- 23 Feb 23
Ghosts In the music machine.
The debut album from Drogheda-based Paddy Goodwin and his Holy Ghosts comes freighted with encomiums from the mighty, including author Patrick McCabe, Paul Brady, Brush Shiels, Brian Downey, Jack L and Charlie McGettigan. In theory they could all be wrong – but they ain’t.
Goodwin has played with Horslips whose Eamon Carr, Jim Lockhart and Barry Devlin return the favour here. Other notable guest ghosts include sometime Waterboy and sax wizard, Anto Thistlethwaite, and pedal-steel kingpin BJ Cole.
Paul Brady duets with Goodwin on ‘In The Blue Of The Night’, a song that’s tastefully under-the-top Springsteen and brim-full of regret and yearning. The solid ‘Keep On Rockin’’ is built around a casual loping rhythm and blazing brass, with more than a hint of Van in the sum of its parts.
‘Is This Still America?’ is a despairing reflection on what that once-great nation has become, while a squall of chunky guitars set ‘That Train’ a-rolling down the tracks, maybe towards another defunct promised land.
But the ultimate killer is the opener ‘The Church Of The Here And Now’, an upbeat stew of brass stabs, female woo-woos, and a solid blues-rock beat, over which Goodwin lays out a philosophy that ruins any chance of a residency at The Vatican.
Goodwin’s vocals and guitars are flawless throughout, and his songs are full of vitality and avoid clichés to deal with real issues instead. Overall, The Church Of The Here and Now is a gutsy blues-rock album, with the ghosts of music past hovering over living musicians – actually playing together, rather than the created-in-a-laboratory effect much modern music can become.
There will be converts, so expect a long queue.
Listen: ‘The Church of the Here and Now’
Read album reviews and more in the new issue of Hot Press, starring Inhaler and The Academic.