Album Review: ‘Lost & Found’ by Jayne Pomplas

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Amid the tragedy and squalor of COVID-19, fiddler Jayne Pomplas graced us with her newest album ‘Lost & Found’ featuring Jos Kelly and Darren Roche (both of the Irish alt-folk band Moxie). ‘Lost & Found’ is rooted in Irish fiddle music, but presents a unique twist courtesy of pianist Jos Kelly.

Released right on the heels of a more traditional ensemble in ‘John Byrne’s Disco,’ ‘Lost & Found’ still offers jigs, reels and hornpipes, but with a piano rock style accompaniment that colors the traditional fiddle tunes with a contemporary acoustic bent. The occasional addition of Roche’s bodhrán results in an incredibly rockout-able fiddle album.

Eleven tracks in all, ‘Lost & Found’ features some favorites such as “The Maid Behind the Bar,” “Banish Misfortune” and “The Marino Waltz.” Though the waltz feels lacking in dancer’s grace, it is in the jaunty drive of the reels and jigs that Pomplas truly shines. Her exuberance and skill, paired with Kelly’s percussive piano playing and Roche’s colorful bodhrán, makes it difficult to sit still.

Recorded in Dublin by John Branagan at Sun Studios, and mastered by Alex Borwick in Avenue Road Studios, the entire album is a clear testament to their skill as much as the musicians. What we’ve been given is not only some innovative musical arrangements, but a well-balanced album that flows seamlessly from tune to tune, and all the right colors and timbres to bring out the best in the musicians. No matter the range of the fiddle or thickness of the piano accompaniment, the fiddle remains at the forefront, with a wonderful rawness and richness of tone.

Upon the album’s March 23 release, Pomplas wrote in regard to difficulties and restraints caused by the coronavirus outbreak, “…I’ve been trying to get my zen on and think of ways I can still do what I do, and what’s better than sharing a few tuuuunes?” And she’s absolutely right – this album may just be the antidote for stress and cabin fever that we’ve been looking for.

‘Lost & Found’ is available for limited listening, as well as purchasing, on Bandcamp.

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