Ohio based Stark Raven's second album goes under the title of 'Committed', a double entendre if ever there was one, with the band's quirky sense of humor on one side and their underlying commitment to Celtic music on the other. All five members are draped in white jackets on the album sleeve and brief trackettes with titles like Reginald's Escape and Reginald's Reluctant Return complete with appropriate sound effects are sandwiched in between more obviously straightforward arrangements of traditional songs and tunes. While the concept may appear zany and off the wall, the music and arrangements are watertight and well in touch with matters of a traditional roots nature. My Darlin' Pat kicks into action fuelled by Sue Mogan Mattison's enthusiastic vocals and a sprightly arrangement while John of Hazelgreen and Nancy the Pride of the West show an attachments to song material off the beaten tracks. Musically the emphasis is on creating a natural sounding flow with wind and reed instruments upfront and a style somewhere between The House Band and Patrick Street. This lightness of touch makes Stark Raven's sound sometimes more airy than many US Celtic outfits with Becky Boger's flute and David Reddick's guitars adding strong jazz inflections. Multi instrumentalists Craig Markley and Sid Omasta add accordion, fiddle, keyboards, and pipes while Sue Mogan Mattison contributes unobtrusive keyboards, whistle, and guitar occasionally complimenting her assured crystalline vocals. Presenting a full rich five part vocal harmony sound as well as musical dexterity, Stark Raven goes much further than most US Celtic outfits in assimilating their various backgrounds into a recognizable original sound. Committed shows an accomplished and imaginative band hitting new creative heights. - John O'Regan/Folk Roots/UK.