Dylan Walshe – All Manner of Ways
‘All Manner Of Ways’ is the new album from Dublin-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Dylan Walshe. Christy Moore holds him in high esteem. He recently opened for Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmmasters. Guests on the album include James Fearnsley of The Pogues, and Andy Gibson of Hank Williams III – indicators that he is swiftly curating kudos among contemporaries.
Dylan’s a fine wordsmith and a fair character. It does my heart good to hear him sing. Love his voice and the way he’s using it.Christy Moore
Recorded in East Nashville, where he currently resides, this is the sound of Dylan’s journey, from Dublin to Tennessee, “a record and artist steeped in tradition, but with a mind of its own”.
I am reminded of our own Northern singer-songwriters Matt McGinn and Ben Glover; the latter also Nashville based, drawing on the theme of the Irishman making waves across the sea, but with the imprint of “home” on his soul.
Interestingly, it is the sea that takes form and becomes a feature. I am reminded at times of The Waterboys, with the lilting, moodiness of instrumental melody; its ebb and flow.
The opening track ‘Blind is Blind’ may or may not be a tribute to the sea, but is a robust song, and with a rough charm we hear the Dublin brogue come through.
‘At Sea’ is simply a beautiful song. It’s the lyrics on the CD booklet that reveal this to be a laid bare dialogue between father and son (an intriguing discovery which doesn’t come across on first hearing), seeking answers to the big metaphysical, existential questions.
In fact, the lyrics booklet is a work of art in itself, with stunning, dramatic black and white photography all taken by the artist – another of Dylan’s talents clearly.
The full gamut of the human condition is explored in one way or another in ‘All Manner Of Ways’, which didn’t come across at first. However after several listens themes emerge, poetically expressed.
‘Luck Is A Beggar, Luck Is A King’ addresses gambling, alcohol, addiction; expressed as “elastic honesty” in the covert search for our own truth.
Dylan Walshe has a great voice – deep, textured, multi-layered – and its richness comes across nowhere better than in ‘Ruined’, combined with harmonica and fiddle.
Reminiscent of a life full-lived on the edge, close to ruination but salvation is always an option. Skilled and beautiful.
Two songs on this album of ten original tracks offer up alternative versions – ‘Same Old Prayer’ and ‘Where Dublin Meets Wicklow’. The latter, in particular, deserves special mention, for both versions.
It’s one of those songs that resonates, gets under your skin. It is a love song laid bare, through subtle poetry, torn between the only place that’s home, and the next best place, Tennessee.
Amidst the alcohol, the side-effects of a life on the road and the musician’s Achilles, there is a deep-grained nod to being brought up quaintly among the rosary beads and blind faith of what was Catholic Ireland.
Possibly the most important song on this album is ‘Trickle Down Effect’. It’s political in terms of the hate and fear being perpetuated across continents, an ill wind that blows.
And the trickle-down effect is truly here. They said it would be money, but its just hate and fear.
Here, here! Well said.
Finally, ‘Death Dance’ is lively, fluid, remotely morbid, maybe apocalyptic – a sort of shamanistic nod to the ancient and the tribal, with dreams, curses, ravens and bone rattles in tune.
Find out more at dylanwalshe.com