Celtic Gigs Head North

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Celtic Gigs Head North


Byline: By Alan Nichol

There's a strong Celtic flavour to this week's offering, with a couple of Irish-born folk-based musicians at either end of the week and a literate Welshman of similar persuasion in between.

All three have received high praise from artists not normally associated with the genre, a recognition which has helped bridge the gap between roots music and the mainstream.

The first of the trio, Paul Brady, visits the Opera House in Westgate Road tomorrow night. Born in Strabane, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Brady was exposed to the music of his parents - everything from jazz, swing and show-tunes - before taking up the piano and doing his juvenile best on the works of Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino. It was, though, traditional folk music which really prompted his move to guitar and that music, along with the irresistible work of bluesmen like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, hooked him completely. His move to college in Dublin further enhanced the process and it was not long before he joined the late 1960s folk unit, the Johnstons, before moving to the highly regarded and successful band Planxty, where he replaced the Irish icon, Christy Moore.

Brady's own songs rapidly supplanted the traditional material of his first few albums and by the early 1980s he was turning out predominantly self-penned songs on records like Hard Station, True For You, Back To The Centre and the successful Primitive Dance and Trick Or Treat. By the 1990s, other artists had become aware of his work and he picked up fans like Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and U2 who were quick to highlight his song-writing ability. His status in Ireland is still unimpeachable (he now lives in the USA) and in 2001 he was able to sell out an incredible 23 shows at the premier Vicar Street venue in Dublin. His latest CD, Paul Brady Songbook, has received significant airplay and is likely to appeal to fans with little knowledge of his folk heritage. Ticket information, as usual, from the box office number on (0191) 232 0899.

Another award-winning Celt with a dedicated fan base and numerous endorsements is Welshman Martyn Joseph who plays the Buddle Arts Centre on Station Road, Wallsend, next Wednesday. Joseph was one of a select band of songwriters - Richard Thompson, Elvis Costello and Mary Chapin Carpenter were others - given a prime-time BBC Radio 2 showcase for his talents in a recent series. …

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