This is one of those albums that have been lying around the office for
a few months, (always send in 3 copies one will eventually make it out
the door to the review panel-Ed). Fair Dawning has been regularly
tossed into a computer to enthuse the muse as we mine for metaphors.
Tim O'Shea is from Killarney and judging by the quality of music it's
not only the local lakes that have depth and sparkle in the kingdom.
The linear notes are excellent, easy to read, imaginatively laid out,
succinct and full of detail. Tune sources are credited, both from the
oral tradition and printed collections. If you want the notation to the
Flax in Bloom for instance Tim directs you to the version in Breathnach's
Volume 4 and the revised O'Neill's, he also gives us a short list on alternative
There are four songs on the album, One Starry Night (by Liam Weldon),
Monday Morning (by Andy M. Stewart), Welcoming Paddy Home (by Willie McEvoy),
given a tantalisingly short Carolanesque introduction. The last song on
the album is Phil Colclough's Song for Ireland. Writers and copyrights
are acknowledged which is how it should be (and often isn't). The singing
is good if a little bit folky (in the American sense).
The tunes are the real finds here and fans of the concertina will
be delighted with the opening track, The New and Old Copperplates played
by Barry Magee. Tim O'Shea plays guitar and bodhr‡n and adds the vocals
there are two fiddles Rob Stafford and Paddy Jones who adds his own
of Kerry frappe a pied. The album notes humbly say this is their first
attempt at recording. On the strength of their musicianship, scholarship
and all round attention to detail I hope it is the first of many trips
to the studio.
The Irish Examiner Pat Ahern 13/05/04
"This is a studio album only in the sense that it was recorded
in a studio. I attitude, it is a relaxed session, a few tunes and the
odd song in
the front room. You can hear the musicians tap their feet, you can hear
them breath and the clicks and squeaks of their instruments. And the
music is all the better for it. Killarney's Tim O'Shea plays guitar and
sings. On this outing , he's joined at various stages by Paddy Jones
on fiddle, Barry Magee on concertina, Ger Culhane on accordion and Matt
Bashford on uilleann pipes, whistle and clarinet. The opening slides,
The Cat jumped in to the mousesí hole/Going to the well for water,
with Paddy taking the lead, have the necessary rough edge. Lake of Learning,
written by Tim, takes its title from a slightly crooked translation of
Loch Léin, the largest of the Killarney lakes. Describing the
song as a mixture of 'myth and legend' O'Shea builds a novel fantasy
ranging from early Christian times to the Cromwellian Wars. Reconciliation
by Ron Kavanagh, Freedom is Like Gold by Andy M. Stewart are full of
good intentions but tend towards over-earnestness. Feartha Famine a self
penned slow air taken on solo guitar, is a wonderfully atmospheric commemoration
of the Great Hunger. The album closes with a fine version of the song
Willie Taylor, segueing into a slow reel, Rolling in the Barrel. Real
music played by real people".
Pay the Reckoning Aidan Crossley May 2004
" With Friends like these, who needs big-name guest musicians?
O'Shea (guitars, vocals, bodhran, bones) is joined by Barry Magee (concertina),
Jones (fiddle), Ger Culhane (accordion) and Matt Bashford (pipes, clarinet,
low whistle) for his third album of songs and tunes that linger in
The tunes are firmly rooted in the Sliabh Luachra tradition with slides and polkas
taking centre stage; even the reels and jigs have the familiar Slaibh Lauchara
lift - that combination of 'busyness' and effortless languor which the best musicians
of this part of the world project. When accompanying tunes, O'Shea has all the
muscularity of Steve Cooney. When accompanying the songs he demonstrates a lightness
of touch and a feel for the depths of his material which ensures that his material
is beautifully backlit.
A cover of Ron Kavan's 'Reconciliation' brings out a whole new layer of meaning
and poignancy. His own 'Lake of Learning', around which Bashford weaves snatches
of 'O'Neill's March', is an odyssey through myth, legend and recorded history,
centred on Loch Lein - the largest of the Lakes of Killarney.
Listen out for an absolutely cracking SLOW VERSION OF Cronin's Hornpipe by Magee.
The pace allows Magee to ornament the tune subtly and masterfully and puts paid
to the lie that music needs a bit of speed to capture it's pulse.
