ANDREW MURRAY - Hell Or High Water
Copperplate BCM001

Andrew Murray was born on an island off County Galway , where he was surrounded by music - sorry good music. Being lucky enough to live in the family pub, he met fine musicians during the sessions held there. One of these, Alec Finn, was to play an influential part in his musical career, asking Andrew to replace Tommy Fleming in De Dannan. Until then very few had heard his rich, golden voice. The rest, as they say, is history.

During his time with De Dannan he toured the world, appearing in many of the largest concert halls, but he has now returned more to his roots with his first solo album, ‘Hell and High Water’. The album contains a collection of twelve fairly safe songs, many of which will be familiar to listeners, but there is nothing wrong with that - a good song is always worth listening too. Traditional songs sit side by side with ones composed by the likes of Richard Thompson, Tom Waits and Ewan McColl. On all tracks you are made aware that Andrew Murray believes that it is the words of a song that are important. The clarity of the recording helps the listener appreciate the poetry of the material, just listen to the words of ‘Father’s Song’ - as relevant now as when it was written.

Having said that, the quality of playing is outstanding - listen to the cello of Jane Hughes on ‘Lord Franklin’, Arty McGlynn’s guitar on ‘I Wish My Love Was A Red, Red Rose’ or the contribution of Gavin Ralston throughout the album. But it is the quality of Andrew Murray’s voice which gives this album its feel good factor. It makes me want to dim the lights and settle down in front of a roaring fire with a warming glass of something - problem is I’ve only got gas!

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 65 of The Living Tradition magazine.