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Music Review - `Kieran Ridge & the Moonrakers` (ea)

Kieran Ridge & the Moonrakers - 

 08 November 2021



Somewhere between Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band and Luka Bloom,  stands Kieran Ridge and the Moonrakers. A Boston-based songwriter, Kieran Ridge has recorded three albums with his Kieran Ridge Band, but this is his  first one with his new four-piece combo, The Moonrakers.

The self-titled debut opens with the rollicking barroom lament, “The Last One To Know.” Kieran’s raspy growl is bookended by rippling mandolin, sawing fiddle, jangly guitars, sturdy bass lines  and a shit-kicker beat. Hoping for a bit of liquid courage, raucous  lyrics like “Give me beer if you’ve got no whisky, water if you’ve got no wine, all I ask don’t send me home, don’t tell me that it’s closing time” nearly camouflage the loneliness and hurt buried deep down.

For the rest of the 11-song set, Kieran and the Moonrakers sidle through a plethora of styles. From the Celtic-Country breakdown of “Killing Time,” the backwoods Blues of “To Get Back Home” and the loping, banjo-riffic “Three Sheets To The Wind, Five Miles From Home.” Then there’s  “Your Drifting Heart” which is  sprightly and shambolic in  all the right ways.

 Meanwhile,  there’s a tender flintiness on display with “Somewhere On The Edge Of Town.” Perspicacious lyrics catalogue  a life filled with missed opportunities. 

The best tracks, “Blind In Time” and “Wasted” arrive back-to-back. The former blends finger-picked guitars and fluttery mandolin. The latter is crackling and concise, opening

with this stinging couplet; “You lost the keys to your own salvation.” Kieran handles lead vocals and guitar. The Moonrakers consist of Liam Dailey on mandolin, banjo and vocals, Hannah Rose Baker on fiddle and vocals, Patrick Hanafin on drums and percussion and Michael Harmon on bass. 

Although they’re considered Americana, Kieran and The Moonrakers’ sound isn’t easily pigeonholed. Their music is all over the map. Believe me, that’s a good thing.



Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here



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