This Canadian quintet move from strength to strength on their second international release (third, if you count Sugarhill's reissue of their 2003 debut), gracefully eliding the folk elements of their sound to emerge as a sparkling acoustic pop outfit. Jessee Harvey's soulful vocalizing, reminiscent of Joan Osborne's husky croon, blows the cobwebs off the band's trad/arr fixations (the instrumental three-piece "The Fox and the Bee" includes Breton pipes and a washboard), especially on the opening blues number, "Ol' Cook Pot." But the fiddle, banjo, and occasional whistle betray any greater pop ambitions. Their nearest competition is Nickel Creek, but these Manitobans have more soul by half, and even a fair measure of grit. The Creeksters might draw some outré inspiration from Frank Zappa or Yes; the Duhks cover Tracy Chapman, a couple of Sea Island gospel numbers, and a stirring song about IRA martyr Michael Collins. Producers Tim O'Brien and Gary Paczosa keep Migrations shimmering and intimate, encouraging judicious and colorful percussion from Scott Senior. But their efforts are never so overwrought as to obscure the plain joy that the Duhks take in their musicianship, or these deeply felt songs.
Duhks Primary Artist Luke Bulla Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance Tim O'Brien Bouzouki,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance Jordan McConnell Guitar,Hand Clapping,uillean pipes,Low Whistle,Vocal Harmony,Group Member Leonard Podolak Bouzouki,Fiddle,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Claw Hammer Banjo,Vocal Harmony,Group Member Scott Senior Bongos,Conga,Cymbals,Bells,Pandeiro,Surdo,Djembe,Cajon,Shaker,Pans,Pots,Group Member Katie Herzig Vocal Harmony,Group Member