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Paul Brady on the Late Late Show!
You Win Again
Homes of Donegal
The Lakes on Ponchartrain
Paul Brady Wows at the Freight
Ireland’s leading singer-songwriter, Paul Brady, gave a bravura solo performance on November 8 the the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. He’s been playing for over forty years but he’s lost none of his fire and drive. He got his chi moving early on, playing himself into the mood of the evening with a few whoops and leaps.
On any given night at the Freight, the audience is largely composed of musicians of various stripes. The ratio was significantly higher for Brady and there were some high-wattage attendees, among them Bonnie Raitt and David Crosby. Raitt is a long-time friend and musical collaborator of Brady’s and we were hoping for a duet (Not the Only One?) but Bonnie was flying incognito.
The sound is often a marvel at the Freight and Brady’s acoustic setup with one mic for his stratospheric voice and guitar gave stunning clarity and depth. Brady also had keyboards for some of his most compelling performances: Paradise is Here, The Island (surely the most pointed and poignant of anti-war songs), and a riveting version of Restless Heart, which he said he had not sung for years. Mother and Son from his Hooba Dooba album brought the house to its feet and a few tears.
Bonnie Raitt with special guest Paul Brady
"Opener and special guest Paul Brady -- a long time staple of the British and Irish folk scene back home, but lesser known on these shores -- opened the concert with a set of fiery acoustic tunes from his own immense catalogue, and was greeted warmly by the then-sparse crowd in place at curtain time.
Brady's got a rugged and powerful voice, and even performing solo, he held the crowd entranced. Songs like "Paradise Is Here," "Blue World," and "The World Is What You Make It" demonstrated the potency of his own pedigree -- which by the way, is well worth time spent investigating -- but it was his closing number, the traditional ballad "Lakes of Pontchartrain" that had the crowd swooning and clinching in his embrace.
Brady was called back to the stage several times to join his hostess, first for the aforementioned "Dimming of the Day," and later to share the lead on his songs she had covered, "Marriage Made in Hollywood" and "Luck of the Draw," one of Raitt's three encores. It's notable that their relationship extends back more than twenty years, and a credit to Raitt's confidence that she continues to generously champion this superb songwriter."
|Lee Zimmerman, Broward/Palm Beach New Times|
Welcome To My World - "Paul Brady"
"Luck Of The Draw"
"These things we do to keep the flame burning
As you get older, your dreams dissipate. What seemed within your reach keeps getting further and further away. In high school everybody's in your business, graduate and suddenly nobody cares. You're on your own. The only thing keeping you going is your gumption. You can go to work for the man, enter a hierarchy barely different from school, but there's no club for artists, no game... You're creating your own.
And it seems almost no one is paying attention.
This Paul Brady composition first appeared on the Bonnie Raitt album of the same name. It's so haunting you're both drawn in and repelled. It's like an episode of "thirtysomething," a drama not made for Lifetime. Where you just work hard and maybe...nothing happens.
"Tomorrow's letter by the hall doorway
Ain't that the truth. It's the carrot that keeps us going. Without it, we wither and die.
"Trick Or Treat"
And then Paul Brady got his shot. Oh, he had a whole career in the U.K., he was a staple in Ireland, but in the U.S. he was unknown.
Gary Katz, the legendary Steely Dan producer, was hired to helm the project. And the more you listen to the album, also called "Trick Or Treat," the more you love it. It becomes your favorite. It sticks in your brain.
But the entrance point is "Trick Or Treat." The best Bonnie Raitt track you've never heard.
Alas, it's a duet, but Bonnie sounds so three-dimensional, so sexy, you'll fall in love with her, even if you know nothing about her, even if you've never seen a photograph, never mind seen her in concert.
"Sometimes the things that you say
EUREKA! THAT'S IT!
You might call it volatility, I call it life. Yin-yang, push-pull, attraction-repulsion. One day you hate 'em, the next day you love 'em.
And the track has got this breezy feel, like the train is hurtling at sixty miles per hour and the engineer is unclear where they're going or if they're gonna run out of track, but you don't care!
"Sometimes I fill up your cup
Self-knowledge! Instead of saying, "It's you, not me." she admits she's complicit. Wise. Alive, but not weary. That's what the miles of life give you, wisdom and insight.
"Like a knock on the door
Whew! We're not talking about manic-depression, we're not talking about Sybil, we're talking about life. You never know what you're going to encounter when you walk through the front door.
"You no compass, baby, me no map
Everybody's looking for answers. But they're usually going to the wrong place. Books, movies, friends, relatives. Whereas some things you can only learn by yourself.
There's no compass or map in life. You make it up as you go.
