Bryan Kelso Crow, host of the nationally-distributed public radio series Celtic Connections, produced and distributed by WSIU Public Radio, has announced his selection of Album of the Year for 2012. This year's honor goes to the Nashville, Tennessee family band The Willis Clan for their album entitled Chapter One: Roots.
Celtic Connections airs on WSIU-FM 91.9 & 91.9 HD in Carbondale, WVSI 88.9 FM in Mt. Vernon, and WUSI 90.3 FM in Olney on Saturdays at 7pm, with a repeat on Sundays at 6pm.
“This CD is an amazing debut effort.” says Crow. “The six oldest children of the Willis family created and recorded this music in their home, showing a masterful understanding of Irish musical traditions while adding new songs and tunes to the tradition. Congratulations to Jessica, Jeremiah, Jennifer, Jeanette, Jackson, and Jedi for their top-notch professional work on this all-original album. And congratulations to their mother, Brenda, and their father, Toby, who played keyboard and produced and engineered the album along with cousin Chris Wright, who played percussion. I hope there will be many more chapters to come, especially knowing that there are 6 more younger children in the family who are also growing up with this music.”
Crow says that The Willis Clan's music is on a par with that of their chief sources of inspiration, such as the Irish-American band Solas and Ireland's Lunasa. “You would never know from listening to this album that the lead musicians are all age 20 and younger,” he says. “The musicianship is superb, and the creativity is astounding. The Willis Clan have performed at festivals around the U.S., and they competed successfully in Ireland, receiving high praise for their music and Irish dancing.”
The Willis Clan CD is available from their website, www.thewillisclan.com, and also from Amazon, cdbaby, and other online sources.
Created and hosted by Bryan Kelso Crow since 1991, Celtic Connections is a weekly one-hour music program showcasing the best in traditional and contemporary Celtic music from around the world. Produced and broadcast from WSIU Public Radio, located on the campus of Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, Ill., the program is heard on nearly 150 public radio stations nationwide and includes interviews, commercial recordings, and concert performances. In addition to his career as an associate professor of Speech Communication at SIU, Crow is a guest lecturer in the university's Irish Studies program and an accomplished musician who plays the concert flute, tin whistle, and keyboards as a member of the regional band The Dorians.