In 1995, Joe Derrane became the only musician to be honored by The Irish Echo newspaper both for the #1 Irish Traditional Album of the Year, Give Us Another, and as "Irish Traditionalist of the Year" in the same year. Now this Boston-born button accordionist, a media sensation in Ireland and America, has released Return to Inis Mor, a scintillating second solo album, recorded in Ireland with Moving Cloud keyboard virtuoso Carl Hession.
This landmark album takes its title from Joe’s most recent homecoming visit to Inis Mor, the largest of Galway’s Aran Islands and the birthplace of his father, where he gave a special concert in July 1995 as part of the prestigious Galway Arts Festival. The original jig he named for that occasion is here, along with reels, hornpipes, and other jigs, including Joe’s own "Papa’s Joy," galvanized by his trademark triplets, at which he is the absolute master. Equally dazzling are two other Derrane originals: "Roseland Barndance," and "Pastiche for Galway," a tour de force incorporating Irish, French-Canadian, and American traditional music spiced with jazz licks. But nowhere is his incredible technique more impressive than on the reels "Farrell O’Gara/The Flogging Reel," surely one of the most powerful studio performances ever recorded on the button accordion. And for the first time ever, he has recorded a slow air, the profoundly moving "An Irish Widow’s Lament (on the Death of Her Only Son)," featuring a superb string quartet in an inspired arrangement from Carl Hession. Return to Inis Mor is a magnificent new solo recording that will only add luster to Joe Derrane’s reputation as one of the greatest Irish button accordionists in history.