Great Big Sea
Sea of No Cares
If you enjoy being miserable, do not buy Great Big Sea’s fifth album, Sea of No Cares and certainly do not listen to it. As cliched and hokey as it sounds, I literally have not been able to stop my toe from tapping or my mouth from smiling since I first put the CD into my E drive and cranked up the volume.
Hailing from Newfoundland and specializing in Celtic-inspired folk-rock, Great Big Sea nears perfection with Sea of No Cares. The band flawlessly intersperses energetic versions of traditional Newfoundland ballads with original songs. The overall effect of the album is to make the listener yearn to travel to the land of origin of these brilliant songs. With the fiddles, “Whistles high and low,” and bodhran in “Scolding Wife,” the listener can easily picture himself deep within a Newfoundland bar, hoisting a large mug of frothy mead while belting out the rousing chorus.
Of special mention on the album are the title track as well as “Penelope” and “A Boat Like Gideon Brown”—noteworthy for their infectious melodies and insightful lyrics. The traditional “Barque in the Harbour” is especially poignant with guest vocalist Liz Pickard’s soprano voice adding a haunting quality to the tale of lost love.
Great Big Sea took a year to record the album, and the end result more than justifies the extra time put into it. If you like to smile, put in some extra effort yourself and head out to the closest record store and pick up a copy of Sea of No Cares as soon as possible.
––Nell A. Hanlon
The Essential Johnny Cash
To commemorate Johnny Cash’s 70th birthday, Columbia has released The Essential Johnny Cash, a two-disc compilation of hits from the prolific Man in Black. True to its name, this collection pares Cash’s oeuvre down to a 36-song sample, and the result is an enjoyable taste of Cash’s more than forty-year-long career.