Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Paul Brady interview by Terry Kelly

Paul Brady’s happy to be on his own again
By Terry Kelly
Wednesday 25 April 2012

ACCLAIMED singer-songwriter Paul Brady is one of Ireland’s finest musical exports.

A multi-instrumentalist, with a career stretching back to the 1960s, he has appeared and collaborated with some of the biggest names in popular music, Eric Clapton and Carole King included.

We spoke to him ahead of his appearance on Tyneside next week.

Sustaining a long musical career must sometimes be a difficult business. But Brady, who first found early success with folk band The Johnstons in the 1960s and later with influential 1970s folk unit Planxty, seems fairly relaxed about his day-job.

When he steps on to the stage of Hall Two of The Sage in Gateshead on Saturday, May 5, he will be accompanied by only a guitar and perhaps a keyboard.

“I enjoy doing solo tours. It’s something I’ve done for much of my career and I feel comfortable with just a guitar and a piano,” he explained.

Brady visited the same venue last year, but was then part of the large musical troupe, collectively known as The Transatlantic Sessions, which includes such noted players as Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain.

His solo stint will partly be about promoting a new double CD, called Dancer In The Fire - A Paul Brady Anthology (Proper Records), which is very much a personal retrospective, covering more than 30 years of his recording career.

Brady is pleased when I say the album could have been given the alternative title, ‘My Forgotten Children.’
He said: “That’s just how I feel about many of these songs. The album doesn’t contain my best-known songs, but ones for which I feel great love.

“I’ve always hated those compilations which just repeat someone’s greatest hits. These are simply some of my personal favourites.”

Born and raised in Strabane, Northern Ireland, on the border with the Irish Republic, Brady was very much a child of the 1950s, being influenced by a variety of sounds, from swing, jazz, and from show tunes to classic ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll.

That musical diversity is reflected in Dancer In The Fire, which incorporates everything from the traditional folk standard, I Am A Youth That’s Inclined To Ramble, to The Long Goodbye, co-written with Ronan Keating.

Asked if his musical collaborations are fired by purely creative or commercial imperatives, Brady responds: “Really, it’s a fun imperative. I have written so many songs and albums by myself, that it’s good and inspiring to work on a song with someone else.”

Plus, making many albums has allowed him to work with producers and players associated with some of his own musical heroes, such as Steely Dan.

And there cannot be many Irish singer-songwriters who have had the chance to teach traditional folk tunes to Bob Dylan.

Brady briefly teamed up with Dylan at Slane Castle, near Dublin, in 1984, teaching His Bobness the chords of the folk classics, Arthur McBride and The Lakes of Pontchartrain.

“What can I say? It was Dylan, although his guitar playing was, er, basic.”

Paul revealed his latest projects include working on songs with Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet, Paul Muldoon (“We met at a Horslips gig”) and these latest collaborations may appear on his next studio album.

* Paul Brady will appear at The Sage Gateshead on Saturday, May 5, at 8pm. Tickets are £22.50 and £19.50. Call the box office on 443 4661.

No comments:

Post a Comment