The minimalist approach of Darren Lynch is comparable to a nice breathing room after the madness of the rush hour.
Dublin born folk musician and writer Darren Lynch is full of surprises. According to his bio, he started off playing music after finishing a successful amateur boxing career with Crumlin Boxing Club. His first instrument was the banjo which progressed to mandolin and then mandola. I became familiar with his music after listening to his first musical project, The Feekers. They released Tarbolten in 2012. When The Feekers parted ways he continued to explore other creative avenues.
His first novel ‘Siltation’ was published in 2013. All the proceeds from this book are donated to The Irish Cancer Society. If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to do so. His prose is astounding, giving you a glimpse of Dublin through his character’s eyes. After the release of Siltation, he started performing around Dublin. The audience took note of his intricate bouzouki work with The Ballyfermot Rakes.
The Spinning Wheel.
Darren Lynch: Bouzouki, Vocals
Derek Copley: Banjo, Mandolin
Ais Conway Keogh: Fiddle
Produced by: Darren Lynch
Recording Engineer: Gareth Desmond, Loop Studio’s
Photography: Joe Butler
From the sleeve notes:
This album is a collection of some of the songs I have sang over the past 15 years or more. Groups such as The Fureys, The Dubliners and Sweeney’s Men – as well as singers like Pecker Dunne and Brendan Behan – did not merely perform these songs, but offered them to listeners as their own story.
This is testament to the timeless quality of the art of the folk song and the stories of yesterday, which stand the test of time and filter into the future by their ability to resonate with every era. This is an album of my renditions of these timeless stories.
The Spinning Wheel is a testament to the enduring power of folk music. No technology or fad can destroy its spirit as the music of the people. He sings in the tradition of such greats as Luka Bloom, Andy Irvine and Christy Moore.
The bouzouki is an expressive instrument. It evokes that ‘afternoon sunshine in the woods’ kind of feeling. There is something organic and sonorous about it especially when played with low chords. And of course there’s his vocal delivery which is timeless in its simplicity and its adherence to tradition. Both his voice and instrument deliver unparalleled expressive power.
Other artists also appeared in the recording session, notably two virtuoso musicians: Banjo/mandolin player Derek Copeley and fiddler Ais Conway. Recording Engineer Gareth Desmond provided the clean and warm palette to the recording. I like his mixing method especially when it comes to the high-end and low-end of the sonic spectrum. He takes us to the surface of the sound, achieving this intimate and airy kind of recording characteristic.
The rendition of The Wind That Shakes The Barley (written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836–1883)is a refreshing take on this popular track already covered by diverse artists as Loreena McKennitt, Lisa Gerrard, Amanda Palmer, The Clancy Brothers among others.
Dance To Your Daddy showcases his eclectic choice of materials. For those unfamiliar, the track is actually a traditional English folk song that originated in North East England. According to Wikipedia, it was popularised as the theme tune to the 1970s BBC drama serial When The Boat Comes In in an arrangement by the composer David Fanshawe.
Overall, The Spinning Wheel is a satisfying album. It has a pace that moves forward regardless of the tempo. And it is a work of art in its simplicity.
The Spinning Wheel is a high achievement for a singer-songwriter who performs with bloody passion and then, quietly leaving us with our senses on fire.