Reviewed by: Jane Roser
It’s always a pleasure to hear these four sisters from Ireland’s County Donegal; their songs are steeped in beautiful harmonies, nostalgia and fiery passion-basically they cover everything a good album should consist of. Their latest release Taproom recently shot to No. 1 on iTunes World Music Charts and is in the top 100 on iTunes overall music charts.
Screaming Orphans are Joan Diver (drums, vocals), Angela Diver (bass, violin, vocals), Grainne Diver (guitar, vocals) and Marie Therese Diver (keys, accordion, vocals) and they breathe new life to traditional Irish and American folk tunes (one even sung in Irish Gaelic) while tackling covers of popular modern hits (The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) is a fun, feisty track).
The album starts off with the powerful rallying cry of “Ireland’s Hour of Need (Gallant Heroes)” which pays homage to the patriots who “are turning in their graves” while the fat cats, bankers and politicians make a profit off of others misery. The ladies specifically give a shout-out to the “greats of ’16”-a possible reference to the Easter Rebellion which occurred on Easter Monday in 1916.
“The Humour Is On Me Now” is a charming song about a young girl lamenting how she’s not married yet while her dad tells her to enjoy being single while she can. It’s delivered with wit, sweetness and an ever so subtle cheekiness.
The origins of the traditional American folk tune “Oh Shenandoah” date back to the early 19th century and it’s been recorded by icons such as Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Bing Crosby and Tom Waits. The Orphans version is haunting, romantic and nostalgic. I live only 50 miles from the Shenandoah Valley and get chills every time I hear this song.
I don’t recall hearing famed folk-rock singer-songwriter Linda Thompson’s version of “Paddy’s Lamentation” on the Gangs of New York soundtrack, but this song is memorable both in its powerful delivery and gut-wrenching lyrics: “Here’s to you boys, now take my advice. To America I’ll have ye’s not be going. There is nothing here but war, where the murderin’ cannons roar. And I wish I was at home in dear old Dublin.”
Delightful, captivating and formidable, Taproom, to quote William Faulkner, combines both the sound and the fury.