Finbar Furey Album Review – by Paddy Slattery
As a lifelong fan of Finbar’s music, you would think that writing a review of his latest album ‘Paddy Dear’ would have come very easy. You would expect the compliments to gush freely from my fingertips to my keyboard, and in truth, there is an urge to just relent and allow my bias to take over, but I feel that would do no justice to this incredible collection of songs. I feel an artistic obligation to be as objective as humanly possible if that is at all possible when talking about a man’s music that resides so close to the heart. Sure, I’ll give it a go anyway.
To be honest, I expected a great album but I didn’t expect this. For me, ‘Paddy Dear’ feels like a musical journey back home in many ways. A nostalgic trip back to our roots. A love letter to old Ireland, perhaps? For example, I cannot help but feel a deep sense of loss and yearning when listening to songs like ‘The Ghost of Kelly Dancing’, ‘Lament for John’ or the title track ‘Paddy Dear’; songs that no longer only speak to our older generations, but the young disenfranchised generation of Ireland also; particularly those who were forced to leave our shores in search of jobs.
The album is not all sombre and melancholy, though. There are brilliantly measured moments of playful plucky banjo and guitar in those uplifting songs like ‘Sweet Liberty of Life’ and ‘The Taxi’s Waiting’ featuring vocals from Finbar’s daughter Áine Furey, a distinguished artist in her own right. You’ll also hear great renditions of ‘The Galway Shawl’ and ‘He’ll Have to Go’ featuring Sharon Shannon. Like every song, Finbar covers, he has a flair for making them his own.
What really impresses me about this album is the fact that Finbar manages to infuse this vibrant contemporary sound seamlessly with haunting moments of lamenting airs on the uilleann pipes and whistle; often soaring to familiar heights recognisable in Finbar’s extraordinary back catalogue. But there’s one ingredient that binds all these flavours together to create a work of timeless musical greatness. That voice. Iconic and captivating with more depth than the Mariana Trench.
Finbar is unquestionably one of our nation’s finest treasures. A living legend who, in truth, will be immortalised by his voice long after he casts off his mortal coil. But please don’t be thinking of leaving us anytime soon, Finbar, because just like a fine wine, your beautiful music and spirit is only getting better with age.
By now you’re probably thinking “So much for an objective review” but there is no exaggerating here, nor have I received any brown envelopes through my front door. This album really is one for the ages and I’ve no doubt in my mind that it will become a regular feature in our music collections for generations to come. If you don’t believe me, give the album a listen.
Paddy is a lifelong fan of Finbar Furey and also happens to be an Irish Film and Television Academy Award nominated filmmaker. Paddy fell in love with filmmaking during an uncertain time in his life, following a serious car accident. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury and has remained a wheelchair user ever since. In Paddy’s words: “My body switched off and my imagination switched on.” Not one for sitting still, he now channels his energy toward the most obvious form of escapism; film and music. Later this year Paddy will write and direct his debut feature film titled ‘The Broken Law of Attraction’ which, he hopes, will hit cinemas in Ireland early next year. For more information about his past and future projects, log onto www.standmantra.com