Will Woodson (flute, uilleann pipes) and Caitlin Finley (fiddle) play sparky and driving traditional Irish music that’s grounded in the textures and rhythms of the rich Irish-American soundscape of the 1920s and 30s. With roots in the living Irish musical cultures of Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia, and a tremendous admiration for the first generation of recorded Irish musicians, the duo conjures up the sounds of the dance halls, vaudeville theaters, and house sessions central to Irish-American music from the first half of the twentieth century. Their 2019 debut album, The Glory Reel, recorded with the brilliant Chris “Junior” Stevens on piano and button accordion, is full of swing, lift, and exuberance, drawing largely upon the repertoires of North Connacht and Ulster, regions that have had a significant impact upon the style and repertoire of the duo. The flute playing of John McKenna, the piping of Michael Carney and Patsy Touhey, and of course the foundational 78s of Coleman, Killoran, and Morrison are all at play here; a diverse set of influences that are channeled by the duo into punchy, powerful, and joyous music.
Now residents of Portland, Maine, both members of the duo are natives of the East Coast of the United States, and are products of the region’s rich heritage and living culture of Irish music. Will and Caitlin first began playing together in New York City, but relocation to New England a few years later put them in the orbit of the thriving Boston scene. It was during this time that they established a compelling musical chemistry; a shared aural vocabulary and mental library of influences made their music come together in a way that felt easy and sounded right. A circuit of sessions and gigs between Boston and Portland, Maine quickly developed, and before long it became abundantly clear that the only thing to do was to record an album. The Glory Reel is the product.