Keating - Irish
It was as if Jerry
Holland came back from the grave to say he was in a
better place now and that he had one more gift for those
he left behind.
Even as he battled
cancer in the past few years, somehow his music still
managed to remain as incredible, including one last
collaboration that will be talked about for years. With
the release of a new CD last week, Helping Hands,
featuring Holland and Dublin guitarist John Doyle up in
Cape Breton as part of the 2009 Celtic Colours
International Festival, his sizeable legacy will have one
more fantastic chapter.
The title comes from
his last composition appearing on the new CD recorded
just a few weeks before he died as a way of acknowledging
all those fellow musicians, friends and fans who were
there for him in the remaining days of his life.
Holland summoned up
enough strength to record 18 tracks with Doyle, who flew
to Cape Breton to complete the project last June which
documented one of the more dynamic performance duets in
recent years in Celtic music.
In 2006 special sparks
flew when Holland and Doyle sat and played inventively
across from one another at the Swannanoa gathering in
Doyle's adopted home of Asheville, North Carolina, and
again at the Celtic Colours International Festival club
in Holland's Cape Breton Island homeplace.
At Boston's 2008 ICONS
Festival, three weekend gigs cemented their pairing as
one of the most exciting and complimentary acts,
encouraging them to do a recording together as soon as
possible before Jerry's time had come to leave
Not only were the live
performances technically and artistically brilliant, but
the pure joy and camaraderie that passed between Holland
and Doyle was both magic and escapist when considering
the fierce battle that Jerry was waging against the
disease where music and friendship were his best
Long time friends Paul
MacDonald and Paul Cranford help shepherd the project
into final production, and the liner notes reflect not
only Holland's role as a tradition bearer but a final
thank you to all those who shared the music with him
during his long-distinguished career.