The Chieftains attempted to widen their audience with the release of Long Black Veil in 1995.
This very cool CD featured many classic rock and pop musicians (all except for Ry Cooder come from the British Isles) singing lead vocals on mostly traditional songs. The arrangements makes you feel as if the guest stars lived with these folk songs on a daily basis because, to their credit, the Chieftains don't try to sound like a modern rock band. They play these songs with their traditional Irish folk instruments using their own natural style and special gifts.
The Rolling Stones assist on "The Rocky Road to Dublin" while Mick Jagger alone tackles the title track. Mark Knopfler lends both his singing and producing skills to "The Lily of the West" while Welshman Tom Jones' version of "Tennessee Waltz" is so heartfelt that you momentarily forget his Vegas lounge-lizard image. (There's obviously a lot more to Jones than what meets the eye.) Sting and Sinead O'Connor are also among the participants on a set that tries to cross over into pop-rock without really doing so.
The only track I could live without is Marianne Faithfull's lead vocal on "Love Is Teasin'" and that is because the years have not been very kind to her voice. Other than that misstep Long Black Veil offers us some excellent music. It's also an important album to the traditional Irish folk world because it opened up the genre to a whole new audience that would have normally ignored this stellar Irish band.