"Trick or Treat, baby, that's the game
It's relentless. It constantly flows forward. It's a rushing river that could swallow you or give you a ride that will thrill your pants off. They call it life.
Throw off your armor, jump in and enjoy!
"Can't Stop Wanting You"
"Hot words on a summer night
This relationship has faded in the rearview mirror. But I'll never forget it. That's what we had in common, alcohol. It started off so much fun, and sometimes it would lead to the night of our lives, with drunken sex and laughs in bed.
And other times it would devolve into something out of a bad movie. Where not only past hurts were dredged up, but our entire histories, down not only to our birth, but our ancestors.
But breaking up was nigh near impossible.
Because one part of me couldn't stop wanting her.
"Paradise Is Here"
"You say you wanna live some
The fact that my wife left defines me.
Before I was different. Trusting. Believing people were good.
But now I've got more questions than answers.
You think you're in the groove, doing o.k., and then your betrothed rolls over in bed and asks "Can this marriage be saved?" You think it's a joke, but it's deadly real.
What is she looking for? What entices her about the vast world out there without you?
You fight for her to stay, but she goes anyway.
And when she wants to come back, you can't return to where you once were. What you once overlooked is now a dividing line.
"I look for your attention
Relationships are hard. And I'm never going to go on autopilot. I'm gonna fight it out. Not to prove I'm right, but to establish and maintain connection. A marriage ring is no guarantee your partner will wanna hear what you have to say.
"But paradise is here
But it didn't matter what I had to say. She was gone. Pleading just makes it worse. When they've turned against you, nothing you can do or say can make them come back, if they do, it must be at their own insistence, based on their own revelation.
"You talk about your new plans
The irony is that's my life, not hers. But it took me a decade and a ton of psychotherapy to believe in myself, to not believe I was inferior and lived in her absent shadow.
"But I don't need no high life
That's what we really want. Not fame or fortune, just a significant other who wants to ride shotgun on the endless highway of life.
"The Long Goodbye"
"I know they say if you love somebody
Easy for Sting. Easy to say.
"And I know they say if they don't come back again
That's what they don't tell you in books. That's what's not represented in the media. The stars jump from bed to bed, but the truth is we're just animals, desirous of bonding and categorically unable to forget. What do they say, sleep with someone once and it creates an indelible bond, it changes everything forever?
I believe that.
But when you go on to have a relationship...
After it ends, you don't forget them, unlike a mediocre meal they stay in your brain, you can't eradicate them from your memory.
"Sometimes I ask my heart did we really
Sometimes you've got to call it quits.
But that's easier said than done.
"And if we walked away
Our eyes roll at our friends who can't give it up.
But even worse is those who don't even try.
Here's my one piece of relationship advice. If you want to become entangled, find someone who understands commitment. Whether you stand in front of clergy or not. You want someone who'll hang in there through the good and bad, who'll stay connected through the rough times as well as the easy ones. Because being apart is usually so much worse than being together.
"This is the long goodbye
Yes, sometimes it truly is over. The pain exceeds the pleasure. You just can't go through it again. All the drunken adventures are eclipsed by the hangover. But that doesn't make it any less painful.
And I've included two takes of "The Long Goodbye," the more produced one and the more naked one. And isn't it funny the less you've got on a track the more honest it becomes.
And Brooks & Dunn had a hit with "The Long Goodbye," no one could miss with such a great song, and that's been Paul Brady's bread and butter for decades.
But you should know the source.
Paul Brady interview: Ireland's musical statesman
Paul Brady has been in music long enough to know it's never plain sailing but he remains impressively cheerful about the whole business.
The Tyrone-born singer-songwriter, who starts a new UK tour today, will be 65 next month and his new compilation album reflects the range of his work as a writer and musician (he also plays guitar, piano and whistle).
Brady says: "I am seen as something of the elder statesman now. Looked at retrospectively, my career has had its ups and downs."
He adds, with a smile: "The Irish are the first to diss their own as someone who has gone out of fashion but, I'm happy to say, it seems I am cool again. Maybe it's age, a sort of 'Leonard Cohen effect'. The good thing for me is that I have always had an audience. I think it's hard for some young musicians to make headway nowadays, because a 'showbusiness' approach is seen as a bit of an anathema. It's not rocket science. You need to project yourself and the people who have spent money on seats deserve to be entertained. That doesn't have to mean selling out."
The main reason Brady has a loyal - and expanding - audience is the quality of his albums. The first one I heard, back in 1981, was Hard Station, which was a memorable piece of work. New then to Brady's solo work, I wasn't caught up in any debate about what a radical departure it was from the traditional 'folk' sound of 1978's Welcome Here Kind Stranger.
