I played in a band in New Zealand over the summer, and we did some Irish fiddle tunes. It's got me hooked. In the last two weeks I've bought a bunch of CDs, mostly from half.com.
I started with a few compilations, to help me work out what I liked and what I didn't:
"Traditional Music of Ireland" (Celt 9006). 13 tracks with a good mixture of singing (which I'm not fond of) and instrumentals (which I am).
"The Twentieth Century Collection" (Green Linnet GLCD 106). A double CD of yumminess. Green Linnet are the Big Name in this kind of music, it seems, and this CD is a collection of the owner's favourites. I found a lot of music I like on these CDs, and I've got a lot to buy. The Green Linnet founder's comments on the liner notes are particularly interesting. I was listening with half an ear while working, when suddenly this FANTASTIC track came on. I sat up in my chair and scrabbled for the liner notes. "Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard the Bothy Band" said the founder. Yup, I guess I will. Incredible stuff!
So then I bought a few CDs by individual artists:
Brendan Begley, "We Won't Go Home 'Til Morning" (Kells KM-9510). He's a great accordion player. I know you all think I've lost my mind ("accordion? euch!") but it really seems to work in Irish music. I likee a lot.
Altan, "Runaway Sunday" (Virgin DPRO-12738). I'm not a big fan of singing in any music, so I generally skip the vocal tracks. But the instrumentals are good.
I figure I have another six or so CDs in the mail. Jenine (wife) is going to kill me when she finds out:-). It's an addiction, though--once you get bitten by the bug, there's no going back. It's a bit like Ebola in that respect, only with a beat.