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Private Label LB002

Leonard Barry has recently released his second album, New Road.  It appears to have been quite a while in the making considering 11 years have passed since his debut album.  We often hear age old clichés such as “good things come to those who wait” and about patience being a virtue.  Leonard Barry’s second album certainly lives up to any words of wisdom to this effect.  He brings us on a musical journey that is very close to the grassroots tradition accompanied throughout by a host of guests such as Cathy Jordan, Cyril O Donoghue, Rick Epping and Seamie O’Dowd to name but a few.  At all times throughout the recording, these guests truly compliment the gentle touches and melodic sounds from Leonard’s pipes.

Since recording his debut album, Leonard has moved to Dublin but has certainly not forgotten his native North Kerry roots as can be heard throughout this album. The opening set of the album comprises one of my most favoured jigs, the four part version of Apples In Winter, a tune which originally came from Padraig O Keeffe and associated with the late Johnny O’Leary.  This opening set almost creeps up unexpectedly at a mighty yet solid tempo.

No piping album would be complete without a slow air and this is no exception, with no less than two contained.  Both airs portray Leonard’s command of the uilleann pipes and display the beautiful tone that Leonard can achieve.  John Carty also features on the album and in particular we are offered a throwback to the days of Tony MacMahon & Barney McKenna with Bonaparte Crossing The Rhine with Carty’s powerful banjo intro!  Another track of note is The Foxhunter’s Jig / Bessom In Bloom, where Leonard is joined by Conor Byrne.  This particular track for me is an excellent display of Leonard’s musical ability, comprising some lovely rolls and ornamentation with excellent accompanying tones coming from the drones.  

From beginning to end, each track encompasses everything that is Traditional Music.  This album is a must for every traditionalist’s music collection and I certainly hope that Leonard Barry does not keep us waiting as long for the next instalment.

Emmet O’Halloran

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This album was reviewed in Issue 101 of The Living Tradition magazine.