Solas: America's Wild Irish Rose

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A very brief period of warm temperatures had disappeared, and snow was falling again when the van pulled up. It seemed odd that America's premier Irish band, Solas, would be touring heavily during the snowiest February on record. They probably planned the tour in late summer. Nevertheless, they jumped out of the van eager to play.

When we unloaded all the instruments and equipment in the studio, Winifred Horan and Mick McAuley were stretching and wiping their eyes of sleep. I forgot that for musicians, 2 p.m. is late morning. But when they started to warm up, they started to wake up, and suddenly they were in top form. When you're as good as this group is, playing well becomes a habit; a little coffee and they were ready to fly.

Eamon McElholm, McCauley, and Horan play with such volume that they struggled to hear Seamus Egan, who was playing a nylon-string guitar. So producer Joe Gunderman put him in the middle, and the party began. They played one instrumental off their new album, The Turning Tide, and two songs featuring Mairead Phelan's vocals.

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