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JOHN & TIM LYONS - Easy & Bold

JOHN & TIM LYONS - Easy & Bold
Veteran VT158CD

I’ve respected and enjoyed the singing of these two brothers for more years than I care to remember, but I never thought to hear them singing on the same recording. While their singing has as many similarities as you would expect from siblings, this juxtaposition also shows up the differences in their style and delivery. Both are now mature singers (I hope they won’t mind me putting it that way) and the ornate, declamatory style of earlier years, while it is still there, has in part given way to the more measured pace of experience.

The 15 tracks on this CD show all sides of these ambassadors of Irish song to advantage: from the humorous pieces that both men have always enjoyed to the big songs that have also been their hallmark. It’s good to hear how John approaches After Aughrim these days, and Tim’s rendition of An Droighnean Donn and The Green Linnet is as powerful as ever, but in a different, more understated way than in the past. A very simple Anach Cuain highlights Tim’s storytelling ability as well as his fine decoration to perfection, and John’s Goodbye (O Máire Bán) says a lot in a few words – and says it well.

The two brothers share the light-hearted tracks to great effect, and variety is also enhanced by four sets of tunes played by John and his children, Aisling and Sean. The booklet with the CD gives an excellent background to John and Tim’s lives in general, and with reference to Irish music and song in particular, as well as notes on the provenance of the individual tracks.

In many ways this recording can be seen as a (brief) encapsulation of the musical careers of two of Ireland’s most influential singers – all too brief, perhaps, but very satisfying. And the story’s not over yet.

John Waltham


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.