Review Archive

‘The Book of My Days’ from Des Wade

(July 26, 2012)

There’s always a faint edge of longing, coupled with an overriding sense of separation and optimism in Des Wademusic written by Irish exiles – even if they’re a long-time émigré they retain that indefinable connection with their heritage. And the music from Des Wade is no exception. An Irishman by birth, Des has lived an expatriate life in Australia for over 30 years and he writes Celtic-edged music with the emphasis on beautiful lyrics and enchanting melodies.

With his album ‘The Book of My Days’ Des Wade remains true to the legacy of wonderful Irish story tellers. The album opens with ‘Big Wing’ which pulls you straight into the scope and reach of Des’s finely orchestrated songs. The haunting vocals ride across the melody as the simplicity of a single whistle morphs into a full-blown blend of strings and percussion. There’s a spacious, hymnal quality to the eponymous ‘The Book of My Days’ and a distinct feeling of ‘stadium progressive folk’ while ‘Train of Dreams’ co-written with Geoffrey Datson, proves equally powerful – and if you’re not inspired by the haunting depth and breadth of this music you’re not paying attention. The juxtaposition of soft vocals across powerful sweeping chords makes these songs continually alluring.

Des also writes songs in a simpler frame, the gentle peace of ‘Wings of Angels’ is a pure-as-crystal love song filled with hope and devotion – and his distinctive voice carries the lyrics so well. He doesn’t forget the elemental mythic side of his birthright as he delivers the haunting ‘O Ro Tir na nOg’ and eternal hope of ‘The Sign of The Claddagh’. The twelve tracks on ‘The Book of My Days’ follow an eclectic path wandering through dreamscapes and fantasies filled with recollections and experiences across compositions that move between expansive and narrow, simplicity and complex.

Is this folk music or the score to a film about life through one man’s eyes? Listen and you’ll find it fits both ... with ‘The Book of My Days’ Des Wade has created an album that will live in the memory for a long time.

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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