"Old Men In Hats" By Irish Artist John Breen
On this long awaited follow up to his 2004 debut album, John Breen's clear, expressive and emotional voice is captivating, making 14 of these 16 tracks of eclectic self-penned tunes, original and traditional songs, an enjoyable listen and well worth the wait.
From rhythmic cuts that will get your toes tapping (Rosemary Bailey) to John's engaging vocal nuances on stellar ballads (Ringsend Rose, Old Man), and boosted by several pre-eminent Irish musicians to include: band member Mick Redmond (well crafted mandolin and banjo influences throughout), accordion and whistle accompaniments by Brian Doyle, driving bodhran beats from Peter Walker (check out Maggie), world champion Irish piper Larry Cullen, who contributes a fabulous rendition of the instrumental (The Mason's Apron), and the talented tin whistler Tommy Breen (of Boru and Fenian Folk) contributing an equally fine solo instrumental (The Bog Down In The Valley O'), this album delivers magical vocal and musical performances.
The title track "Old Men In Hats" (an incredible lyrical contribution from fellow Wicklow man Terry Kavanagh) truly puts you there, in that place that as the song says: "feels like heaven to me".
Produced once again by Atlanta veteran Steven Hawkins, his intuition on this follow up release is on the mark.
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