The Boston Irish Reporter, September, 2014
Lilt's CD "Little Falls", reviewed by Sean Smith
Lilt is a Washington, DC-based duo, Tina Eck and Keith Carr, that favors the pairing of flute and bouzouki, a sound that is often moody, sometimes delicate, and – perhaps when you least expect it – will seize you by the shoulders with a quiet yet prodigious intensity.
Lilt enhances the flute-bouzouki dynamic with Eck’s whistle and Carr’s tenor banjo and mandolin, all played with equal aplomb and skill, and guest appearances by fiddler Graham DeZarn, sean-nos dancer Shannon Dunne, guitarist Conor Hearn, cellist Kristen Jones and the ubiquitous and indispensible Josh Dukes on guitar and bodhran; also, Eileen Estes joins Carr on vocals for a rendition of “Waterbound,” Dirk Powell’s dark take on the traditional North Carolina song of the same name.
The focus, however, is squarely on Eck’s commanding flute/whistle presence, and the fine backing provided by Carr, whose accompaniment alternates between a chordal and a more varied harmonic approach, and sometimes joining Eck on melody – as in the case on the jig set “Fig for a Kiss/Seahamhac Tube Station.” It all makes for a presentation that can be on the spare side one moment, and the next reward you with a more full-bodied, resonant sequence: You get all that right at the start of the CD, in their rendition of Padraig Rynne’s jig “The Long Journey,” which powers up into a pair of reels, “The Mouse in the Meadow” and “The Maid in the Cherry Tree.”
Other standouts on “Little Falls” include a slow-paced “Eddie Kelly’s Reel,” sounding here as if plucked from the Elizabethan era – Carr’s bouzouki could pass for a harpsichord; the Holly Geraghty composition “Planxty Dermot Grogan,” Jones’ cello providing soulful depth; the “Galway Reel/Seamus Thompson’s/View Across the Valley” reel set, with Carr’s banjo in the spotlight early on, and excellent contributions from DeZarn and Dukes (the latter also was a production consultant for the album); a trio of polkas played slightly slower than dance floor-speed (not that there’s anything wrong with that) that includes “I’ll Buy Boots for Maggie” and its quirky A part.