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This review appeared on paythereckoning.com in February 2004.

Jim Mckillop-Tru The Years (Online Music School Ltd. OLMSCD15)

Fiddler and fiddle-maker, McKillop is one of those rare musicians who is a master of a range of traditional, folk and popular idioms. Grounded in Irish and Scottish traditional music, McKillop nevertheless casts his musical net widely and is as content to play and as capable of playing well, big reel sets such as "Reavey's/The First Month Of Summer/Farrell O'Gara" alongside tunes such as "Ashokan Farewell" or that notorious American test-piece "The Orange Blossom Special" In fact we can think of no other fiddler who could get away with playing the old-time American reel "The Forked Deer" in a set with "The Bucks of Oranmore"!

This collection of recordings spans some 24 years and casts McKillop with a host of other musicians. Some of the tracks are evidently recorded in a session environment, e.g. the joyful "The Sliver Spear/The Pigeon On The Gate/Hand Me Down The Tackle" and the glorious "Lord Gordon's" Others are more polished recordings, such as the western swing classic "The Rose of San Antone" and Willie Hunter's "Leaving Lerwick Harbour". A virtuoso player, McKillop dares to take on some difficult technical challenges as evidenced by his version of "The Banks". Neither is he cowed by the emotionally charged tune. Hence he gives us a spell-binding version of "The Coolin", a delicate piece whose melancholy can turn to mawkishness in the hands of the insensitive player. As an introduction to McKillop's lifetime of music, Tru The Years is a great listen.

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