Bringing a new dimension to Irish traditional music, Reeltime is a charismatic new quartet out of Ireland that combines stellar instrumental skills with a genius for arranging. Their music has that incredible energy and lift found only in the very best Irish music, but goes even further, with uptempo percussive jazz guitar chording and exquisite effects from clarinet, piano, electric guitar, percussion and synthesizer. Centered around the virtuoso duet playing of accordion and fiddle, Reeltime infuses their music with unquenchable energy and humor. Halfway through the first set of tunes, "Gort to Texas to Honolulu", the band kicks into high gear with the introduction of what might be called "sock guitar" (a la Django Reinhardt, to whom guitarist Chris Kelly is frequently compared). When the sly wail of clarinet slides in a few bars later, the energy climbs even higher and listeners are absolutely compelled to dance.
Reeltime moves easily from straight-ahead Irish traditional to Texas swing to love songs to ragtime--constantly inducing metamorphoses of mood. Regarded as one of the best fiddlers in Ireland, Mairin Fahy (who also sings lead vocals) delivers a stunning version of the wonderful "Calliope House" following an eerie electric guitar and accordion intro. On "Bulgarian Bash," which they learned from American fiddler Kenny Baker, the duet of clarinet and sock guitar returns invoking images of a gypsy campfire. For their debut self-titled recording, Reeltime, the band has chosen a combination of reels, waltzes, slow airs and songs that showcase the tremendous talents of the individual players and their gift for arranging.