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The Potential Collection
Colm O Hare, 11 Apr 2006
A compilation of acoustic acts that have all taken part in the highly regarded Zodiac Sessions open-mic night at Bruxelles in Dublin, this collection serves as a timely reminder of the continuing health of the singer-songwriter scene. But are there any potential Damien Rices or Julie Feeneys out there? Well, as is usual with these kinds of affairs, the first impressions are mixed, with some faring better than others in the performing and songwriting stakes. Tony Hoyne from Kilkenny stands out immediately, conjuring up the intensity of D. Rice on the plaintive ‘In Lights’. Tyrone Relph’s bluesy piano-based ballad ‘Aching For You’ recalls James Blunt in style. Justin Manville’s ‘Bring Me Down’ showcases a feisty performer with an r’n’b edge to his work. Other highlights include Michael Roche’s bluesy ‘No More Need To Cry’, Brian McGovern’s poignant anti-war ‘Crash ‘n’ Burn’ and David Burke’s jazzy ‘Grandfather Song’, the liveliest tune here.
Also of interest is Ray Heffernan (who wrote Robbie Williams' smash ‘Angels’). Whether that was typical of his style or not is hard to say. His contribution here is ‘Let Go Of The Wheel’, an engaging ballad without the pop smarts of his better known number.
It’s not all solo acts however; Anima’s ‘Hold On’ boasts nice harmonies, Australian outfit Doubled’s ‘Freedom’ recalls Jack Johnson just a tad while Caruso’s ‘The Man Walks Into Doors’ is intriguing. Kumara are blessed with a singer in the Richard Ashcroft mould as displayed on ‘Secret’s And Lies’ while the sole female singer-songwriter Sarah Williams wraps things up nicely with her Sinéad O’Connor-like voice on ‘Lifetime’. Whether any of these make the grade in the long run is hard to tell – it’s written in the stars I suppose!
Colm O Hare
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