Review: Jack Dwyer & Tim Connell – Mando Planet

by Kalia & Bill Yeagle

HVBA readers may remember Jack Dwyer from when he used to jam at the Pirate Canoe Club. The boy sure could play! Bill and Kalia Yeagle knew Jack before he moved to NY, back when the Dwyer family lived in Alaska. He was remarkable then too! Bill remembers Jack as having always been a fearless musician with a really great attitude going into any musical venture. Kalia gets to teach with Jack at music camps in Alaska most summers, and it is always a treat to make music with him. Here is Bill and Kalia’s take on Jack’s duo album with Tim Connell:

Portland-based musicians and adjunct music professors at Lewis and Clark College, Jack Dwyer and Tim Connell first met in 2006 at a mandolin workshop. It wasn’t long before the two began collaborating and touring the Northwest, California, and Alaska. Thankfully they decided to come together to produce an album that captures their tremendous talents and creative energy. Mando Planet truly celebrates the mandolin. It takes a listener on a journey through global folk music, from Brazil to Zimbabwe to Greece, and to some beautiful original places created by their own imaginations.

Each of these mandolin duets is focused and fun, and allows for some clever back-and-forth between two extraordinarily talented musicians. They open with a set of two Irish tunes composed by Boston-based musician Flynn Cohen. It’s a brilliant, energetic opener that does away with any doubt you might have had about the might of two mandolins. From there the excursion unfolds, with some big moments in “Dai Ndiine Mukona,” awesome “handmade” echo effects in “The Choice Wife,” and a fine tribute to David Grisman with “The Tipsy Gypsy”. Featuring Jack’s vocals, “Coyote in Love” is an original song about unrequited love, inspired by the Klamath origin story of Oregon’s crater lake. The Brazilian tunes “Odeon” and “Brejeiro” are particularly groovy, and the album ends with a nod to George Harrison with a sweet version of “Here Comes the Sun”.

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“The Tipsy Gypsy”

Mando Planetis a unique and wonderful collection of music from two incredible mandolinists. Mike Marshall writes, “the music always has focus and authenticity, never pushing their instruments too far or trying to be bigger than life. Just letting the instruments speak for themselves through these fine musicians. Groove meets melody, harmony and energy. What else is music?” Sure enough, together Jack Dwyer and Tim Connell tell a story that reflects their vast musical interests, a story that is modern but grounded in tradition, and that feels spontaneous and full of joy. If you ever get a chance to see these guys live, by all means do so. It is truly special to witness their creativity and passion first hand, and Mando Planet provides a glimpse of what their live show feels like.

Find about more about Jack Dwyer and Tim Connell.

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