’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”.
New album “Moonlight On Galway Bay”
Hello All, To those of you who supported my fundit campaign I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. The fruits of my labour and your support ‘Moonlight On Galway Bay’ will be launched on April 2nd in the Burren Backroom sessions in Somerville, Massachusetts with a tour to follow in the US and Canada (details to be found in the tour section). Hope to see some of you on the road.
The idea for the project began when I was recording my second CD The Orchard co-produced by Davy Spillane exactly seventeen years ago. The Orchard was in the delivery room the same day as our beloved daughter Róisín. Davy said if I was producing this album it would be all the Big Songs. When I asked him what songs he listed off Danny Boy, Galway Bay, I’ll Take you home again Kathleen, The Black Velvet Band, Come Back Paddy Reilly. I had no interest in the idea and so it would have remained but for a request at the Milwaukee Festival.
An old lady came to the stage “Young man will you sing Galway Bay for me” Mam I said have never sung that song in my life and I suggested maybe the Isle Of Innisfree. As she made her way slowly back to her seat I thought I had to honour the request. I apologised to the audience said I needed a bit of time to find the key for the song. I had heard it so often I felt I might remember a lot of it. I did and when I came to those lines “They might as well go chasing after moonbeams, Or light a penny candle from a star” I realised what I had missed for years. I did not see myself recording another studio CD after Walker Of The Snow. It took another suggestion from Ronan Browne about four years ago to give me the impetus to go and research the songs I wanted to include in my last studio offering. Thank you old lady who ever you for opening my eyes and ears.
Here is a part of the reaction of a great friend and supporter of my music from Montana. “You told me it was leprechaun music and fit only for the corned beef and cabbage circuit in the States. I felt duly chastised and went on to learn about and appreciate the “real” music you created. Upon 2nd reading of your recent email I STILL wasn’t sure if it was an internet hoax of some sort. I would love to hear them sung by you; you with that unmistakable forlorn voice of yours”.
I immediately emailed Tom. “To be quite honest I said I never thought I would see the day that I would be recording these songs, snobbery you might say I would go a step further and call it ignorance on my part. But like a lot of traditional musicians the songs went over our heads mainly because of the way the lyrics have been treated over produced, laced sickly sweet. I have grown very fond of them and they have been part of my live performances for quite sometime. I hope I have treated them with the respect and delicacy that they deserve.Blian Úr Faoi Mhaise Dhaoibh – A bright and prosperous New Year
“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
Heading back to the USA again in August and continuing on to Australia. I will keep ypu posted as the gigs are confirmed in both countries. We are just beginning to put some more touches to “Chasing After Moonbeams” . “Walker Of The Snow’ is due for a USA and Canadian release in the not too distant future. It looks like Live At Greene’s in Ballyvaughan with Liam Lewis and Fergus Feely is going to be out this Summer so busy times ahead. “Message Of Peace” is going to return to the Galway sessions in June at the Crane on Wednesday 19th and a concert in the one and only Sandinos Derry on the 20th.day!
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.