Brady says: "Most of my regular audience at the time were not amazingly surprised because they had heard me doing some of the new songs - but the folk police in the UK were a little less forgiving. And the media in Ireland just wanted to automatically compare it to the old stuff. I had spent most of the 1970s recording and performing traditional songs and my journey into a more rock sound at that point felt a bit like bouncing on hot coals.
"That's when I wrote the song Dancer In The Fire, about a character afraid to dance in the fire. I guess, subconsciously, I may have been articulating some nervousness about change. People were surprised but, with hindsight, my decade in traditional music was the anomaly - a side line - rather than the core of my work as a musician. Anyway, these days music lovers among the public don't have a locked-up mentality where everything strand has to be categorised."
It's worth pointing out that in the 1970s Brady made some marvellous folk recordings - with Planxty and on his own - and his versions of Lakes Of Ponchartrain and Arthur McBride remain timeless classics. But his work since has always been interesting and challenging. His background wasn't one of hard-core traditional Irish music. His parents, both general primary school teachers, loved music and he remembers his father singing Victorian parlour songs. The young Brady, growing up in Strabane in the 1950s, also recalls the thrill of discovering the music of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and then The Shadows, with the instrumental playing of Hank Marvin.
Brady adds: "I started off with a band called The Johnstons but I knew I was never going to be a folk virtuoso - it was more that it was a rich part of my heritage. It did teach me how to become a singer and gave me my voice and style."
That voice and style is evident on the 19 tracks on his new Anthology called Dancer In The Fire. The songs range from lovely traditional folk (I Am A Youth That's Inclined To Ramble, featuring Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny); a rock song called Steel Claw that was a hit for Tina Turner; and also a bouncy cover version of the Hank Williams classic You Win Again. "You can't be in Ireland and not hear country music," he says.
There is also a different version of Crazy Dreams, a hit from Hard Station. Brady, who had trouble naturally selecting from 16 solo albums, adds: "Back in 1981, I wanted to use this demo but at the time I thought it seemed a little light and that I needed more gravitas. But with the benefit of hindsight, I thought it actually sounded quite fresh. I'm glad I changed the original title, though, which was something maudlin like Another Day Without Her."
The album also shows off the strength of songwriting that has seen his work covered by artists of the calibre of Maura O'Connell, Art Garfunkel and Bonnie Raitt.
When did he start writing songs? "I wrote my first song back in the early 1970s when I was playing in Johnstons. One or two, at most, stand up but I think I was still a bit of a callow youth. Hopefully I got better."
He occasionally collaborates, as he did with Ronan Keating, yet one partnership that has always intrigued me is with the American master John Prine. How did that come about?
Brady explains: "My song with John is a rather strange story. I rarely collaborate on a song and sometimes it works out that it's 90-10, 50-50, or 10-90 in terms of the lyrics. In the song Beautiful World, the idea came when I was at a party in John's house in Nashville. He was humming and whistling a tune and said he had got the melody but not the lyrics. I'd always loved the obliqueness of his lyric-writing and I wanted to try to enter John Prine's world and see what would come. When I sent him the words, he said he'd forgotten about the idea but joked that it was very nice to get a co-written song in the post."
Prine recorded the song on his album Lucky 13 and, when I suggest the Irishman made himself sound like Prine the songwriter, Brady replies: "That's pleasing because that was precisely what I was trying to engineer."
Brady's pretty content with his world. He has a son and daughter (who work in computer engineering and IT) and two grandchildren, and the elder statesman of Irish music is still game for touring. He goes on the road for a UK tour with his talented old friend Eleanor McEvoy ("now that's one powerhouse singer who works really hard," says Brady) before doing a 70th birthday concert with Andy Irvine. His UK tour starts in Kendal and takes in Leeds, London, and Bristol.
Folk. Rock. Irish. Pop. Traditional. Soul. Who cares about categories? Just enjoy the dance, especially when Paul Brady is involved.
Paul Brady Interview
The Irish singer-songwriter talks about his background in traditional music, writing songs for Bonnie Raitt and Tina Turner, and his aggressive open-tuned acoustic guitar style.
In five decades as a musician, Paul Brady has straddled the worlds of folk and pop music, from his beginnings as an Irish trad singer to the present, navigating a path of his own between ballads, blues, rock, soul, and singer-songwriter confessionals. His range is so broad that he’s extraordinarily difficult to categorize: In Ireland, he’s a national treasure, the country’s preeminent songwriter, with a six-part television series dedicated to his life and work.
