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2017-10-01 ALBUM REVIEW – KILMAINE SAINTS "Whiskey Blues & Faded Tattos" (2017)

Kilmaine Saints “Whiskey Blues & Faded Tattoos” KSCD005
Release date: July 14, 2017
Running time: 61:47, 17 tracks

The band from Harrisbug, PA Kilmaine Saints released their 5th album two months ago. “Whiskey Blues and Faded Tattoos” is their third studio album. The Kilmaine Saints debut album  “The Good, The Plaid and The Ugly” was one of the first reviews  that I wrote back in 2010 and their sophomore release “Drunken Redemption” was also reviewed here and reached the top 9 at the best of 2012. They also released a 7 track mini-album in 2014, “unTraditional”  and a 19 track live album in 2015, “Live at the Abbey”.

If the Kilmaine Saints first and second studio albums were recorded and engineered by Jason Shaffer and produced by a member of the band, “Whiskey Blues & Faded Tattoos” has been produced, mixed and mastered by Tyler “KougJ” Garrett, who also plays bass on “Mingulay Boat Song”. The album packaging is top-notch: an 8 panel digipack with the lyrics to all of the songs and full credits, together with the line-up and thank-you section.

One of the things that define Kilmaine Saints music is the fact that there are several songwriters in the band. Liz Mallin (fiddle) has written the music for 5 songs and the lyrics to 3 of them (singer Brendan Power has written the lyrics to the other two, “Memories Fade Away” and “Long Walk to Sonnagh”). Mike McNaughton has written the music for 5 songs two, and the lyrics to 4 of them (bassist and bagpiper Jon Heller wrote the lyrics to “Whiskey Blues & faded Tattoos”). Finally, Rich Lipski (guitar) has written the music for three songs. The lyrics to those songs are traditional (“Pennsylvania’s Finest”), by Jon Heller (“Innocent Hand”) and by S.Murphy (“2nd and Locust”).

Idiom” is the perfect intro to the album. The song kicks off with the pipes playing “Hector the Hero” and then the catchy chorus pushes the rest of the instruments. One of the album’s highlight with plenty of woah and hey shouts. “Memories Fade Away” starts off with Mike’s drums and Liz’s fiddle. The beginning has a classic folk-rock sound, but afterwards the song gets a Celtic punk treatment. “Long Walk to Sonnagh” was previously released on “Live at the Abbey”. Kick-ass fiddle and mandolin on this fast-paced number. “Golden Rose” is a poignant song in memory of Mary Lou. It’s sung a cappella by Liz and the wifes of the other members. “Raise my Glass” is an excellent number with real punk lyrics. Brendan’s vocals are spotless, Liz does a good job on fiddle as usual, Rich shines on electric guitar and the bagpipes at the end are amazing too.

After having reviewed the songs written by Liz, now it’s Mike’s turn. “Whiskey Blues & Faded tattoos” is the title track and gets a classic American rock treatment. “Long Shot Nag” begins with a traditional fiddle tune and it’s a fast-paced Celtic punk anthem. “Wild Kolleen” is bagpipes punk at its best and features a bagpipes rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching in”. “Ride Like Hell” is a cut with an Eastern Europe fiddle and pirate vocals. And “This is the Last Call” is  the band’s answer to “Bugger Off” and a big thank you to their loyal fans. Class.

Finally the songs written by Rich are tracks no. 3, 10 and 12.  Banjo and fiddle can be heard on “Pennsylvania’s Finest”, an awesome Celtic punk number. “2nd & Locust” moves to the band’s classic rock’n’roll end while “Innocent Hand” follows the band’s sound from previous albums.

There are four covers on “Whiskey Blues & Faded Tattoos” and three of them are played in a row. My faves are “Mingulay Boat Song” and “No Awa Tae Bide Awa”. The former is an upbeat song with bagpipes that reminds me of the early Mudmen, and features “The Clumsy Lover”. The latter is really played with gusto.

Whiskey Blues & Faded Tattoos” is the proof that Kilmaine Saints are still in the game. ‘nuff said.


Track listing:

01. Idiom 03:54
02. Whiskey Blues and Faded Tattoos 04:07
03. Pennsylvania’s Finest 02:52
04. Tiocfaidh Ar La 03:39
05. Long Shot Nag 04:07
06. Memories Fade Away 03:13
07. Foggy Dew 04:18
08. Mingulay Boat Song 02:47
09. No Awa Tae Bide Awa 03:31
10. 2nd & Locust 03:05
11. Long Walk to Sonnagh 03:29
12. Innocent Hand 02:49
13. Wild Kolleen 03:45
14. Golden Pen 02:20
15. Raise My Glass 04:46
16. Ride Like Hell 03:55
17. Last Call 04:28

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