★★★★★ (out of 5)
HOW does a band from Plymouth manage to become part of local folklore in Donegal? The fact is it had nothing to do with their music.
The well-named Mad Dog Mcrea got a bit lost in Donegal very late at night after playing a festival so they decided to park their plush newly-refurbished tour bus and continue the party.
However, parking on a beach was not the best option because the Atlantic Ocean has little sympathy for a bunch of musicians enjoying local moonshine and the band woke in the early hours with water lapping around them.
They had to scarper quickly and after swimming to safety could only watch helpless as their bus with equipment instruments et al disappeared beneath the rapidly rising unforgiving Atlantic.
They don’t actually say if the incident influenced the title of their Sean Lakeman-produced new album Almost Home but this is a super record from the multi-talented band who won’t forget their visit to Donegal.
The standout part of this album is the superb balance between vocals and instruments. Every track is perfectly clear and with such a diversity of instruments it is a huge tribute to Lakeman that every word is crystal.
It is also a tribute to the distinctive voice of guitarist Michael Mathieson.
The line-up is completed by Don Crimp (whistles & flute), Jimi Galvin (bass), Dave Podmore (bazouki & banjo), Pete Chart (drums) and Nicki Powell (fiddle) who all contribute to this great mixture of folk/bluegrass/ pop/ rock original material with energy and style.
Watch out for Mad Dog Mcrea if they are in your area.