Ye Mariners All

Lehto & Wright

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The Bands First release. Dirty Linen said: As ubiquitous as the guitar may be in accompanying 21st century interpretations of Celtic and English music, across the full spectrum from acoustic traditional bands to folk-rock, it's relatively rare to hear it used as a featured lead instrument. Hot fiddlers, flute players, squeeze box squeezers, and pipers abound these days, but rare is the group that features a standout lead guitarist. It's as if guitars just aren't traditional enough to stand alongside electric bass and drum kits.

The Minneapolis duo Lehto & Wright is a welcome exception. On Ye Mariners AII [Narnian Records 0012 (2001)], Steve Lehto and John Wright, joined by drummer Matt Jacobs, have put together a brilliant collection of mostly English and Irish material in guitar-grounded arrangements. They're equally versed in acoustic and electric modes, with sparkling acoustic tracks like "The Butcher Boy" that feature interlocking licks from multiple guitars alternating with crunchy electric power-trio numbers in which Wright switches to eight-string bass, like "Four Drunken Maidens." There's plenty of fast jig-picking, tasty string-bending, and clever cross-genre colorings, like Nick Drake's classic "Pink Moon" interwoven with "Banish Misfortune" played on resonator guitar. The title track is a 1O-minute wonder, an eerie nautical tale followed by a multi-instrumental excursion that brings in zither and harp guitar, among other things, and a cover of Drake's "Black Eyed Dog" is a scary, screaming fury of strings. This is fascinating, creative music.

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  1. 1 Four Drunken Maidens 03:36 Info
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  2. 2 The Butcher Boy 06:43 Info
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  3. 3 Jerry's Beaver Hat/The Eavesdropper/Con Casey's Jig 06:33 Info
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  4. 4 Skewbald 04:36 Info
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  5. 5 The One Legged Man/ The Cock on the Wall 04:03 Info
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  6. 6 Harp/Pink Moon/Banish Misfortune 06:01 Info
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  7. 7 Beamish's Goat/Dever The Dancer/Ril Na 06:28
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  8. 8 The Drinking Gourd/Mrs Brady 05:07
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  9. 9 The Lamintation of Owen Roe O'Niel/The Gander in the Pratie Hole 03:26
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  10. 10 Black Eyed Dog 03:58
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  11. 11 The Mission Bells 04:06
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  12. 12 Ye Mariners All 10:02
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  13. 13 The Idle Road 01:37
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The Further Adventures of Darling Cory

Lehto & Wright

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The second release. 2002

Dirty linen said:

Finally for this month, one more to rock out with. The Minneapolis duo Lehto and Wright has recorded another mighty collection of well chosen British and American songs and dance tunes called The Further Adventures of Darling Corey. Steve Lehto is a master of assorted electric and acoustic guitars, with a raucous, skirling style on the former and a contrastingly delicate, harmonious touch on the latter. John Wright plays ominous-sound bass, often as a second lead instrument, as well as acoustic guitars and percussion. Wright is also the duo's potent, gritty-voiced lead singer. They growl and bang their way through the Irish song "Arthur McBride and the Sergeant" in a manner reminiscent of fellow Minnesotans Boiled in Lead, give Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" an angry reading influenced by Dick Gaughan, and blast through "The Monaghan Jig" with a bass lead that gives way to guitar pyrotechnics. There are some quiet tracks too, like Lehto's eloquent, mournful acoustic arrangement of "The Lament of Limerick." Highly recommended for anyone who's not afraid of the effects of amplification.

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  1. 1 Horn 00:25
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  2. 2 Arthur McBride and the Sergeant 03:58
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  3. 3 The Raveled Hank of Yarn/The Baffled Knight 05:20
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  4. 4 Gan Ainm/The Three Little Drummers/The Trouble with Strings 05:39
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  5. 5 Waist Deep in the Big Muddy 04:56
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  6. 6 Bridge 00:53
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  7. 7 Monaghan Jig 04:15
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  8. 8 Flora 04:36
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  9. 9 Darling Cory 04:53
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  10. 10 The Lament for lImerick 02:38
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  11. 11 Nancy Whiskey 04:04
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  12. 12 Loch Lomand 01:29
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  13. 13 The Yellow Wattle/An Phis Fliuch/The Mountain Road 06:06
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  14. 14 Kisses Sweeter Than Wine 04:04
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  15. 15 Handsome Johnny/The Humors of Whitegate 05:26
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  16. 16 Her Washbin 02:27
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  17. 17 Horn 01:42
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A Game of Chess

Lehto & Wright

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This third release sees the band steering into more Progressive Rock leanings while still keeping a strong hold in traditional British Isles and American Folk Music. Folk Roots said: All too often Americans who claim British electric folk as influence end up making a half-cocked noise that they'll boast is Celtic rock. Most of the decent crews - Boiled in Lead, we Saw the Wolf, Cordelia's Dad - are either defunct or semi-comatose. They may not be quite in such exalted company just yet, but you can add Lehto & Wright to that roll call before long. A huge thumbs up for A Game of Chess, that takes all kinds of familiar bits and bobs, stripping them right down to a skeletal guitar, bass and drums, then going for broke. Why should you love this? For one thing there are no cod accents; for another, there's a general absence of things like fiddles and squeeze boxes, just good old rock hardware. And there's only a couple of predictable choices in the track selection - though what they do with "The Curragh of Kildare" will have you grinning from ear to ear, especially if you like loud, voluminous guitar solos. You can imagine them mulling over a stack of old import folk albums, wondering how to deflower the next chestnut. well worth hunting down. www.lehtoandwright.com will have details of this and their earlier offerings as yet unheard - by these ears at least.

