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Postcards From Ireland

Celtic Woman

World - Released October 29, 2021 | Manhattan Records

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Postcards From Ireland

Celtic Woman

World - Released October 29, 2021 | Manhattan Records

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Celebration

Celtic Woman

World - Released February 27, 2020 | Manhattan Records

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The Magic Of Christmas

Celtic Woman

Ambient/New Age - Released October 25, 2019 | Manhattan Records

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Amid The Falling Snow

Celtic Woman

Ambient/New Age - Released October 4, 2019 | Manhattan Records

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Orinoco Flow

Celtic Woman

World - Released September 3, 2019 | Manhattan Records

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Ballroom Of Romance

Celtic Woman

World - Released August 27, 2019 | Manhattan Records

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Over The Rainbow

Celtic Woman

World - Released August 16, 2019 | Manhattan Records

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Home For Christmas

Celtic Woman

World - Released October 5, 2012 | Manhattan Records

Celtic Woman's fourth holiday collection, which features the talents of Chloë Agnew, Lisa Lambe, Máiréad Nesbitt, and for the first time since 2007, Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, arrives just a year after 2011's German-exclusive Celtic Family Christmas. Offering up the usual mix of amiable holiday pop ("I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Winter Wonderland") and triumphant, faith-based classics ("Joy to the World," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "We Three Kings"), Home for Christmas doesn’t deviate at all from the formula, which after selling over six-million records worldwide, shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Believe

Celtic Woman

Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Manhattan Records

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Let's Go Higher

Johnny Reid

Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | Manhattan Records

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Today I'm Gonna Try And Change The World

Johnny Reid

Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | Manhattan Records

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Hallelujah Broadway

Various Artists

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2010 | Manhattan Records

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Little Italy

Bell'Aria

World - Released January 1, 2010 | Manhattan Records

The vocal quintet Bell'Aria was assembled through auditions from singers responding to an ad in Backstage magazine for the purpose of creating an act to play in Las Vegas. (Who placed the ad? Their press biography doesn't say, but a good guess might be Ian Ralfini, credited as executive producer of this album.) The idea of the act might be described as a cross between the Rat Pack and the Three Tenors, with a heavy distaff participation, three women (Jessica Carvo, Angelica DiCastro, and Miriam Pultro) joining two men (the baritone Gabriel Burrafato and the tenor Christopher Macchio) to sing Italian-oriented music ranging from 1950s pop standards popularized by the likes of Dean Martin to opera arias by Verdi. The inevitable album version of the act (which debuted at the Venetian in August 2010) mixes just that sort of music, with a higher complement of pop than opera. In solos, duets, trios, quartets, and quintets, the five young singers address songs like "Volare," "That's Amore," and "Be My Love" on the one hand, and "Brindisi" from La Traviata on the other. If this is a gimmick, so was the concept of the Three Tenors, and, having passed their auditions, these are five talented singers. There may be no personality voices like those of Martin or Louis Prima, nor voices of the distinction of Mario Lanza, but the singers do creditable jobs with the material. It's hard to believe there's more than one more album in this concept, but as a souvenir of a Vegas act aimed at Italian-Americans, it was at least worth doing once. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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The List

