“A Celtic Pilgrimage” is a most atmospheric album, one filled with Irish impressions. No, not traditionals, but rather original compositions recorded on a 20-string harp guitar.
For John Doan, the Celtic islands are a place of inspiration and contemplation. What a delight it is to accompany him on his journey through the verdant landscape with those stark cliffs in the west, and to let oneself be lulled by enchanting songs like “Farewell” or “Gazing On The Face Of The Sea”. “Wake – Waiting for the Dawn”, or “Yeats Country – Where William Lies” capture the wonderful moods with graceful Celtic flair. And over and over, the great sound range of the harp guitar impresses the listener, with its six additional bass strings that stretch into the depths and weave together harmoniously with the harp-like descant strings on the cover, as can be heard in all clarity in “Resting Upon Jacob’s Pillow”. John has masterful command of his 20 strings. He lets the sounds sail and soar, expands the ornamented melodies with a measured portion of bass and with the silvery bourdon of the diatonically tuned extra-high strings, whose hovering resonance endows the instrument with its particular charm. There is something hallowed about the music on this CD. It focuses on a very specific type of Irish music, the aspect of sentiment and depth of feeling. These are not songs for a party or a binge – which is often the subject of Irish lyrics – rather, they are an invitation to look within.
John Doan is the sensitive, romantic pilgrim, who tells his tales with dedication.