- 13 Feb 19
Memorable Debut By The Man From The Forgotten County
It’s a long way from Ballyshannon to Nashville might sound like the first line of one of his songs, but that’s the twenty-year journey Danny Burns had to take to arrive at this fine debut album. While it would be hard to mistake Burns for anything other than Irish - he’s got a head like safety match, as my Gran would have put it - this album is very much an American(a) record. The most casual of glances at the list of collaborators involved – Nashville Royalty Jerry Douglas, Tift Merritt, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Alison Krauss man Dan Tyminski, and mandolinist Sam Bush to name but a few – marks this out as a release to be taken seriously.
One would presume these luminaries didn’t take much persuading once they heard Burns’ voice and his songs, which do plenty of travelling of their own, from Vikings invading in ‘North Country’ to the penal laws in the Damien Dempsey-esque ‘Darling Roisin’, and the young Burns watching fishermen come and go as he grew up in Donegal (‘Great Big Sea’). If all that sounds too heavy handed (it isn’t), there’s plenty of sport to be had too. Try the celebration of life and New Orleans in ‘Let It Go’, the not-giving-a-fuck of ‘Sure You Know You Don’t Give A Fuck’ or the joyous ‘Human Heart’ where Burns’ voice melds with Merritt’s over a winning combination of mandolin, pedal steel and fiddle. Don’t be surprised if the song’s a hit, whether by its author or someone else, and you could say the same for ‘Hummingbee’ and the Winehouse panegyric ‘Amy’ featuring fellow Ulsterer, Cara Dillon.
Burns is already picking up deservedly good notices in the States and if you’re of a country/Americana/folky bent, you’d be well advised to throw an ear in this direction.