Rosanne Cash

Country - Released January 1, 2009 | Manhattan Records

Distinctions 3F de Télérama
After the dark and chilling themes of 2006's Black Cadillac, which saw Rosanne Cash dealing with the deaths of her mother, Vivian Liberto, her father, Johnny Cash, and her stepmother, June Carter Cash -- all of whom passed within a two-year span -- one might assume that her next project would move into an even deeper level of bleakness, but with The List, it's immediately clear that she has instead found a more measured place to stand, and it's a lovely and redemptive outing that looks back to go forward. When Cash turned 18, her father, alarmed that his daughter only knew the songs that were getting played on the radio, gave her a list of what he considered 100 essential American songs; Cash kept that list, and now she's drawn on it for this wonderfully nuanced outing that brims with a kind of redemptive timelessness. The List is a renewal and a testament to life, and it belongs to her father as much as it belongs to her, a beautiful restatement of her father's passions, only now, they've become his daughter's treasures, as well. It's an affirming story, but that's all it would be if Cash didn't sing her heart out here. And she does sing her heart out. The opener, a version of Jimmie Rodgers' "Miss the Mississippi and You," is full of comfortable grace and sentiment, and Cash keeps that fine emotional tone throughout this set. Songs like the folk classic "500 Miles" feel at once both lovingly rendered and reborn for a new century in Cash's hands, and she doesn't update them so much as find redemption and solace in them, which in turn gives these songs a bright relevance, and because of the connection to her father and the list he gave to her, it also feels like a deep personal statement. There's so much to take comfort in here, including her fine rendering of Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country," a nice turn at Harlan Howard's "Heartaches by the Number" (which features Elvis Costello), a calm but still spooky duet with Jeff Tweedy on the faux-murder ballad "Long Black Veil," and a duet with Bruce Springsteen on Hal David and Paul Hampton's "Sea of Heartbreak." Cash sings with a calm, measured authority, and all these the songs fit together with the same sort of refreshing resignation and care. Contemporary country radio probably won't touch anything here, since country these days seems to be more about name-checking than any actual preservation, but Cash is after something else again -- it's about connecting with the past and carrying it forward as an act of personal faith. It has nothing to do with hats or belt buckles. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Amalfi

Sarah Brightman

Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Manhattan Records

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Real Animal

Alejandro Escovedo

Rock - Released June 10, 2008 | Manhattan Records

It may be simplistic to describe Alejandro Escovedo's 2006 album The Boxing Mirror as a record inspired by the artist's brush with death, but given the record's back story -- it was recorded as Escovedo was recovering from a near-fatal bout with Hepatitis C -- it's hard not to imagine its brave and often dazzling creative ambition was fueled by Escovedo's knowledge that these could be his last words as a musician. Two years later, a healthier and stronger Escovedo returned to the studio to record his ninth studio album, Real Animal, and by comparison this is a leaner, more tightly focused session; in fact, this is the strongest rock album Escovedo has made since his 1997 album with Buick MacKane, The Pawn Shop Years. It's easy to tag Real Animal as a less ambitious and artful collection than The Boxing Mirror, but viewed on its own merits this ranks with the best and most powerful music of Escovedo's career. Like The Boxing Mirror, which was produced by John Cale, Real Animal was recorded with a producer who worked with some of Escovedo's primal influences, Tony Visconti, and his recordings with David Bowie and T. Rex doubtless helped him connect with Escovedo the smart but swaggering rocker in a way Cale did not; this set of songs is every bit as intelligent and emotionally resonant as Escovedo's best work, but it moves with a taut energy and insistent force that informs even the quieter, acoustic oriented numbers, such as the bluesy "People (We're Only Gonna Live So Long)," and the plaintive "Hollywood Hills." While Escovedo wrote the tunes on Real Animal with Chuck Prophet, the songs bear his stylistic hallmarks and melodic sensibilities throughout, and these stories are dotted with places and events from Escovedo's past -- discovering music as a kid ("Golden Bear"), his days as a San Francisco punk rocker ("Nun's Song"), flirting with the New York bohemian scene ("Chelsea Hotel '78"), and barnstorming with a rock & roll band ("Chip 'N' Tony"). Even when the cues to Escovedo's past aren't obvious, there's too much heart, soul, and blood in this music to not to have come directly from his heart, and he's seemingly incapable of singing from any other place, giving this music an emotional power that reaches down to the soul. If The Boxing Mirror was a work influenced by the shadow of mortality, Real Animal is an album about life -- both as survival and as the faces and moments that fill our days on this Earth. How many artists could make two masterpieces in a row that are so different? And how much do you want to bet that Escovedo still has one or two more records this good in him? © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Symphony

