Record Review 

As traditional and contemporary styles become increasingly homogenized in the genre-bending acoustic music world, it gets harder to truly classify much of what is being created. Multi-hyphenated monikers cloud the categorization and confuse the prospective listener. One must simply listen intently to really appreciate what an artist is doing. All it takes to realize the Duhks have something special going on is one spin. These young fresh folks from Manitoba, Canada, deliver a knockout with their Sugar Hill debut.

The delightful concoction starts with a pinch of Celtic guitar, uilleann pipes and pennywhistles provided by Jordan McConnell, then a little Afro-beat percussion from Scott Senior and some gorgeous traditional fiddle from Tania Elizabeth and old-timey banjo from Leonard Podolak thrown into the mix. It's topped off with the sweet, soulful voice of Jessica Havey.

Produced by Bela Fleck and joined by luminaries such as Edgar Meyer and Victor Wooten, the band pulls out the stops song after song. The Duhks have no fear when it comes to combining a number of diverse tunes into unlikely medleys. Blending their original work with classic traditional pieces or songs by the likes of Leonard Cohen and Sting, the sound is fresh and compelling. The Duhks bring a vital energy and sincere respect to an otherwise obscure idiom.

- James Kelly


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