'Atlantic Bridge', the first solo album from Davy Spillane took on a totally new musical direction with Davy being accompanied by not only the cream of Irish musicians, (i.e. fellow members of Moving Hearts) but also by the legendary guitar player Albert Lee, bluegrass and country music stars Jerry Douglas on Dobro, and Bela Fleck on Banjo (these three musicians have all been nominated for Grammy awards).
'Atlantic Bridge' fulfilled Davy's dreams of combining the best of Irish and American traditions, enriching and complementing both without compromising either. This is compelling music, and as producer P.J. Curtis says in his notes "Listen and enjoy".
"For me Davy Spillane has always been the melodic linchpin of Moving Hearts' exciting brand of fusion music, his fluid, imaginative style being the source of some truly wonderful peaks, most notably on the band's last album, on tunes like 'Finore' and 'Peader O'Donnell.
'Atlantic Bridge' sees him forging new alliances, with such stellar company as Albert Lee, Gerry Douglas, and Bela Fleck, and it's a measure of the man's assurance and talent that he is not in the least overshadowed in their company.
The album kicks off with a set of his own reels, beginning slowly with just an acoustic guitar backing, the arrangement builds till Albert Lee takes a peerless solo, and from then on it's into some beautifully controlled, but still passionate playing from all concerned. The title track, which follows, is a true meeting of minds, commitment and generosity being the keynote: Davy, Bela and Jerry swop licks and ideas as if they were going out of style, but at no time do they succumb to the understandable temptation to indulge in virtuosity for its own sake. Every note and change in tempo has its place and purpose. The feel from this track is reminiscent of the finest moments of Douglas' 1986 solo set 'Under The Wire' itself a true testament to instrumental excellence.
As riveting as his collaborations with the assembled stars are, the stark 'Tribute to Johnny Doran' is the best indicator of Davy Spillane's remarkable musicianship. Bereft of any accompaniment, he turns in a truly breathtaking performance of pipering in the travelling style on a superb brace of reels.
Produced with craft and affection by P.J. Curtis, 'Atlantic
Bridge' is a testimony not just to great talent but also to the
power of music as a form of communication transcending cultural
differences and even language itself. its a major achievement of
which one and all involved can be proud."
Oliver P. Sweeney - Hotpress
"Seemingly divergent musical styles have, on occasion, been successfully fused, but rarely with as satisfying a result as Davy Spillane's, ground-breaking offering, Atlantic Bridge. Spillane, one of a few original Moving Heart members to contribute to this collection, is one of the most accomplished and respected uilleann pipers in the country.
His still, almost unemotional composure on the live stage belies a tremendous forcefulness and mastery of both traditional and contemporary music.
The man's accomplishment on the pipes and his re-weaving of traditional airs is the primary thread which runs through the ten tracks, but Atlantic Bridge is no collection of Irish trad music solely. It represents, as the title suggests, the coming together of all-American country rock, bluegrass and contemporary sounds with the ethnic Irish strains.
Certainly, Spillane's piping is the peg upon which the album hangs, but almost equal credit must go to the others who have made the collection possible. The opening track, Davy's Reels, is a perfect intro with uilleann pipes laying down the rhythms to be closely followed by the gradual build-up of bodhran, bass, drums and eventually guitars. The effect is tremendous with such musical masters as Albert Lee (lead guitar), Greg Boland (electric rhythm guitar), Eoghan O'Neill (bass), Christy Moore (bodhran), Noel Eccles (percussion) and John Donnelly (drums). Apart from Albert Lee, almost every other contributor has nearly togged out with Moving Hearts - arguably one of the finest Irish groups of all time - at some stage along the line.
The second track Atlantic Bridge has got to be the high point of the collection. With Ry Cooder-ish high-strung steel guitar from Eoghan O'Neill and tennessee mountain-type five string banjo from Bela Fleck, the number is based on all-American sounds interspersed with the good ol' Irish airs. It is the type of cut that will appeal to all types of musical tastes, and one which lucidly proves the close natural links which exist between most strains of ethnic and trad sounds.
The rest of the numbers vary from a collection of Spillane-arranged trad tunes on Tribute to Johnny Doran, to the Lennon/McCartney classic In My life.
Other gems include River Of Gems, with sounds closely resembling O'Riada's Mna na hEireann, and Silverish which could have been used on the backing for Cimino's Heavens Gate, such is its richness of western influence. On this particular track the banjo playing of Bela fleck is something to hear.
Atlantic Bridge is destined to become one of the great albums
of the 80s."