Here in the States, where some of his best songs—“Crazy Dreams,” “Nobody Knows,” and “The World Is What You Make It”—are largely unheard, he’s best known for writing other people’s hits, including Brooks and Dunn (“The Long Good-bye”), Cher (“Paradise Is Here”), Phil Collins (“Helpless Heart”), Bonnie Raitt (“Luck of the Draw”), Santana (“Night Hunting Time”), and Tina Turner (“Steel Claw”).
|Kenny Berkowitz, Acoustic Guitar|
Legendary musician to visit Leamington
THE Leamington Assembly is preparing to welcome an Irish folk songwriting legend through its doors.
Paul Brady – singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – is one of Ireland’s most highly regarded and successful artists.
He crosses musical boundaries again and again, incorporating folk, rock, blues, traditional Irish and classic pop styles into his songwriting. His live performances, whether solo or full band, incorporate songs from his extensive catalogue of 40 years.
Brady is bringing his new show – Dancer in the Fire Tour – to the Leamington Assembly on May 2.
Often classified as a musicians’ musician, Paul Brady’s songs have been covered by a huge array of major artists from Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Cher and Maura O’Connell, to Brookes and Dunne, Joe Cocker and Carlos Santana.
For One Night Only
Paul Brady was recently featured on the Irish TV show For One Night Only where he reflected on his life through his songs. The show is available to view online until Friday, September 9th.
Featuring music and chat, For One Night Only is filmed in front of a studio audience of no more than 200 fans who have the exclusive opportunity to get ‘up close and personal’ with their idols. The show gives an intimate and emotional look at the featured artist’s life story each week and has previously included artists such as Christy Moore, Daniel O’Donnell, Mary Black and Imelda May.
|Ben Bowdler - Properganda|
Hooba Dooba album review
You ever hear the ex
Trying to describe “Hooba Dooba” is impossible. Every song is completely different. There’s country music, Jimmy Buffet type music, “Revolver” era Beatles sounding stuff on here, Eric Clapton sounding stuff. I’m more of a rock fan, so I liked some songs and didn’t like others. For instance the third track “The Price of Fame” isn’t really up my alley, but I can’t deny that it is a good song. I think the melody is great, genre wise it’s just not my cup tea. My MTV generation attention span gets bored, even though I recognize that it is a good song.
|Bob Zerull, Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online|
Paul Brady's 12th Album, Hooba Dooba On Proper Records, Continues Eclectic Path For Dublin Rocker
The career of Paul Brady — whose 12th solo album, the exuberantly titled Hooba Dooba, gets its U.S. release on May 24, 2011 via Proper American — is not that of your usual singer/songwriter. And the new record is the most wildly eclectic this man for all seasons has yet recorded. "I'm a marketing department's nightmare," he jokes, before discussing the confusion that has surrounded him for so long.
After the release of his solo debut Hard Station in 1981, Brady spent the next two decades leading a double life as a recording artist making a sustained effort to get on the radar and a much-covered songwriter, a number of his songs made famous by singers far better known than himself. These included such high-profile covers as Bonnie Raitt's memorable, multiple-Grammy-winning rendition of "Luck of the Draw" (1991) and Brooks & Dunn's chart-topping country single "The Long Goodbye" (2001).
Around the turn of the century, the multitalented veteran once again reinvented himself, this time as a self-contained, truly independent artist. Since this latest metamorphosis, he's been touring constantly in small-group settings on both sides of the Atlantic and making records whenever he felt inspired to do so. Which brings us back full circle to Hooba Dooba, its multiple facets glinting like an uncut diamond nestled in a field of shamrocks.
Given Brady's back story, it's hard to say whether Hooba Dooba, which features guests Jerry Douglas on lap steel and Sarah Siskind on backing vocals, will clear up the confusion about just who this multifaceted guy is or add to it, but one thing's for sure: this record is a dead-honest picture of a one-of-a-kind artist who has always been absolutely true to himself.
Review of Paul Brady at Vicar Street
It had been a while since I last stepped into Vicar Street for a gig so the excitement was very much there on arrival into the venue to see Paul Brady do what he does best. The stage was not hosting any gimmicks rather it was full of guitars and mandolins along with keyboards and a grand piano. Arriving on stage alongside Bill Shanley on guitar and Steve Fletcher on keyboards Paul Brady greeted the enthusiastic Friday audience. After spotting Glen Hansard in attendance I started to think that a duet may be in order at some stage in the night. Last time I seen Hansard play he invited Brady on stage to perform alongside him so maybe a return of the favour was in order. Starting off with ‘Stories’ and ‘Lord Thomas & Fair Ellender’ before getting into ‘Trust in You’ and ‘Nobody Knows’ the crowd were already in full singing voice before Brady introduced ‘Rainbow’ from his most recent album ‘Hooba Dooba’.