Sarah Brightman

Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Manhattan Records

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A Winter Symphony

Sarah Brightman

Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Manhattan Records

You probably already know whether or not you're going to like this album, but for those who haven't yet encountered the phenomenon called Sarah Brightman, a stab at objective description may be in order. The genre is British crossover classical, with a mixture of contemporary pop-style tunes and more traditional numbers, in this case Christmas carols. Some of the factors that have made Brightman unusually successful among practitioners coming from the pop/Broadway side of the genre are on display in this seasonal release, with the outer covers showing Brightman slogging through a winter landscape and the booklet artwork showing the prone, bare-shouldered singer swathed in diaphanous linens and looking awestruck as snowflakes or confetti (better hope it's the latter) drop from above. First and foremost is Brightman's voice. You can argue over whether Andrea Bocelli or Russell Watson has operatic chops, but the debate is irrelevant in Brightman's case. She's the crossover equivalent of Donna Summer or Beyoncé, a singer who is good at adapting her voice to the needs of the surrounding production. Other examples might be the two female vocalists of ABBA, from whose Arrival LP the opening selection is drawn. But Brightman can do more with her voice than those Swedes, and part of what gives people chills is the way she can push her squeaky sound up into its top register in a piece like "Silent Night" (track 4) and not lose control. A second thing Brightman's albums do well (and here the credit goes to the producers and arrangers) is to make a symphony orchestra (several of Europe's finest, actually) sound uncannily like a pure product of studio electronics. Is that a good thing? Brightman detractors might read the Harry Crews novel Car, in which a redneck junkyard employee becomes distraught over the prevalence of mechanization and attempts to eat an entire car piece by piece, before saying no. The third effective piece of musical intelligence here is the selection of material. The subconscious cues that make music like this work are buried below the surface, and the surfaces work best if they are calmly simple. This does not foreclose gnomic lyrics like those of Andersson and Ulvaeus or of Neil Diamond (the little-known "I've Been This Way Before"); indeed, they can enhance the overall effect. Brightman and her producers have a knack for picking songs that aren't hackneyed, yet go down easily. Most of her colleagues would not have been likely to pick "Colder than Winter" by U.S. country singer/songwriter Vince Gill, for example, but it works like a charm. All in all, if you like Sarah Brightman, you are virtually guaranteed to like this album. And if you're absorbed by the strangeness that is European pop culture, you just might like it too. © TiVo
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She Ain't Me

Carrie Rodriguez

Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Manhattan Records

Singer/songwriter/fiddler Carrie Rodriguez's sophomore solo album is substantially different from its predecessor in a few key ways. First, ex-employer Chip Taylor, who was a considerable presence on her first disc, having written or co-written the majority of the songs, is now gone in all but spirit. Carrie Rodriguez picks up the slack by co-writing all but one tune, calling in ringers like ex-Jayhawks frontman Gary Louris and producer Malcolm Burn, both of whom also contribute instrumentally. Additionally, for better or worse, Rodriguez only plays fiddle on three tunes, sticking with tenor guitar and mandolin on seven others. While there's nothing wrong with that, it's like having a great quarterback only hand off the ball instead of passing it. Interestingly, one of those tunes, "Absence," is an album highlight. Co-written with artistic soulmate Mary Gauthier, it taps into a dark, spooky backwoods vibe that's both natural and haunting. The focus is on Rodriguez's voice, a pleasant, often affecting trill that has lost some of its Suzanne Vega-like comparisons since the last effort, but remains evocative and perfect for this predominantly atmospheric follow-up. Producer Burn, who knows atmospherics due to his work on Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball and with Chris Whitley, brings his mojo, and the combination works well. Rodriguez goes for a hit with the title cut, a pleasant if commercially driven ditty that wouldn't sound out of place on contemporary country radio, which is likely the driving force behind it. But Rodriguez is better when she lurks between the cracks of country and folk, as she does on the majority of this set. The stripped-down "Let Me In" features standup bass, muted drums, spooky, sparse guitar chords, and Rodriguez singing sultry lines such as "Tell me what gets you off/I don't mind if it's hard or soft." Touring companion Lucinda Williams adds vocals to "Mask of Moses," bringing her sense of drama and intensity to an already riveting tune with religious overtones that builds to a dynamic climax. Like most subtle albums, these songs don't jump out, preferring to float around your brain. Repeated spins result in the drifting melodies, introspective lyrics, and Burn's slow-burn production getting under your skin and taking hold. While not as immediately accessible as her debut, She Ain't Me reveals its charms slowly yet effectively, and is the better for it. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo