A quick note---next month is The Livies. They are our annual Awards for the best of the best for 2009. Don't miss them! No Awards are seen and heard worldwide so quickly, and by so many people!!!! Now as to the reviews:
The natural thing is to try NOT to go to extremes. I mean, it sounds so silly, over the top, wacky when you start “raving”. Your friends begin to fear for your mental state, and you walk around with your eyes in a glazed state that invites intervention. Thank heavens your brain can’t be breathalized. So, be warned. Here goes. Brace yourself.
Paddy Homan is probably the best male Irish singer I’ve ever heard. Yup. Now, you were warned as to the direction of this column. Writing about the music for over 20 years, I’ve heard almost all of them. I grovel before Len Graham. Frank Harte was a genius. Sean Keane, and even more so his brother Matt, are treasures. Tim Dennehy. Sean O’Se is a gift from God. Sean Tyrrell is incredible. Have always loved Kevin Conneff with the Chieftains. Don Stiffe out of Galway is a master among masters. A magical voice. I really, really grovel before Len Graham. I could go on. And on. You get the idea.
But, Paddy Homan
is the deal. Complete. I hesitate to say the next bit. He is a tenor. Stop. Don’t roll your eyes. Everyone--and I do mean everyone—says the same thing. “I don’t like Irish tenors-----but Paddy is not an Irish tenor.” Well---yes he is. But that is like saying Secretariat was simply a horse. This Cork native is no patent leather shoe, tuxedo-wearing poseur. We are all, all sick of the guys screaming out nasal tenor voices improperly placed in the glottal area and too high in the throat. You know exactly the type I’m talking about. You’ve heard them. And, they seem to be rapidly breeding and reproducing. Get a dart gun.
Then comes Homan. The album is self-titled. Recorded at the growingly important studio of Dennis Cahill. As stated, Paddy is originally from Cork. Wait. Let’s look at it this way. Check out this list of accompanying musicians---Jimmy Keane on accordion, Dennis Cahill on guitar, Maurice Lennon on fiddle, John Williams on button box, Jimmy Moore on four different instruments, Kathleen Keane on fiddle and whistle and Pat Broaders on bouzouki. Incredible musicians, but here is the point. These musicians get asked constantly to work on albums. They can pick and choose at this level. And, they are all on this album, supporting this singer.
The voice. Oh, the voice. Clear as a bell, and a gift from heaven. Now, we hear Paddy has had formal voice training, but he fortunately has taken the best of the formal stuff and left the other squealy nonsense behind. Oh, the voice. The recent album launches also offered Jimmy Keane, Dennis Cahill and Maurice Lennon accompanying. I have never been at better sessions. I kept thinking I’d eagerly pay $50 or more for this ticket, and all it took to be was the purchase of a pint of Smithwick’s!!
Nobody sings like this, and nobody sounds like this. The voice never, ever grates. The range is stunning. The interpretation is perfect. This is the whole, total complete deal wrapped up in one voice, one talent. I suspect Paddy Homan is going to get very famous, and I hope very rich. You read about him here first, and radio show partner Mary Ann Keifer and I were thrilled to offer the world premiere of his album on our Monday night program a few weeks ago. I know you can get the album online. goggle his name and get to his site. Now, stop sitting there. Get this. I warned you at the start of this column—but here it comes---this is history in the making. The day you bought Paddy Homan’s first album. In a world of lunacy and junk, there is this voice. And, it sings to every one of us, reminding us all of what could and should be. Get up. Get it. Good Lord, this is a new level. I warned you. Rating: Four Harps
—oh, hell---throw away the Harps rating, there aren’t enough Harps! Paddy, you are THE boyo!!
And, look who is here! The wonderful Kat Eggleston
. This incredible artist has a brand new album out, which Mary Ann Keifer and I also gave a world premiere to on the radio show. It is called, Speak. It should tell you all you need to know that the two premiere groups at work in Irish music, Bohola and the David Munnelly Band both invited Kat to join them. She also recorded an album with Bohola, and it is stunning, especially her and Jimmy Keane’s version of How Will I Ever Be Simple Again?
She wrote 11 of the 12 songs for Speak. The 12th is a trad Scots tune, The Birken Tree. And, famed musician Andy Cutting wrote the accompanying tune for Sanctuary/History Man. Fab. Here’s the deal. It is just she on guitar and vocals. Now, my plea of ignorance. I had NO idea how superbly she plays the guitar. I said this to Dennis Cahill and he looked at me as if to say, “You didn’t know THAT??” Well, no. But, I do now. Dennis raves about her as a person, guitarist and vocalist. So do I. Buy Paddy Homan and Speak. You will know where the music is, and even more importantly, where it is going. Paddy is more traditional than Kat on these albums, so you really get the alpha-omega thing. Kat Eggleston is going to win some major awards with Speak. This is a beautiful, wondrous album.
These two albums are my reward for the 500 awful albums I have to wade through every year. Like walking through a field of aural musical thorns---and then, right in the middle of the detritus are Kat Eggleston and Paddy Homan. Suddenly, everything is worth it. Renews your faith sort of thing. Speak is a gem. A treasure. Rating---thank God I already threw out the Harps rating for Paddy Homan, so I don’t need to assign a number to this. It is beyond all that. I’m listening as I write this, and just as I’m concluding the column, Kat starts singing Home. My favorite song on the album. See you next month for the annual Livies Awards, celebrating the best of the past year!! I’m going to lean back now, and just listen. And, breathe some fresh air through my ears. Sing it, Kat!
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