First Steps is an album of traditional tunes and songs delivered with great spirit and enthusiasm. Their instrumental arrangements are lovely and well-executed and never overpower the melodic beauty of the tunes. Standout tracks include the tune sets “Lonesome Road to Dingle / … “ and the “Drunken Landlady / …” (the latter starting off with an interesting strathspey feel), and feature the band talents well. Shaddox’s voice on songs like “The West Awake” and “The County Down” (a Tommy Sands composition which bears no relation to “Star of the County Down”) is wonderfully clear and bell-like and provides a terrific foil to the album’s instrumental side.
Joe Byrne R.I.P.
“provided a home and a haven for countless musicians and dancers who lived in and visited Baltimore over the past quarter century. Even though he is no longer with us, his generosity and warmth will live in our hearts forever.”