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EAMON FRIEL - Atlantic Light 

EAMON FRIEL - Atlantic Light 
Thran Records THR1013 

Eamon Friel’s a popular broadcaster on BBC Radio Ulster, but also has a back catalogue as a recording artiste stretching back into the 80s. At first blush, this appeared to be all easy listening, but dig a little deeper and there are some jewels to be found.

When you listen to the well-crafted and engagingly phrased lyrics, you’ll find intriguing and well told tales somewhat reminiscent of (say) Reg Meuross, and not all of the songs are performed in the laid back manner of the first few tracks – which this reviewer finds has a tendency to switch off his attention. If the more upbeat Under The Moon hasn’t awoken you, then The Hammer certainly will, with its all too familiar story of big business pulling out to relocate where the labour’s cheaper. To me it sounded as if it had been inspired by Fruit of the Loom’s devastating withdrawal from Buncrana, but it applies all over these islands at the moment. Street Of Song even had shades of Leonard Cohen, both in its introspection and its delivery, while Cnoc An Chónai, the final song, deserves to be widely sung by exiled Irish singers everywhere.

Eamon has a fine voice for the relaxed style he favours, he writes excellent words, and has a skilled group of musicians behind him. I have little doubt that this CD will be popular with his listeners and with a fair proportion of this magazine’s readership.

John Waltham