’Moonlight On Galway Bay’ is finally here!
After much deliberation the album of big songs ‘Moonlight On Galway Bay’ is finally here. A suggestion made by Davy Spillane to cover these much-hackneyed classics, way back in the early 90′s was the kernel for this album.
A chance request for ‘Galway Bay’ from an old lady at the Milwaukee festival many years later got Seán thinking. Once he read the lyrics he was hooked. Humbled by what he had ignorantly regarded as songs for the corn beef and cabbage circuit.
He set to work learning them. He has taken these old gems and lovingly breathed new live into them. Presenting them in his own inimitable style. No big symphonic manoeuvre. For Seán it is always about the lyric and getting the story across, as luck would have it all of these lyrics are married to the most beautiful melodies, with the help of a small enclitic band of great musicians once again Seán Tyrrell has delivered a rare and wonderful album.
This is what Little John Nee had to say upon hearing the album. “A most beautiful collection of songs. Seán has reclaimed them as only he could, allowing them to be great again; going to the essence and rekindling the fire that once burned so brightly in them, giving them a relevance and resonance that is as potent today as ever it was.
It is a very rare treat to hear a song for the first time and be able to sing along with it. Any changes have been made with great care and I think Seán shows a loyalty and respect to these songs that has been sorely wanting. Let you listen yourself”.
“Sean has always been changing and growing in his artistry and in the way he approaches it. Now comes this masterpiece. I suspect strongly we are looking at Male Vocal Album of the Year here. Words fail us, but we can best state our opinion of it as being almost impressionistic. This is all classical music in the Irish vein and all completely new. Sean does what we love so much when great artists are at work. He does not soar vocally and try to impress us with the magnificence of his voice. He has done that in other albums. All of these songs are sung quietly and with deep emotion. This allows us to really hear and focus on the lyrics. No male Irish singer interprets lyrics better than Sean Tyrrell. So many of these songs in Sean’s hands come across as a revelation”. Bill Margeson Live Ireland. “Moonlight On Galway Bay”
“The Walker of The Snow” New Release.
The road less traveled has been the favourite stomping ground for Seán Tyrrell and this journey with ‘The Walker of the Snow’ which has been more than five years in the making takes us on another extraordinary musical journey. Its title track is based on a poem by the 19th century Dublin poet Charles Dawson Shanley a mesmerising, ghostly tale set in the Yukon presented in a sparse acoustic style, as are the other songs on this new CD, including Seán’s version of the Tom Paxton classic ‘Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound’ and a hair raising rendition of ‘She Moves Through The Fair’. It was the imagery of Batt O’Connor’s ‘Seal Tamall Ar Strae’ and Seán’s love of the Irish language and his ongoing desire to improve his command of it that has brought this song to the album. He has brought a new lease of life to another old gem ‘You Are My Sunshine’ which will have you dancing around the kitchen.
In the words of Eamonn MC Cann “No other writer or singer in Ireland would have apprehended the shadow much less made substance of this cycle of songs. This is an album to be listened to gently for the enjoyment of its gusto. It deserves the widest possible audience”.
Siobhán Long Irish Times Review “Tyrrell wanders through vastly different landscapes, from the suitably wayward and Wildean Reading Gaol to the bittersweet ambivalence of the timely closer, I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound, borrowed from Tom Paxton’s songbook. Tyrrell’s plaintive vocals have come into their own on this collection, possessing a spare, echoic quality that recalls Ry Cooder’s in Paris, Texas. Tony Trundle partners Tyrrell’s lilting mandola with a perfectly throaty fiddle on The Lark in the Morning – reinvented by Seán’s indefatigable optimism. Here be folk music as it was meant to be: pugilistic at times, all embracing at others. Tyrrell’s appetite for telling it like it is is as unquenchable as ever”.Siobhán Long Irish Times.
Taking its name from a poem by 19th century Dublin poet Charles Dawson Shanley, “The Walker of the Snow” is an album diverse in character but unified in direction. Tyrrell’s voice, of course, takes center stage; its raw “growl” both conveys the album’s thematic cues and complements well its tendency toward sparse, atmospheric arrangements. Tyrrell’s selections – some original, others taken from the traditional repertory, adapted from poetry or borrowed from songwriters outside the tradition – all revel in story and metaphor, often injected with a bracing (and disarming) directness that impels listeners to understand the messages in them.
The album’s musical arrangements are built on Tyrrell’s mandocello and tenor guitar, but many also include acoustic, electric & slide guitar, Hammond organ, and even synthesizer. With this palette of instruments, all the tracks are able to retain a sense of bardic familiarity typical of Tyrrell’s style, but it allows in an occasional folk-rock sensibility that moves the album beyond the typical borders of Irish traditional song.
For example, his version of the traditional “She Moves Through The Fair,” echoes Fairport Convention’s 1968 folk-rock recording in tone. However, Tyrrell’s unmistakable delivery and phrasing make the composition his own. The same can be said of his take on John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” a song that few can adapt effectively, but one on which Tyrrell excels.Led by Tyrrell’s powerful voice, “The Walker of the Snow” is an excellent album that explores the corners of existential meaning. It will surely appeal to trad fans, especially those interested in ballads and vocal music, but Tyrrell’s style is hard to pin down and can therefore reach out across genres – hopefully, people “out there” will hear him.
Daniel Neely Irish Echo
In this my new show, ‘Who Killed James Joyce’ which was launched at the Cuirt Literary Festival in Galway in April once again I have returned to the brimming well of Irish poetry and summoned a meitheal of poets, from both living and the dead, to bring home a bountiful literary harvest. Most of these poems have not been previously set to music and from the moment I clapped eyes on them they sung to me.
Patrick Kavanagh, Who Killed James Joyce.
James Joyce, Gas From a Burner.
WB Yeats, Host of The air, The Stolen Child.
Mairtin Ó Direáin, Fís An Daill.
Louise Mc Neice, ‘Prognosis’ and Bagpipe Music.
Michael Hartnett, Ballad of The State of The Nation and I Can Read You Like A Book.
Oscar Wilde’s, Reading Gaol, Requiescat.
Padhraig Pearse, Bean tShleibhe ag Caoineadh a Mic.
Seamus Heaney, ‘Poem”
Seán Ó Ríordáin Cúl An Tí.
Rita Ann Higgins, Ode to Rahoon.
Mary O’Malley, Hormones
Connie O Halloran, Hung Out to Dry.
Paul Durcan, Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin.
Phil Gaston, The World is Turning.
Oliver St John Gogarty, Ringsend.
This show maps the amazing life and incredible work of one of Ireland’s lesser known heroes. Through the medium of song and story it paints a vivid picture of John Boyle O’Reilly’s journey from his boyhood in Dowth, enlistment as a Fenian, his imprisonment and great escape from the penal colony in Fremantle on board an American whaling ship . He settled in Boston and became one of the most important Irishmen in America of his day.
It’s theatre, great songs ranging from Oscar Wilde to John Lennon. Storytelling, history, its now, relevant, humourous, tragic, heroic the life of a majestic visionary soul. A poet, rebel, courage of a freedom fighter and commitment of a civil rights activist.