- 29 Sep 20
Home Thoughts From Abroad.
This is the fourth album from Dubliner Shane Ó Fearghail, now domiciled in Vienna from where his creations venture out around Europe and beyond. His last outing They Might See Dolphins saw him ambling amiably through Mumford and Sons territory, but this album bundles six fresh originals alongside four familiar folk tunes that Shane has unselfconsciously reworked with a subtle indie-folk spirit and his Irish attitude. I suspect the uninitiated would be hard-pressed to tell them apart, such is the consistency of Ó Fearghail’s craftwork, often conveying shedloads of emotion and longing with just voice and guitar.
Two originals are as Gaeilge, with ‘Trasna na gCianta’ a re-working of his ‘Round The Hardway’ from his debut album. It works in both versions and in both languages. He brings a political edge to ‘New England’, his frustration even more potent for being so politely expressed. The romantically-inclined ‘I Like It When You Try’ takes us for a stroll around the USA, before accordion, fiddle and mandolin add welcome new colours to the optimism of the nomadic outdoorsy ‘Roll On The Wind’. But the key track is ‘Anyway’, a wistful look homewards to Dublin while depicting the difficulties of starting over and shaking off past missteps.
The covers include thoughtful versions of the English ballad ‘Reynardine’ and Irish staples ‘Alive Alive O’, ‘Raglan Road’, and ‘The Green Fields of France’, written by Scot Eric Bogle about the death of an Irish soldier.
Ó Fearghail’s raw self-production extends to his Austrian musical accomplices, allowing all ten songs to sing for themselves as straight-talking unencumbered ballads. If the simplicity of the arrangements and Ó Fearghail’s empathetic vocals create a downbeat mood that reflects the times we live in, there’s hope and optimism for the future in there too. That’s probably as much as we're entitled to expect for now.
Born From Tradition is available now on CD. It will be made available on all streaming services on October 31.