If you’re into folk and associated genres, this is an album you must buy.
Finbar Furey is an Irish legend, part of the Fureys. He toured and played hard, and life took its toll in 2013, when he had a near-fatal heart attack.
He’s over it now (“A fella asked me if I had an out-of-body experience. I said I had. I nearly froze me ass off trying to get in the ambulance. I thought yer man would never close the door,” he told the Independent), but you feel his brush with mortality has fed into this album.
The lyrics are about life and stuff, and as thoughtful as you might expect; take that as read. Two things make the album outstanding. First his voice, which sounds as it should: that of a 71-year-old who’s seen life and nearly died. There’s a world-weary vulnerability to it. If he couldn’t write good songs it might not work as a singing voice, but he can so it does. (He reminds us of Saw Doctors associate Padraig Stevens in places).
Second is the variety of music. There is some of the traditional Celtic sound you would expect, but there’s also the blues, bluegrass and some world influences too – we once heard an Irish fella saying the Irish invented all modern music (migrants took their music to the US, where it influenced early jazz, rock and blues, the lot) and Co-Exist, where Finbar plays an Eastern tune on his banjo, suggests that all music at heart really is Irish.
This is a strong album, which grows with repeated plays. There’s a bonus DVD, with songs including The Ballad for George Best and When You Were Sweet Sixteen.