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TONY REIDY - Hayshed Days

Hayshed Days
Private Label  TRCD03

A nicely balanced selection of songs here, from one of Ireland’s best balladeers. He tells a good tale, in a very individual style, sung with confidence and aplomb. Not even slightly mainstream, though, his material is intensely personal and quirky, but grabs this listener by the collars and says “this is important stuff here – are you not getting it?” Well I got it eventually. I struggled at first with his heavy Mayo accent – couldn’t understand why he was singing about a ‘turd on the shore’, until I saw the insert sheet that identified a ‘third on the shore”. Oops, my mistake. His musicianship is superlative throughout, and his musical partner (and co-mixer) Seamie O’Dowd is also a sensitive accompanist – a particularly fine fiddler and bassist especially on this showing – and he’s rightly given the credit he deserves in the blurb.

Maybe the obscure nature of the songs will narrow the appeal of this CD but I hope not. It’s a well-crafted, acoustic romp from start to finish and deserves as wide an audience as possible. A couple points worth mentioning – firstly the ‘myspace’ reference doesn’t work if you type in what’s shown (miss out the space in his name and you’ll find him) and secondly, the otherwise superb packaging is let down by multiple typing errors (for example the Rafteiri of Rafteiri Is Back has three different spellings). I know, only minor points. Content is King and there’s 11 cracking songs to get yer teeth into. Nuff said.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 87 of The Living Tradition magazine.