In an environment where iPods, Palm Pilots and multifunction cell phones lead the latest wave of technological revolution, Cherish the Ladies would feel anachronistic if they weren't so timeless. Blending traditional Celtic and Irish folk with modern sensibilities, they've captured the rousing, rootsy spirit of this old-time sound without compromise for nearly 15 years.
Led by the wonderful, lilting vocals of singer Heidi Talbot, and the astounding playing of founding flautist Joanie Madden and mandolin/guitarist Mary Coogan, the all-female quintet floats easily from foot-tapping reels to tender ballads to boisterous jigs. For their 10th album, they've recruited an all-star roster of guests -- Sharon Shannon, Eddi Reader, Triona Ni Dhomhnaill and Kate Rusby to name a few -- and handed the production reigns to 30-year Celtic music vet Phil Cunningham.
Recorded in Scotland, Woman of the House is a fluid smorgasbord of sounds including velveteen traditional ballads "Bogie's Bonnie Belle" and "Sweet Thames Flow Softly," which showcase Talbot's evocative delicacy; full-bodied and insistent instrumental jigs, such as "Paddy O'Snap/Robin Kellegher/The Cove of Cork"; and Celtic reel "The Jolly Seven/The Rascal on the Haystack/Bonkers in Yonkers," a jumping little rave with a bounding energy that suggests the outcome if the devil blew off Georgia in favor of the lush, rolling hills of Ireland.
Cherish the Ladies present A Celtic Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Thurs., Dec. 22, 8 p.m. $22-$58. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org.