Tuesday, April 4, 2017

BROTHERS McMULLEN ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (1995)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: April 4, 2017

Determination often pays dividends! Following my re-connection with alternative rock/folk rock singer Sarah McLachlan and the live recordings on her "Mirrorball" album, I promised myself that I would get the soundtrack from for her timeless "I Will Remember You" was originally recorded.....and I've done exactly that! I still haven't made time to watch "The Brothers McMullen" (although I plan to do so some time in the not-so-distant future), but for now, I've got a lot of marveling to do about the beautiful music featured here! I must start by giving more rave reviews for "I Will Remember You", which was finally nice to hear in its original studio format after all these years of hearing the live audience version on the soft rock radio airwaves. I was unprepared, however, for the slight differences in the arrangement of the lyrics—the first verse being entirely new to me, the second verse being the first verse on the live version on the "Mirrorball" album (the memorable words of ' I'm so tired, but I can't sleep... ' clearly indicated as such), then the third verse being completely new to me also. Or perhaps the first and third verses really aren't entirely different lyrics; maybe Sarah is just singing the words in a different way? Additional listens are in order so that my ears can verify. I did notice a more prominent piano arrangement here as well, but everything else that I've always adored about this song—Sarah's lofty vocals and intimate folk style, plus the even loftier vocal echoes that distinctively chime in between breaks in the lyrics of the chorus&mdashlare all there. Though "I Will Remember You" is just a tiny fraction of the music that I enjoyed on a soundtrack I've never heard before; the remaining portion comes courtesy of the Irish musician Seamus Egan, whose spectacular instrumental skills deserve all the praises in the world! I'm sure the nine compositions he crafted for "The Brothers McMullen" will have lots more meaning to me after I've seen the movie, but at present, I'm receiving these remarkable tunes with the appreciation of any instrumental music lover. It had been a long time since my ears heard anything in the Irish/Celtic variety—when I did, it was usually in a New Age setting (a la SECRET GARDEN or Enya)—so it was refreshing to hear the more traditional Irish sound here. "Slip Jigs" was the first one to attract me, as I always adore those Celtic songs with the fluttery woodwind melodies. I love when the tempo changes up with the faster drum and woodwind rhythm and woodwind rhythm, then was quite blown away when the dizzying instrumental affair leads up to the amazing climactic finish! Again, that merry, fluttery woodwind overture attracts me at the beginning of "Eamon Coyne's / Longford Collector", and I like that it remains a fluttery woodwind acapella all throughout; I can even hear Egan's hearty puffs of breath that he takes before playing each series of notes in every movement. Irish folk tunes have a way of making me feel like dancing, and that is surely the case on "Cape Breton Set" where the ragtime-like piano rhythm is coupled with the fluttery flute. This particular tune showed me that practically any instrument of a musician's choosing can be combined with the traditional woodwind to create whatever variety and texture of Irish music one can imagine. The real kicker here is the subtle drum beat and how the music suddenly evolves into a foot-pattin', country square-dancin' extravaganza! At some point, I actually did find myself dancing, although not in the traditional Irish way. The sharp sounds of the violin and the deep bossa nova-like rhythm are what drew me to "Intro No. 1 / Reel Beatrice" while the acoustic guitar adds character and appeal to another dancey tune I like called "Fermoy Lasses". With this being a movie soundtrack, it was very appropriate that a few of Egan's compositions would have a more mainstream, cinematic glow to them. For example, "When Juniper Sleeps" is a nicely chilled, ambient slow groove where the woodwind accompaniment that makes me think about the arrangement to Céline Dion's memorable "My Heart Will Go On" from the "Titanic" movie. Equally of cinematic movie quality are "Once Upon A Time: (there's a jazzy touch here that both surprised and sparked my senses here), "The Lark" (this one's got some sad overtones) and "Dark Slender Boy" (something about the accents of the deep piano keys made me wonder if this tune marked a key, emotional moment in the moment). Then concluding this soundtrack in a rightful manner is "Weep Not For The Memories", as the title is the final words of the chorus of "I Will Remember You". In a way, I got my wish for an instrumental of the Sarah McLachlan original; the chords are slightly different and more warming, despite the familiar song structure still being noticeable. A thrill for the Sarah McLachlan fans and a thrill for the Irish music fans—it's great when I can make two groups of music listeners happy at the same time:

1. Sarah McLachlan - I Will Remember You
2. Seamus Egan - A Week In January
3. Seamus Egan - Slip Jigs
4. Seamus Egan - Intro. No. 1 / Reel Beatrice
5. Seamus Egan - Fermoy Lasses
6. Seamus Egan - When Juniper Sleeps
7. Seamus Egan - Eamon Coyne's / Longford Collector
8. Seamus Egan - Once Upon A Time
9. Seamus Egan - Cape Breton Set
10. Seamus Egan - The Lark
11. Seamus Egan - Dark Slender Boy
12. Seamus Egan - Weep Not For The Memories

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