), Steve Larkin (fiddle) and the aforementioned Frank Tate (Bouzouki), all of whom Dillon has worked with extensively in various sessions, these arrangements fall easily into familiar Celtic territory with no problem whatsoever. Dillon is equally at home on the tin whistle and low whistle as can be heard on “Codladh Sámh” as well as the more familiar ‘pipering’ as it’s referred to on the sleeve credits. The compositions here range from strict tempo dance tunes “Length of Space” and funereal lamentations “The Moon On Me Back” to sprightly numbers such as “Liffey Reels” and the gorgeous “Paddy’s Perambulation”, all of which showcase Dillon’s command over his chosen instrument, which incidentally (as a fine craftsman and cabinet maker) he knocked off himself. If fellow Kíla band mate Colm Ó Snodaigh’s debut Giving, simultaneously released through Kíla Records, showcases a singer and musician branching out into unfamiliar territory such as jazz, then Eoin Dillon remains particularly faithful to his roots and presents a collection of beautifully arranged compositions that sit well alongside anything by the likes of Davy Spillane, Liam O’Flynn or Paddy Maloney. And if that’s not enough for you, then he can also knock up a decent cabinet for your drawing room.