St. Christopher Records
STCD-SOO1 (2001)

Long time fixtures on both the Irish music circuit and in the folk clubs in Chicago, singer/ songwriter James McCandless and violinist-vocalist Julianne Macarus have produced an amiable new CD that blends both of these worlds. A Splash of Red is a mixture of McCandless' folk songs and sets of Irish tunes played brilliantly by McCandless on guitar, sometimes aided and abetted by Macarus, bassist Jimmy Moore, and Dennis Cahill on guitar or mandolin.

As a writer, McCandless' most vivid lyrical moments have involved wistful reminiscences, and the romantic title tune is a fine addition to this body of work. He tries his hand at comedy here, recalling a painful" 18th Anniversary," with less satisfactory results. The bulk of the disc consists of instrumentals, and these, played with vim and grace, are well worth the price of admission on their own. (MP)

-Michael Parrish