“When a group like the Chieftains survives to play music together for forty years Ireland, and indeed, the world, has every reason to celebrate. And one of the primary reasons for the relatively phenomenal success of the Chieftains is their willingness to embrace change. Evidence of which is contained, in abundance, on this CD. Back when Paddy Moloney (uilleann pies and tin whistle), Sean Keane (fiddle); Derek Bell (harp/piano); Kevin Conneff (bodhran/vocals) and Matt Molloy (flute) first played together, they performed purely folk music. Music like March of the Kings of Laois/Paddy’s Jig/O’ Keefe’s The Chattering Magpie, which kicks off this collection. Or Live From Matt Molloy’s Pub, a track from their last album,Waters From The Well, which brought the Chieftains right back to their roots.
But time and again along the way founder member Paddy Moloney has insisted on pushing the musical boundaries of the group further than maybe even he could have conceived was possible forty years ago. Indeed, what other group could make the leap from largely improvised reels to meticulously arranged and orchestrated movie music such as Morning Dew/Women of Ireland, The Love Theme From Barry Lyndon, then cross cultural boundaries and slip so easily into a track like Guadalupe, complete with Txalaparta introduction? Or slide into the heart of country music to perform tunes like Cotton Eyed Joe with Ricky Skaggs, and Full of Joy with a Chinese Band?
Then, of course, there are the Chieftain’s forays into the world of rock ‘n’ roll, which is where they really have stretched the boundaries of Irish music bringing on board rip-roaring reprobates like The Rolling Stones, for a version of Rocky Road to Dublin that gleefully redefines the word ‘rocky.’ Equally transformative are their collaborations with rock icons such as Sinéad O’ Connor, on The Foggy Dew; Elvis Costello, on Long Journey Home ; Van Morrison on Shenendoah and Joni Mitchell on The Magdelene Laundries. Add to that list former Police-man Sting singing Mo Gile Mear and you’ll see what I mean by musical eclecticism.”
– Joe Jackson