‘New Road’ from Leonard Barry ‘… to wholly beguile the listener’(January 11, 2014)
An English poet and playwright of considerable repute once wrote: ‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions’. The antithesis of those words flew into my head when I first listened to ‘New Road’ by noted North Kerry piper Leonard Barry - when superior music comes, it comes not single tracks, but entire albums. This is an album that does just that. It drinks deep from the enduring well of Irish traditional music, sipping the delights of North Kerry, the mountainous Sliabh Luachra region of Munster along the Cork-Kerry border and West Limerick, whence comes much of Leonard’s influence.
There is a positive wealth of solo pieces, duets and ensembles, across an abundance of reels, jigs slides and slow airs that weave and entwine their charms to wholly beguile the listener. There’s the energy of jigs and reels: ‘Apples in Winter/ Peataí O’Leary’s/ Tom Billy’s’ and ‘The LimerickLasses/ Johnny McGhooans/ The Laurel Tree’; enchanting slow airs like:‘Iníon An Fhaoit' Ón Ngleann’ and ‘O’Rahilly’s Grave’, and set dances with ‘Mount Fabus Hunt’ and ‘Planxty Davis’. Beyond those there’s so much more. In addition to the cornucopia of music the album cover also provides the avid listener with an introduction and background to every track.
What more can you say? Familiar with Barry and his talent on the pipes? The seduction continues with ‘New Road’. Not encountered this master before? Prepare to be amazed. Simple as that. Find Leonard Barry and 'New Road' here: www.leonardbarry.ie
On ‘New Road’ Leonard plays a set of Victor Maullaly pipes with guests Conor Byrne (flute) Tony Byrne (guitar) John Carty (banjo) Rick Epping (harmonica and concertina) Cathy Jordan (bodhran) Andy Morrow (fiddle) Tony O’Connell (concertina) Cyril O’Donoghue (bouzouki) and Seamie O’Dowd (guitar) joining him in the album.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll