By Ariella Forstein

SweetColleens_CloserToTheSky_COVERThe Minneapolis band, The Sweet Colleens, composed of five eccentric, humble and multi-talented musicians, has made rich music together since 1999. With each year and each album they evolve deeper into their unique fusion of Celtic-Cajun-Folk-Pop-Rock. Their 4th Studio release, Closer to the Sky, shares stories inspired by life experiences; gives listeners jammin’ grooves to move to and introspective ballads to be moved by.

Whether it’s a fiddle riff, an accordion jam or a bagpipe proclamation, the guys somehow keep their sound old-timey, yet still innovative and fresh throughout the 11 tracks. The album opens energetically, as lead singer Jeremy Greenhouse sings California, about a timeless place with magical air and a magical girl, amidst which the accordion rocks a solo with harmonica compliments. Oh My My My (Look at that Girl) gets funky with its hoedown-meets-sexy-song vibe. The album then turns contemplative with Look at that Moon, as a mellow waltz.

Just as listeners think they can curl up on the couch with a cup of joe, The Diamond Lake Reel wakes them up, gets them on their feet, and dancin’ whether it be seated in the car or barefoot in the living room. Combining true Americana with Rock ‘n Roll, the rhythmic syncopation keeps us smiling and moving, transporting us to a time when the hottest thing to do in town was go to the barn to dance it all off. The guys do a great job of honoring music styles and genres by tastefully mixing them into a delicious musical cocktail. We hear Irish jig, Cajun delight, rock throughout the ages, and passion passing through the instruments with voices infectious enough to grab us all.

SWEET_COLEENS__Instruments_-_CedarGetting personal, Benjamin Street is a slower instrumental tune perfect for moments of reminiscence and nostalgia. It was written to commemorate the anniversary of Pete (a band member) & Rhonda, exposing the guys’ sensitive sides. And to conclude, an unexpected sound emerges in May I Suggest. The band sings tight vocal harmonies a cappella, allowing space between phrases so the powerful sound has time to ring. The lyrics resonate deeply:

This is a song with a request of you

to see how very short the endless days will run.

And when they’re gone,

and when the dark descends,

we give anything for one more hour of light.

May I suggest, May I suggest to you,

may I suggest this is the best part of your life.

Ariella Forstein is a vocalist, publicist & writer who has combined her skill sets into a PR and Voice Agency in Minneapolis. She's been writing about world, folk and Indie music bands and albums and shows for over 7 years. You can read more at