O’Connor Band (w/ Mark O’Connor) — ‘Coming Home’

O’Connor Band (w/ Mark O’Connor) — Coming Home

Label: Rounder Records

Coming Home, the long awaited album from the O’Connor Band, is finally here and meets the highest of expectations. The album is Mark O’Connor’s return to his bluegrass roots. It is a family affair; featuring a band centered around his family: his wife, Maggie (fiddle, vocals); his son, Forrest (mandolin, vocals); Forrest’s partner, Kate Lee (fiddle, vocals); and Joe Smart (guitar) and Geoff Saunders (bass, banjo).

Offering a dozen songs featuring some of the richest arrangements around, the album sets a tone of good vibrations and doesn’t let up. It’s all here: fiddle tunes, love ballads, a touch of blues, traditional country and just about anything else to get your toes tapping and your voice singing along. What impresses most is the O’Connor Band’s ability to deliver new tunes with the same tender, loving care as some of the most well known bluegrass classics. These are songs that don’t necessarily call attention to themselves, yet stay with you after hearing them.

It may seem strange to describe an album released in August as something of a “holiday” album. After all, there are no Christmas songs on Coming Home. But I must admit that listening to it gave me the same kind of warmth that only comes in December when I put on my favorite holiday albums. No doubt it is the result of the family playing together that creates this effect. There is something wonderful about the approach these songs take, and the love in every note, that earns them the familiarity of such reliable, musical friends.

Essential Downloads: “Always Do,” “Jerusalem Ridge,” “You Too.”

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.

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