Ha’penny Bridge

The Awakening

If your idea of Irish music is U2 live at Red Rocks, Ha’penny Bridge is probably not the band for you. But if Makem & Clancy touch your soul or the Chieftains lift your spirit, you’re bound to love this Celtic octet from Chico—which features members of the acclaimed Pub Scouts. Mark McKinnon is the driving force: He wrote all 10 tunes on The Awakening, singing lead on most of them and laying down guitar tracks. Molly McNally adds richness with her harmonies and lead vocals. The other players—accomplished musicians all—bring warmth to the mix. The result is comfort food for Celtophiles, an album that doesn’t stray from the cozy confines of Irish folk traditions yet satisfies the listener who appreciates them. The title track is the most distinctive; it’s a glorious, uplifting song, in the key of Van Morrison or Mary Black. The rest stay true to musical roots in sound, structure and lyrics. Ha’penny Bridge put The Awakening out themselves, so the disc isn’t widely available. Your best bet is to see them live and take home this souvenir to enjoy over and over.