New CD from Sean Tyrrell One of Many Moods

Walker of the Snow
The Vital Record 003
* * * 

To get a sense of Seán Tyrrell’s latest, think Woody Guthrie rated R. Like Guthrie, Tyrrell’s voice will never invoke adjectives such as “mellifluous,” but it’s choked full of emotional honesty. Unlike Guthrie, Tyrrell is far more direct and dark in discussing the seamier side of life. His musical treatment of the Oscar Wilde poem “Reading Gaol” is so downright creepy that when he sings, “each man slays the thing he loves” you envision Tyrrell hovering in the shadows with a knife. There are lots of sanitized versions of “Ringsend,” but Tyrrell unabashedly opens with the original words: “I will live in Ringsend with a red-headed whore.” Then there are the songs that quake with righteous anger, like his cover of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” and “Black Hole,” Tyrrell’s take down of phonies. Yet, there are also moments of unexpected tenderness–a delicate instrumental of “The Derry Air” (“Danny Boy”), his clipped brogue rendition of “You Are My Sunshine,” and the title track, originally a late Victorian poem from Charles Dawson Shanly and one Tyrrell picked up form his collaborations with Davy Spillane. Walker of the Snow is an album of many moods and much of it–including a rendition of “On Top of Old Smokey”– feels like a throwback to the days of the Folk Revival. One wonders, in fact, if eighteen tracks aren’t too many in an age in which music is often purchased a la carte rather than by the platter, but at least there’s something for everybody.  Rob Weir

No comments: