Celtic MP3's Magazine
Sean Brennan & Nikki Engstrom make up this New-England based Celtic band, and their musical talents are ample as soon as you have a listen. Brennan is a guitarist and singer and Engstrom is a fiddler. Their combined sound makes it hard to believe that there are only two musicians here. Many times when there are fewer band members it will either sound empty or like they are trying too hard. Not here. Instead these two concentrate on what they do well and make it shine. There is something to be said for just being true to who you are.
This CD, “Another Round”, offers both traditional sets and original compositions that fit together seamlessly in a lovely arrangement of tracks. I particularly enjoyed track 9, Pachelbel’s Frolics, which is a high-energy romp through the classical composer’s music. Fun–and quite different! Brennan has also written for the band, and “Galway Senorita” is a contribution here that is noteworthy.
Other particularly good tunes include the opener “Little Hawk/Volcanic Jig” and the poignant “Caledonia’s Wail for Neil Gow”. There is a range of music here and any lover of traditional fare will appreciate these songs and the effort that was put into this CD. Quite truthfully it was difficult to pull a few standout tracks from the crowd. Each one here is crafted well and has its own unique appeal.
Catherine L. Tully specializes in writing about the arts, lifestyle and travel. She is the Owner of 4dancers, a blog for those who love dance, and Editor for Freelance-Zone, an award-winning site for freelance writers. Catherine also reviews music for Celtic MP3s Music Magazine.
Post Published: 03 December 2010
Tuesday nights concert sends audience to its feet
By David Hart Oct. 2011
KINGFIELD — Over 100 music lovers comfortably sat in a rearranged Herbert Grand Hotel lobby on Tuesday, Oct 11. On this special night, guests got to hear a medley of music with a live performance featuring Stanley and Grimm.
The evening or music was presented by a collaboration of the Kingfield POPS, the Stanley Museum, Skye Theatre and many thanks went out to the Herbert Grand Hotel for offering such a beautiful venue.
Nikki Engstrom not only impressed a local audience with her fiddling skills, she performed using one of the few fiddle and bows crafted by local inventor F.O. Stanley, one of the two Kingfield brothers of Stanley Steamer fame.
The name Stanley and Grimm was inspired by her 1929 F.O. Stanley violin which she plays today.
Howard Randall (left) president and managing trustee of the Stanley Museum discusses some Stanley family history.
Howard Randall, president and Managing Trustee of the Stanley Museum was present on Tuesday to share stories and antidotes about the Stanley family, their role in music and the families love for the arts. Nikki Engstrom is an accomplished, award-winning fiddler and teaches many workshops at festivals throughout the year while maintaining more than 30 full-time private students on Cape Cod, according to the bands resources. “She has performed, competed, and taught throughout New England and Canada. In addition to her inspired and intense fiddle playing, Nikki has composed many original tunes, including “Little Hawk” and “The Huntress.” Sean Brennan provided acoustic guitar and vocals and has been playing in sessions and entertaining in pubs for many years throughout New England. According to the official website for Stanley and Grimm, he’s been performing as guest accompanist for well-known artists such as Eamon Coyne, Patsy Whelan, and the late Jerry Holland, as well as regular performances with Dublin balladeer Dave Hickey. In addition to the diverse ballads and songs Sean has collected in his extensive repertoire, he has also written many of his own songs, including fan favorites “Galway Senorita” and “Last Night’s Fun.”
The duo formed in 2005 as Stanley and Grimm and made their debut appearance at the Cape Code Celtic Festival. In years to follow the traveled new England playing concerts, house parties, at festivals and pubs. They have also recorded three CD’s ranging from traditional material to original compositions and arrangements. “Stanley and Grimm have a wonderfully pure, organic and authentic sound that makes them rank among the finest entertainers on this side of the Atlantic,” said Dan Hallisey, The Irish Rambler Radio Show. “Their arrangements and playing ability enables them to produce an acoustic tapestry which is close to perfection.” Herbert manager Dawn Sova arraigned the hotel lobby to facilitate the performance by moving couches, setting chairs and placing the duo in the south west corner of the historic building. Kingfield POPS executive director Deborah Sutton Robie did all the little things and the many big things to make the evening such a success.
A standing ovation ended the night with the delight of the audience. The smiles on faces and the uplifting feelings and words was a pretty good indication that nobody left disappointed. Watch the five minute video and wait for the progressions to intensify in this thrilling composition by Stanley & Grimm.
Engstrom said they were happy to see such a great audience. The award winning fiddler explained that the audience really can make a show and they had one of the best audiences last Tuesday. She thanked the Kingfield POPS, Skye, Herbert and the Stanley Museum for joining forces to make this event happen. Brennan simply said, it was a great audience, in a great town, in a great hotel and some great tunes from F.O.’s great fiddle. “Thanks to everyone for a great night,” the guitarist posted on the POPS Facebook page.
Stanley and Grimm went on to play at the Skye Theatre in South Carthage and in Unity later in the week.
Irish Rambler Radio Show
Post Published: June 15, 2010
Dan Hallisey, The Irish Rambler Radio Show
Stanley and Grimm have a wonderfully pure, organic and authentic sound that makes them rank among the finest entertainers on this side of the atlantic. Their arrangements and playing ability enables them to produce an acoustic tapestry which is close to perfection.
Celtic Radio Press Release
Album of the Year - 2008
Stanley & Grimm
"Guitarist & Singer Sean Brennan, and Fiddler Nikki Engstrom, have created something very special with their latest CD "Another Round." This New England duo plays a mix of old and new tunes that is a delight to the ears and addicting to the feet (especially those that dance). We at Celtic Radio carefully listened to each and every track on this CD and we have come to the conclusion that perfection has been made! Every musical measure is a beautiful display of just how much these folks love to play.
Some of our favorite tracks include Pachelbel's Frolics - a fast, toe tapping journey into fiddle and guitar euphoria mixed every so often with a few slower classical measures - just exhilarating! Fiddler's Green is sung by Sean's strong and warm vocals showing that this group is not just about Jigs & Reels, but has the depth and talent to shine with many different types of Celtic music.
Mic Ryan's Lament, one of our favorites, is a post Civil War song about the legendary7th_Calvary and Custer's defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Sean brings this song to life about the tragic tale of two brothers who left Ireland for the idea of America, only to meet their end at Vicksburg and Little Big Horn. A song only made possible by the emotional stirring of Nikki's fiddle and Sean's vocals - clearly both playing off each other’s talent making for a wonderful rendition of this ageless song.
So, as you may see - we loved Stanley & Grimm's "Another Round" and would highly recommend this CD to add to your Celtic music collection. The CD has a depth of songs and promises to entertain every type of listener with a mix of Celtic music. 5 Golden Celtic Radio stars for "Another Round." Just perfectly splendid!"