Corrs Add Bodhran, Tin Whistle To Pop

Irish group's second album weaves styles together instead of showcasing them separately.

LOS ANGELES -- Melding dreamy pop with traditional Irish music

makes perfect sense to Corrs lead singer Andrea Corr. When the four

siblings from Dundalk, Ireland, sit down to make music, that's what

happens, she said.

"To us, it's very natural," Corr said with a shrug. "Initially, it sounded

kind of strange to people, because it is different to put traditional

Irish music in a pop and rock mode. But they get used to it -- it

is our sound."

As the Corrs' road crew prepared for a soundcheck at West Hollywood,

Calif.'s House of Blues, Andrea and her two bandmate sisters -- violinist/singer

Sharon and drummer/singer Caroline -- lounged in a backstage

dressing room. Their show here a week ago marked the end of a tour

that kept them on the road since October 1997, save for a few stops and

starts.

"It's quite a long time, and to actually take it in that it's the last

night just blows your mind," Andrea said. "Our life has been touring."

Andrea and Caroline each wore solid black to match their raven hair;

brown-haired Sharon added a plum-colored shirt to her black pants and

tank top. Their brother, Jim, who plays keyboards and guitars, drifted

in and out of the area, seeming content to let his sisters do

the talking.

Though the Corrs have broken plenty of ground in continental Europe and

Japan in addition to their native Ireland, they're just starting to

catch on in the United States. Their second album, Talk on Corners,

was released stateside in late February. It features

a mixture of such elegant ballads as the violin-enriched "Runaway"

(RealAudio excerpt), and such pop-rock numbers as

"I Never Loved You Anyway" (RealAudio excerpt).

While the Corrs' base is pure pop, traditional Irish sounds from Sharon's

violin, Andrea's tin whistle, Caroline's bodhran and Jim's acoustic

guitar are prominent.

Though classically trained as children -- their father taught them piano -- the

Corrs' earliest influences were pop and rock 'n' roll, Caroline said.

They began writing together when they were teenagers; that was when they

became interested in traditional Irish music.

They released their debut album, Forgiven, Not Forgotten, in 1995.

They sought a more moody and adventurous sound for Talk on Corners

and ended up with a more cohesive result, Sharon said.

"On the first album, the traditional Irish music stood out almost apart

from the songs, because we did little snippets [of it] in between tracks,"

she said. "On this album we integrated it completely into the songs."

The siblings worked with several producers, including David Foster, Glen

Ballard, Billy Steinberg and Rick Nowells, in making Talk on Corners.

Ballard, known for his work with Alanis Morissette, produced one of the album's edgier numbers,

"Queen of Hollywood"

(RealAudio excerpt). Andrea sings the song, which explores Hollywood's dark side.

Andrea, who has acted in the films "Evita" and "The

Commitments," said the song's inspiration was an article about Los

Angeles she read in the Irish Times several years ago. "I

remember the caption said, 'Los Angeles: The Only City in the World

Where You Can Die of Hope,' " Andrea recalled. "That really struck me."

The new album also includes covers of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" -- originally

released on Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (1998) -- and

a Celtic rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing," featuring traditional

Irish group the Chieftains. "If you thought about it beforehand," Sharon

said, "you'd probably think it would never work -- Jimi Hendrix, the

Chieftains and the Corrs. I mean, why would you put those three

together? But it worked out really well."