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PAUL MEEHAN - The Lower Road

PAUL MEEHAN - The Lower Road
Private Label

Originally from Manchester and now based in Armagh, Paul was schooled in music by Peter Carberry and grew up playing alongside the likes of Mike McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly and John Joe Kelly. His musical pedigree has been further enriched by playing with many of the better known and influential bands in Irish music today. He has been the guitarist with Irish supergroup, Lunasa, for the last seven years, with whom he has recorded two albums, and he has variously been seen in outfits such as North Cregg, Na Dorsa and the excellent Buille. So, I was very interested to see what such a musician would produce by way of a solo album – the result did not disappoint.

This album is a refreshing change in the midst of some of the over-produced and over complicated releases which often come our way, especially when someone like Paul has access to so many of the top notch musicians on the circuit today. Rather than utilise these to clutter or over-arrange the music, he has kept arrangements simple, letting the tunes sparkle and showing Paul's unquestionable prowess on banjo, mandolin, bass and, of course, both lead and rhythm guitars.

There is a sparse bolstering by a few other musicians (button accordion, flute, percussion and harmonium) on occasional tracks, but always with a considerate ear for what brings out the best in each set.

Here is an album of tasteful, unhurried music, showcasing Paul's talents in playing a breadth of styles - predominantly traditional Irish tunes with a healthy smattering of contemporary and other related genres. The album flows easily, with the tunes merging nicely from one to the other. Nothing overtly flashy, but good, solid playing with an innate understanding of the spirit of the music. A fine production from a great musician.

Jim Byrne

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.