Newry Town Hall
7th September 2019

“Welcome here kind stranger”

By his own calculations Paul Brady had never, in his 120 year music career , played a gig in Newry. Until now. Iur Cinn Fleadh is now in its sixth year and has developed into a major festival in the border town. Over 90 gigs and events in venues ranging from canal boats to train stations and all points in between. It’s a welcome addition to the vibrant music scene in the area which also hosts Blues on the Bay, Fiddlers Green and some brilliant professional standard classical offerings.

A short opening set from Aisling McAteer and Sean Donnelly demonstrated the depth of talent on the traditional music trail. Confident playing and nice versions of ‘Ellis Island’ and Tommy Sands’  ‘There Were Roses’. Very well done. They warmed us up nicely for the main act, that and the town hall heating.

A sauna said Paul.

Bounding on stage dressed in black, very relaxed Paul was into his stride from the first bars and strums of his Lowden guitar. Solo gig, accompanying himself on guitar, keyboard, and piano. The first bunch of songs was from the relatively more recent work, ‘Harvest Time’, ‘Smile’, ‘Nobody Knows’. All beautifully delivered, he had the audience in the palm of his hand, including the odd would-be heckler. The traditional song ‘Wearing The Britches’ went down very well despite what he noted as its political incorrectness. ‘Long Goodbye’ on keyboard and ‘Follow On’, he fair rattled them out and everyone hit the spot. Paul was clearly enjoying himself and ‘Arthur McBride’ silenced the heckler. ‘Helpless Heart Crazy Dreams’, ‘The Island’ played on a nice sounding baby grand and ‘The World Is What You Make It’ were just some of the highlights.

“120 years” is a decent length of career but it’s been worth it for the quality and span of the work produced. This was only his second solo gig of the year but there were no signs of rustiness. A performer from the very top league in command of his craft and art. An Encore of ‘Lakes of Pontchartrain‘ and ‘Busted Loose’ saw him leave the stage to a standing ovation.

A cracking gig in what seems to have been a very successful festival. Well done to all involved.