Dolores Keane, one of the principal divas of Irish music, appeared at McCabe's on Friday with a collection of songs that reached well beyond the traditional repertoire with which she has long been associated.
A no-nonsense performer, Keane drew much of the program from her new album on Shanachie, "Solid Ground." Keane's smooth-as-clover-honey voice was especially attractive on a poignant ballad, "Never Be the Sun," a look back to the past called "Emigrant Eyes," the album's title track.
Her strong rhythms and emotionally compelling interpretations brought vigor and passion to the angry, anti-strip-mining lyrics of "Draglines" and the painful anti-war message of "All the Fine Young Men" (" . . . as forgotten as the cause for which they died").
And, not to overlook the traditionalists in her sold-out audience, Keane included "Galway Bay" as well as a fascinating a cappella rendition of Hebridean "mouth music."