Album Reviews:

Dreams and High Hopes

    The CD captures a lot of what happens at their gigs, but provides some surprises as well. Like Michael Rofkar's tasty electric guitar playing. And his excellent songwriting ! The title song is from his own hand. It's a well-told tale of an Irish famine immigrant drawn into the American Civil War, and finding his childhood best friend in his rifle sight, and luckily NOT killing him. There's lots of fine musicianship on this recording, as well. Jon Berger, violinist, comes through loud and clear on almost every cut. He also does a fine job on mandolin, melodeon, viola and whistle, filling in the spaces with texture and filigree in a most artful and appropriate manner. Several guests have come along to sweeten and expand the production. I was thrilled by Todd Denman's soaring pipes, particularly in the Nollaig Casey tune THE MOUSESKIN SHOE. Michael Capella brings his tasty dobro into the mix on the country-flavored title cut. My favorite piece on this CD is the final song LONE SHANAKYLE, a beautiful ballad written in the 1860s to tell the sad story of Ireland's holocaust experience a generation before. The production values on this cut really shine and every player provides perfect support for an important and beautiful historical presentation. Well done, Greenhouse!
Riggy Rackin

    Greenhouse has been around for something in the realm of two decades, making their own brand of avant-traditional Celtic music. This CD is without question one of the happiest musical purchases I have made in some time. I can’t stop listening. The musicianship is consistently solid and often inspired. If you like fiddling, you’ll find a lot of it here, and it is fine and fun fiddling at that. Percussion is creative and bass lines are big and compelling. The vocals are wonderful—from Patricia Casey’s liquid solos to rich harmonies. There is music to dance to, music to cry over, and at least one song wry enough to laugh with. Each track has earned its place on this CD; there are no throw-aways. There is a nice mix of songs and instrumental tunes, as you might expect to find on a recording of modern Celtic music. Contemporary work alternates with more traditional tunes. The lone original piece, written by band founder Michael Rofkar, is both thought-provoking and a sweet listen. “Dreams and High Hopes” is well-conceived, beautifully executed and a real pleasure to listen to.
Elizabeth West

Shelter Cove

    "They have chosen some beautiful songs that don’t get recorded all that much. The singing is clear and pretty; the playing is solid and for the most part very upbeat! Quite an enjoyable listen."
Steve Winick, Dirty Linen

"Greenhouse are a very promising outfit. Their own material shows immense promise, and "Jamie Rayburn" and "Bonny Portmore" steal the show. Haunting and quietly beautiful."
John O’Regan, Rock’N’Reel

I Lie Awake

    This songbook of traditional Celtic classics, will not disappoint. As clean and crystalline as an Irish spring."
John Beck, The Press Democrat

"Tasteful playing and dramatic singing."
Steve Winick, Dirty Linen

"Casey’s vocals betray an operatic tone but add to the lyrical qualities, and Rofkar’s accompaniments are solidly rounded and suit the subtle arrangements. Lush but laid-back and natural-sounding, this CD highlights one of the best unsung U.S. Celtic outfits - majestic."
John O’Regan, Rock’N’Reel

One Last Cold Kiss

Californians Greenhouse ...specialize in fresh, modern arrangements of familiar British Isles traditional songs, and some unexpected ones, too. The quintet's latest CD, One Last Cold Kiss, borrows its ballad-like title track from the 1970s heavy-metal band Mountain, which shows what fiddle and mandolin can do for a song. "The Dark-Eyed Sailor" gets a Latin-sounding beat along with some snappy flute and harmonies, and the ultimately happy tale of "Geordie" is backed with lively Dixieland-style tenor banjo. There are some sizzling tune sets too, like the jig set "The Fox's Revenge" that begins with "The Foxhunter's Jig" and darts off from there." Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen

    One Last Cold Kiss is the third release from Greenhouse, a California-based band that plays some excellent Celtic folk music.
They open with a lovely story song with a moral from the pen of Richard Thompson called "Pharaoh." "The Dark Eyed Sailor" is a typical song of love that has roots in almost every tradition. Greenhouse gives it a definitive sound and it is a joy to listen to.
Patricia Casey has a voice that is very well suited to the traditional song "Suil A Ruin," a song that has featured in the repertoire of a thousand performers but feels very much at home here.
Beware, not all traditional sounding songs are ancient. I congratulate Greenhouse on choosing to perform the wonderful "Captain Jack & the Mermaid" from the pen of Meg Davis. Here is a lovely song, well written in a style that sounds just right.
But they can also take the true traditional song as well and make it sound very comfortable in the 21st century. This is particularly true of "Geordie." I loved their arrangement.
Another great traditional song that has been neglected in recent years gets the Greenhouse treatment to good effect as we hear that lovely story of murder and corn to its ultimate product on "John Barleycorn." The slightly slower rendition suits the tale. "Solveig" is a lesser-known song but is a powerful story of the female highwayman.
Well-known standards such as "I Know My Love" and "My Lagan Love" are also included. "The Rose among the Heather" is a combination of a jig and reel and shows the band as accomplished players. The album closes with a beautiful combination of "The Host of the Air" and "The Burning of the Pipers Hut."
Greenhouse may live in the sunny land of California but their music is steeped in the mist-covered mountains of the Celtic dreamlands.
Nicky Rossiter

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