Musicians Together Dublin
Sponsored by Darkey Kelly’s
review by Robert Craven
Tony Floyd Kenna – does he stop for breath? Having established a singer-songwriter venue in Darkey Kelly’s pub, bringing out an album ‘All the colours’ and now launching this CD of the talent that has passed through Darkey Kellys pub, he kindly sent this on to me for review:
‘Musicians Together Dublin’ displays the breadth of talent, that is constantly moving below the radar in Dublin and finding voice in small venues – a welcome break after years of themed, Karaoke and superpubs –it’s a fine CD.
#1 Hey Nelson – Oragh, the opening track opens brightly with a clean sound and whispered vocals, the hook line ‘I’d like to inherit Nelson Mandela’s shirt collection’ is along the lines of early REM and sets out the stall for the album – quirky, left-of centre. Tight plectrum on the bass strings with the treble brought up is a nice touch.
#2 Alison – Tony Floyd Kenna – a slow ballad, is Leonard Cohen-esque, Tony’s trademark growl very much in the Mark Knopfler vein with a crisp guitar sound takes you on a journey of a girl’s homelessness, loneliness and abandonment, which gradually builds in sparse accompaniment. A thoughtful, haunting song that stays long after.
#3 Don’t Mean Maybe – Ciaran Brennan – opening groove feels along the lines of Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, with a radio friendly hook in the middle. Again, less is more on this track, the band are tight and keep to the basics, which is just what this song needs.
#4 Wasting away – Greg Clifford – is a mid-tempo groove sparse guitar, bass and drums which builds over acoustics to jarring guitars before taking it back to the original groove. Everything is controlled and assured with a tasty JJ Cale-style guitar solo, before everything is taken down to the bass groove. The vocals are reminiscent of Paul Carrack which add to the song.
#5 Give it up baby – Brian Ahearne – tasty lap-steel intro, is a wonderful duet, steeped in the Deep South, with a wonderful feel. Slow lazy grooves and wonderful backing vocals is certainly a radio-friendly hit – I’m having a Jim Beam as I write this. Great lap steel solo finishes the piece neatly.
# 6 Is This What Love Is? – Alan Begley – another Southern groove from Alan Begley, is a mellow laid-back song with a clever interplay of rough vocals and soft female backing vocals. An up-lifting piece and Alan has a unique voice, gravelly and enjoying phrasing off the beat. Shades of Van the Man, which isn’t such a bad thing.
#7 Walking on stones – Sean O’Neill – basic mix, clean guitar and whispered vocals from Sean O’Neill take you into the song, about walking along the shore and thinking about the ‘souls of the fishermen’, Sean’s lyrics take you into the song and you can almost feel the cold North Sea crashing on the stones. A passionate short piece with a basic chord pattern and assured strumming. Haunting, soulful and assured.
# 8 All The Colours – Rhiannah Warm – this is a great song with Rhiannah’s phrasing weaving around the guitar. This is a good interpretation of TFK’s song. Rhiannah has a good range and able to skip in and out of scales, reminiscent of Elkie Brooks during her Vinegar Joe days, bluesy but also moving into Fairport Convention territory.
#9 I’ll Remember You – Shirley Clarke – another fine female vocal over a simple guitar groove, Shirley’s voice is clean, without any effects, good phrasing and yet, shows restraint over the song. Like Rhiannah Warm, there are touches of Sandy Denny, where the voice is used as not only the instrument, but used in a controlled manner, so when there is a burst, it adds, rather than detracts from the song.
#10 After the storm – Jed McConkey – back to an electric guitar opening with bass playing on the off-beat against a simple, clean drum groove which allows Jed’s vocals to drift across the song. This, again is a strong song with huge potential airplay. Jed’s vocals are smoky, care-worn and deliver the song of loss and regret nicely. Shades of Paul Harrington and Paul Brady here, no bad thing either.
#11 Summer Moon – Murray McDowell – bright acoustic opening, with a slight pedal effect gives this a summer feel, good melody line too, delivered in a raspy, Bob Dylan style, a song that you’ll be humming long after you hear it. An assured piece and could benefit with more instruments that could give it a Mumford and Sons kick.
# 12 Pycho logic – Wanman Shau - is a challenging piece: discordant guitars, abstract time feels and sonic tricks dropped in weave around a repeated vocal ‘You know something, you’re weird’, then the vocals begin, and Shau’s vocal sits somewhere between Lou Reed and Berlin David Bowie. A jarring and accomplished piece, Zappa-esque in its moments too.
#13 – Wheels Of Steel – Wanman & Floyd – last track & time to rock it up – duelling guitars open this behind a solid three-chord trick and the band keep it simple allowing the pyrotechnics on the guitars take place. Both stretch things to the limit, and let bass take a small solo before everything goes back into the groove. Superb Musicianship and this could easily be a sports programme into. Cracking instrumental.
I hope this CD is picked up by the smaller radio stations and give these artists the airplay they deserve. And it is wondeful to see Darkey Kelly’s sponsoring and supporting their ‘in house’ songwriting group, an example to be followed. MT Dublin has also been officially included as part of ‘The Gathering’.
Category: CD Reviews