I found it! After some digging, a piece of musical nostalgia. And oh, how random and lovely it is too.
Since I got to thinking about what the first music albums were that I ever bought, I remembered a particular Celtic album that I bought when was probably only 12 or 13. I have a vague recollection of finding it at Barnes & Noble when the store had only been in town for a little while. When I was that age, B&N was a quintessentially magical place, and combined with how emotionally invested I could get at that age with any new musical discovery (or book series, or movie, etc.) I have very strong memories and associated feelings with certain music that I listened to then. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Queen's Greatest Hits brings back memories of driving to Minneapolis to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Orpheum. In 1997, I bought Hanson's Middle of Nowhere and became a die-hard fan almost overnight. When I was about 14, I bought Jonny Lang's Wander This World and recall taking a trip to Ann Arbor, MI with my dad for a long art fair.
I love that about music -- the feelings and memories it evokes, every association so different from the rest, yet no less vivid.
But back to the material point of this post, something a little different. I purchased A Celtic Tale: The Legend of Deirdre by Mychael and Jeff Danna sometime in the late 1990s. It came out in 1996, and both guys have gone on to produce numerous soundtracks and other albums for movies such as Girl, Interrupted and Resident Evil: Apocalypse, respectively. So even though I was surprised to find their names on big-budget movie soundtracks, it makes sense that A Celtic Tale sounds like a soundtrack in its own right, simply that of the Legend of Deirde.
Again, back to my impressionable tween self, no other record filled me with such inspiration or promoted my imagination as much as this album. I think I found it around a time that my dad was listening to Loreena McKennitt and Enya quite a bit in his home studio. And I had liked the Celtic sound of Enya and Loreena, so I picked this up, probably very randomly. I sat on the couch in the living room of my parents' house and listened to this on repeat. Pair that with a coffee table book of Ireland and I was a believer. I began to write fictional stories when I listened to this CD. Nothing much, of course, and I don't have anything anymore, but I remember a particular story involving a very mystical, shadowy castle somewhere on the Emerald Isle, tucked away in the mists of time. A sad and tender thing; at 12 or 13, I wonder now how that manifested itself on paper, now that I remember it as an adult. Silly, really. But I listen to it now, and it holds the same fascination. I can draw up the images clear as day.
And it's also clear I'm at risk of falling off my rocker entirely here, so...
I can be fairly certain that it kicked off my enduring interest in my Irish background, always bolstered by a niggling mystical feeling. Something about this album is just so lovely in that respect -- it's serene and yet epic without being corny like so many Celtic mood collections are. I suggest that anyone who has even a passing interest in Celtic tunes should take a listen. Of course I can't pass on my singular memories, which are probably most of the reason I find this album so lovely. But still, it's worth a mention. I'm so happy to have been able to find it again.