Sean Tyrrell Reviews & Awards
Folk London. This anthology Rising Tide serves as an excellent introduction to those who have never actually heard of Sean Tyrrell before.
HOTPRESS.COM Sarah Me Quaid.
Rising Tide One for longtime and new converts alike .
Rambles written by Nicky Rossiter
I have hit upon a seam of Sean Tyrrell releases and I keep looking for more. This singer has a distinctive voice that takes any song — folk, pop or musical — and makes it sound as if it has been in the traditional songbook for centuries.
He opens this CD with that old standard “Side by Side,” and he makes you forget the music hall rendition. This is the new definitive.
Some months ago I reviewed an album – no, raved about an album — by Eamon Friel. Tyrrell has taken one of his songs, “Such a Night of Stars,” and given it the Sean sheen. At first I kept referring back to Eamon’s version and I didn’t particularly like Sean’s take. Then I listened some more, and guess what? Now I have two different favourite songs called “Such a Night of Stars.”
A “magnum opus” on this album is the fascinating story of “The Quaker” using the words of Samuel Lover. What can I say about “Coast of Malabar’? A great song sung by a maestro.
In Ireland we have the feast of Little Christmas on Jan. 6. When Phil Gaston travelled in the Burren on that night he was inspired by the candles glistening in cottage windows to write “The Lights of Little Christmas.” The tale of love lost to emigration is beautifully told: “Is she here or in America? Is she home or is she gone?”
Sean has a great love of poetry and is constantly putting the words of poets to music and exposing them to a wider audience. He uses a well-known writer like W.B. Yeats on “The Cap and Bells,” but I much prefer when he takes lesser-known poets such as Michael Hartnett and gives us the wonderful “The Ghost of Billy Mulvihill.”
The wonder of Sean Tyrrell is that he takes songs that I often hate and makes me like them. I was so tired of the usual versions of songs like “South of the Border” that I would be tempted to skip the track. Listen once to Sean sing the standard and no more skipping. Another one getting the treatment and rejuvenation here is. “Isle of Inishfree.”
Sean has been setting poems to music for three decades and I enjoyed his singing of one his first ventures from the 1970s on “Time You Old Gypsy Man” using the lyrics of Ralph Hodgson.
Sean Tyrrell has been singing for quite some time but I only discovered him in 2003. I am scrambling to make up those lost years and I invite any lover of good music and lyric to join me in the quest.
WHAT MAKES a great singer? When a voice conveys emotion, what does that mean? Do you really feel what he is singing about? The answers to these questions can be found in Sean Tyrre1l’s Rising Tide – Collection Old & New album, which has just been released.
Rising Tide features eight new songs recorded in Sean’s home in Co Clare and nine songs from his three previous album’s; Cry Of A Dreamer, The Orchard, and Belladonna. A great voice should have the technical ability to carry the song. On ‘Coast Of Malabar’ Sean’s voice soars and glides over the music, yet not one note is given to exaggeration. There is a control to his performance which shows he knows how to use his instrument.
A great voice is also characterized by the ability to convey emotion, but emotions are extremely varied. Yet Sean’s singing of ‘Coast Of Malabar’ conveys nostalgia, romance, and perhaps a tinge of regret, as if he is actually singing about himself. This ability is also used to stunning effect in what is perhaps the best of the new material; ‘Marian’s Song’ where saxophones and cellos weave in and out of the song’s hypnotic guitar figure. In Sean’s voice there is a reassuring comfort for a troubled soul: “Let me help you unburden this feeling oflonesome/I’ve been where you’re anchored, let me be by your side.”
You can feel the genuineness of every word coming from his mouth as in ‘The Twelfth of July’. His plea for unity and diversity is not some vague aspiration, but a reasoned argument hard to oppose: “Let the Orange lily beN our badge my patriot brother/The everlasting Green for me/and we for one another.”
Sean gets inside a song and makes it come alive. He half speak half sings new track ‘The Quaker’, creating an uneasy tension mirroring the song’s tale of suspense and highway robbery. On ‘The Ghost Of Billy Mulvihill’ both voice and music create a picture of a man determined to keep hold of whatever sanity he has left.
“If you’re lucky you come across a voice like Sean’s once in a lifetime,” actress Brenda Fricker said. “When he sings I feel alive.” We’re used to compilations having two or three new tracks, but so many new ones on Rising Tide is somewhat curious. However devotees will relish the new songs, while for novices this is unquestionably the best introduction to Sean Tyrrell, showcasing all sides of this singular talent.