Solas : All These Years
For the past 20 years, Solas (pronounced Suh-less) have held the torch of Irish-American roots music high, traveling the world as the premiere band of their generation. They’ve inspired countless artists, redefined how we think of Irish music, and created a sound that’s remarkably cohesive across eleven albums and a legacy of some of the best Irish vocalists.
Now in 2016, Solas is bringing together everyone who’s been in the band over these 20 years for an all-star, one-time lineup on this new album, All These Years. That includes the current lineup of Solas: multi-instrumentalist prodigy and founding member Seamus Egan, founding member and wildly innovative fiddler Winifred Horan, master accordionist Mick McAuley, commanding guitarist Eamon McElholm, and Solas’ beautiful new voice, Moira Smiley, a powerful vocalist known also for her work with the indie band tUnE-yArDs. The new album sees the return of Solas’ renowned previous singers: Karen Casey, Deirdre Scanlan, Mairead Phelan, Niamh Varian Barry, and Noriana Kennedy; as well as early band members like accordionist John Williams, and guitarists John Doyle and Donal Clancy. “We thought it was a way for us to celebrate the past with all of the people who had been important to us over the years,” explains Seamus Egan. “But we didn’t want use this as an exercise in nostalgia, because we weren’t interested in that at all. Even though we’ve been at it 20 years, I think creatively we’re still as excited about the possibilities as we were back then
On All These Years, you’ll also hear Solas’ wide-reaching influences, from the roiling global cross-rhythms they bring to tunes like “Lucy Locket’s/The Quiet Pint/The Sleepy Sailors”, to the beautiful Celtic reworkings of the 70s classic “Darkness Darkness” from The Youngbloods and Patty Griffin’s “You Are Not Alone” (sung here by Karen Casey). While they push far afield, they refuse to turn their backs on the Irish traditions they love so well, as in their masterful versions of classics like “Willie Moore,” the nationalist ballad “Padraig Og Mo Chroi,” and the great “Wandering Aengus.” Balancing tradition and innovation as deftly as this has always been a key part of Solas’ musical formula.
The aptly titled All These Years gathers the greatest voices of a generation of Irish music to show that the vision of Solas has always been the same: to take the traditional music they love to towering new heights.