My suspicion of an oncoming duet with Hansard was about to become a reality as Brady introduced The Frames man onto the stage to sing ‘Hard Station’ which was sung with real passion from both performers and a real highlight from the night overall. As quickly as he arrived on stage Hansard was gone to make his way to a charity gig in The Olympia. As Brady made his way to the piano for his next song ‘Mother and Son’ from ‘Hooba Dooba’ I had begun to realise how focused I had become whilst listening to him perform his set. This was the first time I had seen Brady perform in an intimate setting having previously seen him perform brilliant sets at Electric Picnic and Midlands Music Festival a few years ago so it was a change and one that was equally as satisfying.
After mentioning Planxty whom he toured with and The Johnstons it was the traditional side of Brady (which my Dad was very happy about) that was about to perform ‘The Jolly Soldier’ followed by ‘Wearin’ The Britches’ which had myself and my Dad in aw of his guitar and mandolin playing and came across as someone who could more than likely play these instruments in his sleep. After a huge applause and appreciation by the audience he kicked into ‘Nothing but the Same Old Story’ followed by ‘Living the Mystery’ which is the last track on his ‘Hooba Dooba’ album.
‘Follow On’ and ‘The Island’ was greeted with huge enthusiasm with Brady allowing his audience take over on singing duties during ‘The Island’ after which received an emotional standing ovation from the crowd on the lower floor. With all three musicians resuming their position on stage it was a small mishap from Fletcher which prompted Brady to remind us that it wasn’t always a ‘slick show’ but nobody in attendance would have minded as Brady had already put smiles on the audiences faces from his set so far. If that wasn’t enough the crowd pleasers were still in plentiful supply with ‘The Long Goodbye’ ‘Crazy Dreams’ ‘The World is What You Make It’ and ‘Arthur McBride’ lined up one after the other. As Brady prepared for the end of his two hour set a member of the audience shouted out a request for ‘The Rocky Road to Dublin’ where he obliged without hesitation and bursted into the rapid paced song before finishing with the ever brilliant ‘Homes of Donegal’ and ‘Busted Loose’.
Brady to me is one of the finest musicians Ireland has to offer and after his performance in Vicar Street on Friday my opinion has not changed. His show was everything anyone would want from a Brady show. With old and new tracks all getting the same reaction because he is as good as it gets. My highlight of the night would have to be how much I realised that Brady as a musician and performer was up their with the best and he certainly captured my attention along with every member of the audience.
|Sean Stevens, Goldenplec.com|
A lifetime in music talk draws Paul Brady fans
PAUL Brady took lifetime fans on an intimate ramble across his successes, stresses and stimuli in music recently in the first of Life Stories, a University of Ulster series of public conversations with distinguished alumni at the Magee campus.
Around 200 friends and followers filled the historic Great Hall to hear him chart a musical odyssey spanning five decades that has confirmed him as one of Ireland's most original and popular performers across many genres.
The singer, song-writer, known for his distinctive sound and ground-breaking collaborations with top contemporary artists, mixed banter with insightful reflections for more than hour before rounding off the night singing Smile, to his own acoustic guitar accompaniment.
Life Stories features well-known graduates and honourary graduates in a range of fields in conversation with University academic and broadcaster Paul Moore.
The one-to-one discussions will offer audiences a rare opportunity to hear a personal account of the life and achievements of each guest.
Brady was awarded an honourary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree last year in recognition of his services to traditional Irish music and song-writing.
Paul Brady Airs His Life Story
Paul Brady took lifetime fans on an intimate ramble across his successes, stresses and stimuli in music last night in the first of ‘Life Stories’, a University of Ulster series of public conversations with distinguished alumni at the Magee campus.
Around 200 friends and followers filled the historic Great Hall to hear him chart a musical odyssey spanning five decades that has confirmed him as one of Ireland’s most original and popular performers across many genres.
The singer, song-writer, known for his distinctive sound and ground-breaking collaborations with top contemporary artistes, mixed banter with insightful reflections for more than hour before rounding off the night singing “Smile”, to his own acoustic guitar accompaniment. He got a standing ovation.
‘Life Stories’ features well-known Ulster graduates and honorary graduates in a range of fields, particularly arts and cultural areas, in conversation with University academic and broadcaster Paul Moore. The one-to-one discussions will offer audiences a rare opportunity to hear a personal account of the life and achievements of each guest.
Brady was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree last year in recognition of his services to traditional Irish music and song-writing. A household name in Ireland, he has won international acclaim. His songs have been recorded by artists included Santana, Garth Brooks and Tina Turner.Read More
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