In the Shadow of Van the Man

The Acoustic Album
Dunphy Productions

Ireland’s Barry McCabe has spent much of his opening for or playing with headliners such as Bryan Adams, Molly Hatchet, Ten Years After, ZZ Top, and Van Morrison. Comparisons to the latter are inevitable in that, like Morrison, McCabe’s Irish folk roots peek through even when he jumps genres. The Acoustic Album is a blues album shot through with folk influences, though amped rock and roll seems to be the direction to which he leans heaviest. In fact, many of his songs, vocals, and guitar work are more reminiscent of unplugged Mick Taylor than Van Morrison in either his trad or blues garb. Like Taylor’s post-Rolling Stones work, McCabe’s solo act is uneven. The Acoustic Album has flashes of promise, but it’s a tad monochromatic even though it’s just eight tracks. The album is technically superb, but it feels listless and controlled—as if McCabe wanted to kick out the jams with some crunchy rock riffs. As blues, The Acoustic Album is too folky; as folk music, it’s too bluesy. McCabe is definitely worth a listen, but he has a long road to walk before Van Morrison comparisons have weight.

Those in western Massachusetts who want to check out McCabe for themselves can catch him at the Ashfield Community Hall on September 24 (7:30 pm). Call 413-628-0313 for ticket and concert information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A better comparison might be Rory Gallagher. There are even hints of the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy.
But enough of these retro-blues people. The world is too interesting to stay in one place.