CD Review

JimTozier,"Castlerea", Lusby, MD- review by Norman L. Beberman

Jim Tozier is a finger-styleguitarist from Maryland. Specializing in traditional Celtic music& original Celtic-inspired compositions, Jim plays primarilyin the alternate tunings of DADGAD and CGCGCD.

Most guitarists playwith their hands. What makes Jim a great guitarist, &, whatmakes Castlerea such a thoroughly enjoyable CD, is that Jim playswith his heart. Jim's guitar-playing conjures images of plaidScotsmen playing bagpipes, images of a solitary walk through fieldsthat are emerald green & images of a time, a place & aculture that found beauty in things like nature & family.

This 19-track CD isfilled with excellent Celtic fingerstyle playing. Gracefully alternatingbetween delicate melodies & powerful melodies paying tributeto flamenco influences, Jim's original compositions express inmusic those thoughts that are timeless; love of children &family in "Owen's March", "M'inion Alainn","The Courtship" & "Rings"; respect forthose who have come before us in "Castlerea"; eternalstruggle of man against nature in "The Last Keeper"& "Idyll Hours"; importance of community & socialgatherings in "County Fair"; pursuing dreams in "Tiltingof Windmills" .

As a fan of traditionalCeltic music, "Planxty Irwin", The Blacksmith part of"The Blacksmith/Passions' Forge", "The Rights ofMan/Brian Boru's March", &, "Pretty Girl Milkinga Cow" were brilliantly interpreted & played. As a furthertestament to Jim's playing, the traditional "It Came Upona Midnight Clear/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", played withAl Petteway on Irish bouzouki, transcends the label of "holidaysong". "Castelrea" ends much too quickly with "OCome, O Come, Emmanuel", played with John Sweet in a superbdemonstation of a duet played in C-tuning by Jim & standardtuning by John.

Whether playing oneof his original compositions, playing with noted guitarist AlPetteway, or one of Jim's faithful renditions of traditional Celtictunes, "Castlerea" firmly establishes Jim as one ofthe most eloquent Celtic guitarists in the world.

To hear for yourself,go to Jim's website &click on "Songs". Pour a Guiness, Fuller's, Bass orHarp & enjoy the mp3's. Erin Go Bragh!


Rating: Excellent

Scale:    Fair


            Very Good