The Duhks - Migrations

The Duhks

(Sugar Hill)

First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2006, Volume 13, #9

Written by John Metzger


If The Duhks’ first two outings (Your Daughters & Your Sons and The Duhks) served to establish a solid foundation from which the group could work, then its latest endeavor Migrations begins its realization of a much greater vision. Throughout the album, the band’s eclectic tendencies remain wholly intact, and its remarkably deft ability at integrating a diverse array of styles is exuberantly on display as it jumps from whirling, zydeco-imbued romps (Down to the River) to rousing spirituals (Moses Don’t Get Lost) to Celtic-tinged folk (Three Fishers). Instead of concocting miniature suites to demonstrate its prowess, however, the ensemble viewed Migrations itself as its palette. Consequently, Migrations, which was fashioned under the guiding hand of newgrass legend Tim O’Brien, is more accomplished and sharply focused than its predecessors.

Although The Duhks’ own songwriting still lags behind its instrumental virtuosity, the group at least has the wherewithal to complete its thoughts with some well-chosen cover material. This time, each selection fits perfectly within the thematic framework of Migrations while continuing to allow the band to cast a wide, textural net with its music. In particular, the opening salvo — which runs from Sean Byrne and Scott McCarthy’s blues-y Ol’ Cook Pot to Tracy Chapman’s soulful Mountains O’ Things to Katie Herzig’s weary Heaven’s My Home — is powerfully poignant as the band ponders materialism and religion from the perspective of the working class. The remainder of the set doesn’t pack as nearly tremendous of a punch, but throughout Migrations, there’s no denying The Duhks’ maturity and growth. starstarstar ½

Migrations is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box