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Tir Na Nog - A Tear And A Smile CD (album) cover


Tir Na Nog


Prog Folk

3.36 | 9 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars TÍR NA NÓG translates from the Irish to Land of Eternal Youth, a mythical land in folklore. Their use of an Irish language name, and their eminence from that country persuaded me to pick up a couple of their LPs many years ago. After an initial disappointment, largely due to the lack of an overt Irish sound that I expected, I entered a period of re-appraisal, and am happy to conclude that their value and my taste for subtlety have both improved with the years.

So, instead of thinking that TÍR NA NÓG might be an early version of HORSLIPS or an Irish equivalent of FAIRPORT, perhaps a Celtic NICK DRAKE or a more proggy DONOVAN or early MAGNA CARTA might be a better reference point. Good taste and understatement are really the bullet points here. Even the psychedelic content that buried many an early 1970s effort is subdued. Elusive properties like flow, constructive compositions, and synergy also suffuse this gentle work. Listen to it from beginning to end without interruption, rinse, and repeat several times and you will emerge refreshed, if you have even the vestige of a prog folk soul.

To more concrete subjects, the lyrics, soft yet imposing vocals, simple acoustic arrangements, and virtuosity are all in abundance, whether it be in the bodhran colored "Looking Up", the angry yet resigned "The Lady I Love", or the infinitely romantic and melodic "So Freely". "Come and See the Show" and "Same thing Happening" exemplify their slice of life lyrics and the latter is coupled by fine acoustic strumming. This duo epitomize the "less is more" philosophy at a time when "More is less" was all too often the mantra.

When these guys set out to find a name that fit, they hit the jackpot, for the sound of TÍR NA NÓG has not aged, and can still induce tears and smiles with its simple beauty.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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