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  1. 1 The Long Peg and Awl 03:53
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  2. 2 I wish I was Single Again/I Buried My Wife and Danced on her Grave 03:11
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  3. 3 Siege of Delhi 03:12
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  4. 4 I Wish I was In England/Tunes 10:04
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  5. 5 The Curragh of Kildare 06:05
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  6. 6 McVeagh 04:35
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  7. 7 Plains of Boyle 00:57
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  8. 8 The Silver Tip/The Merry Tailor/Thompson's Reel 04:28
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  9. 9 Four Nights Drunk/The Kesh Jig 05:06
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  10. 10 Antietam 01:29
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  11. 11 Of Time and Rivers Flowing 03:00
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  12. 12 Air 02:27
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  13. 13 Ten Long Years 14:34
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The Thrashing Machine and Other Stories

Lehto & Wright

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This fourth offering released in 2004 see's more "long form" tracks as well as the addition of a string quartet. Folk Roots said: The last product from Lehto & Wright got me in a real lather and yet again Thrashing Machine delivers, gaining a huge thumbs up. I totally sympathize with what these guys are up to and the fact that they've echoes - only echoes, mark you - of earlier American noise folk crews like Boiled In Lead and Cordelia's Dad does them credit, not harm. All too often our cousins over the big pond tackle British trad (no question about their enthusiasm), either as copycat or a soupy, half crazed mutant intention, usually labeled something unfortunate like Celtic rock! As if Hors lips hadn't happened.

To give us back our own and do something that bit extra takes smarts, thankfully Steve Lehto and John Wright have the chops. Instrumentally they have no time for fiddles, squeeze boxes or such, rather they go for a straight-down-the-line rock format, guitar/ bass/ drums, except that this time they do get away with adding a string quartet here and there.

Mostly the album's cohesive, except for a technically skilful, but out of place crack at Italian classical guitar. So overlook that slight lapse and feast your ears instead on The Earl Of Other where, a gorgeous soft core original by the aforementioned string quartet that leads into a deeply atmospheric take of Down Where The Drunkards Roll, Lehto's vocals bringing out the lyrics of pathetic ritual and cravings in unsettling starkness. There's a heartfelt Nancy Spain which precedes the crashing guitar sonics of a 1O-minute-plus jig workout. Elsewhere John Riley is dark and gothic, though the title track tops the pile, a boisterous, tongue-in-cheek update of the ancient farmer meets comely maid subtext. Somebody over here, please pick up on these blokes, we're missing out. The Thrashing Machine & Other Stories is a tonic, fall for its charms. www.newfolkrecords.com

— Simon Jones

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  1. 1 The World Turned Upside Down 02:49
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  2. 2 The Earl of Otherwhere 02:35
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  3. 3 Down Where The Drunkards Roll 04:02
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  4. 4 Comiciamento di Gioia 05:16
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  5. 5 Nancy Spain 03:35
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  6. 6 Waltz for Carol jean 01:07
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  7. 7 John Riley 05:45
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  8. 8 Manassas 01:53
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  9. 9 The Thrashing Machine 04:10
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  10. 10 (Blessed is) The Healing 02:58
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  11. 11 East Virginia Blues 07:48
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  12. 12 The Other Earl of Otherwhere 01:48
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Between The Jigs and The reels

Lehto & Wright

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Lehto and Wrights 5th Release. An all instrumental collection featuring select tracks from previous releases in addition to new music recorded for this title. Dirty Linen said: Minnesota guitar masters Steve Lehto and John Wright are equally skilled in intricate, delicate, acoustic picking and loud, crunchy folk-rock, and on this all-instrumental collection based on mostly traditional Irish and English tunes (and a couple of Southern American and classical ones, as well), they gather seven previously released tracks and five new ones into a splendid showcase of contemporary Angle-Celtic guitar styles. In electric mode, the duo's big, skirling sound is sometimes reminiscent of the early work of Richard Thompson, as in the potent "Silver Tip" reel set or the slow resonant Martin Carthy composition, "McVeagh," while their acoustic interplays are complex and elegant, as in the lengthy jig set led off by a cheerful tune with the unlikely title, "I Buried My Wife and Danced on Her Grave." Definitely recommended for fans of both acoustic and electric guitar music with British Isles roots.

— T.N.

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  1. 1 Blind Mary 01:58
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  2. 2 The Silver Tip/The Merry Tailor/Thompson's Reel 04:29
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  3. 3 Kinderszenen No1/The Blue Tail Fly/Blackberry Blossom 06:32
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  4. 4 The Idle Road 01:45
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  5. 5 The Monaghan Jig 04:14
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  6. 6 I Buiried my Wife and Danced on her Grave/The Gander in the Pratie Hole 09:59
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  7. 7 The One Legged Man/The Cock on the Wall 03:41
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  8. 8 Bonaparte's Retreat/Banbury Bill/Son Ar Chiste/The Juggler 10:41
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  9. 9 Beamish's Goat/Dever the Dancer/Ril na hAontachta 06:22
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  10. 10 McVeagh 04:35
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  11. 11 Lament/Improv 06:22
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  12. 12 Air 02:24
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