Monday, August 12, 2013

Ireland's music: Sean Tyrrell

Irish musician Sean Tyrrell knows what he’s about when he’s choosing a set list and when he’s choosing songs for an album. The title track of his recording Walker of the Snow is an impressionist tale of dark and light, murder and landscape, trust and loss and finding a path, told in the words of Canadian poet Charles Shanley and sung by Tyrrell with melody and voice that match and evoke all these things.

That’s just the title track. It’s a reasonable map for the journey Tyrrell leads through a bit more than an hour of music, his own songs and his own melodies to words of others as well as several covers and a bit of tradition. Things begin with Gerry Goffin’s Sad Gypsy and continue on through words and music from Oliver Saint John Gogarty and Oscar Wilde, among others. Singing in a voice that evokes the rugged west of Ireland land and sea coast, Tyrrell yet inhabits the stories told in On Top of Old Smokey, which he follows with a gritty take on John Lennon’s song Working Class Hero. The ghost lover tale of She Moves Through the Fair and a thoughtful instrumental of The Derry Air with Tyrrell on one of his favored instruments, the mandocello, are standout cuts as well.

There is light and shadow all along life’s journey, which could be one of the through lines in Sean Tyrrell’s choice of music here. It’s an interesting journey to travel with him, and it seems a fine choice that he finishes with Tom Paxton’s thoughts on hope, uncertainty, and continuing along the road in Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound.

It was Cathie Ryan who first introduced me to Sean Tyrrell’s music many years back. Her recording of his song The 12th Of July (Lament For The Children) is still a favorite.

you may also wish to see
Dreams in America: Luka Bloom
Cathie Ryan: Through Wind and Rain
Shamrock City

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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