What an incredible night of music we were treated to the other night in the Grand Social, with the unique sounds of Junior Brother and PowPig washing over the assembled crowd.
Limerick’s PowPig, comprised of teenagers Anne Marie Rooney, Andrea Mocanu, Laura Drennan and Leah O'Donnell, kicked off the night in style...I was struck by their energy, the confidence of their performance and the quality of their tunes. Certainly a group to keep an eye on. First though, they’ve got the minor issue of the Leaving to get through. Good luck to them.
Junior Brother’s music is nothing if not uniquely Irish and utterly now. A beguiling mix of the old and the new, the familiar and strange, of pathos and humour. Jinx Lennon described him as "If Nick Drake was born in the Kingdom, and received a lifetime full of Healy Rae harrassment and sanctimonious sour looks, it might sound like this."
For me, apart from his incredibly distinctive Kerry singing voice, his guitar playing and compositions are extraordinary. His unique playing style is heavily influenced by the harp tunes of O'Carolan, which he learnt on the guitar when he first started to play. However it has evolved, it’s a beautiful thing to hear.
I’ve been lucky enough to hear him play these songs on his own over the last few years. For me, his live performances really go to another level when accompanied by Tony McLoughlin on mandolin and Fiachra Meek on bodhran, whistle & uilleann pipes.
Rhythmically complex and musically technical, you’d need players at the top of their game to accompany these tunes, and that’s what the lads are. Together, what incredible sounds they make...driving the music to an almost frenzied level of intensity at stages.
His debut album, "Pull The Right Rope", will be released on May 24th, on Strange Brew Records. The vinyl will be purple, fair play to him...I’m a bit surprised it won’t be green & gold.
The music coming out of Ireland these days is incredible...it’s an amazing thing to witness. The future of Irish music is in very safe and talented hands. I’ll raise a chalice to that.