A subtle, restrained and deeply musical album from subtle, restrained and musical
The Irish Times - Siobhan Long 18/3/04
The anarchic energy of Sliabh Luachra married with the fineboned sensibilities
of Clare might suggest a union doomed for brevity, but Tim O'Shea plies both
traditions with sufficient grace to exert a neutralising effect, so much so that
one suspects a union in the future may well bear progeny in the future. One of
the great pleasures of this CD is the presence of superb fiddle player Paddy
Jones and piper, clarinetist and low whistle player Matt Bashford. O'Shea's magnanimity
ensures a democratic mix of tunes, with Barry Magee's concertina glistening on
The Humours of Lisheen jig set, and he wisely limits the songs which lumber awkwardly
alongside the sprightly tunes. Jagged edged, but with many a smooth surface to
Hot Press Magazine - Sarah McQuaid 20th May 2004
Its' the '& friends' who provide much of the instrumental oomph on this third
album by Tim O'Shea: concertina player Barry Magee, who contributes a lovely
unaccompanied rendition of O'Carolan's 'Mr. O'Connor' among other solo pieces;
Matt Bashford on uilleann pipes, low whistle and clarinet; Ger Culhane on accordion
and fiddler Paddy Jones, one of the few remaining students of the legendary Sliabh
Luachra fiddle master Padraig O'Keeffe. That said O'Shea's fine solo guitar performance
on his own composition 'Feartha Famine' leaves one wishing he'd included more
in that vein. The other O'Shea original is an interesting attempt at blending
myth and history. His cover of Ron Kavana's 'Reconciliation' is excellent, with
Bashford's doubling up on clarinets for an unusual backing".
LiveIreland.com - Tim Margerson August 2004
The Lake of Learning is by Tim O'Shea, and is out on Lackeen Records. Tim and
his friends are from the Sliabh Luachra area of Kerry and also of the County
We love The Lake of Learning. The album headline is " Tim O'Shea and Friends ".
This is gloriously true. Tim is surrounded by some gifted musicians here, including
Barry McGee on concertina, Paddy Jones on fiddle, Ger Culhane on accordion
and Matt Bashford on pipes, low whistles and clarinet! Tim plays guitar beautifully,
and has a wonderful, true and terrific voice. This is traditional music that
makes a difference. A wonderful take on the tradition. And, yes, of course
all the Sliabh Luachra and Clare swing is here, the lift, the intonation, phrasing
and the soul.
There are trad song standards including one of our favorites, Willie Taylor,
joined by Reconciliation ( a beautiful bit of business by Ron Kavana ), Freedom
Is Like Gold from Andy Stewart and the title song, Lake of Learning by Tim
himself. We really love this voice. Sure, confident and true. This album is
the real deal. This would be impossible if the star, Tim, were not the deal
himself. Album after album is put in front of us that tries to achieve what
is easily offered here. This is an album by a singer and musicians who love
and believe in what they are doing. Men about their business. The instrumentals
are varied and brill. These must truly be friends and long-time fellow players
with Tim, as they all blend together so naturally and beautifully. This is
an immediate contender for this year's Vocal/Instrumental Album of the Year
Award here on LiveIreland A wonderful voice joins with wondrously played polkas,
beautiful airs, reels, slides, slow reels----what more can we ask?? This is
a winner all the way 'round!! The airs are especially beautiful--one from Tim
on solo guitar, one from Barry McGee on concertina. They are perfect, and really
complete the album. We have written in the past that one of the most disturbing
trends in the tradition is that so many new players ( and some experienced
ones whom we are tempted to name, but won't ) apparently think that the tunes
should be played at Mach 1 speed, all the tunes should be blisteringly fast,
and we will all think, "Boy!!! Can these people play!! " Nothing
could be further from the truth. This album is tastefully put together, balanced---and
everything is presented at a tempo that suits trad to perfection. Music from
Clare and the Sliabh Luachra is all about intonation, phrasing and the "swing"----and
these all are exactly what are left behind when this music is played too swiftly.
Not here. These lads know what they are doing, and what's what!
The more we listen to this album, the more and more and more we love it. Get
this lovely thing by going to email@example.com. or get to the website--www.timosheaandfriends.com
I'm listening to Willie Taylor as I write this. Wow!! Get this album. Really!
Tim O’Shea and Karol Lynch bring Irish Folk to Altenburg Castle
Altenburg. A perfect evening can be so easy: take two passionate musicians,
who don’t need anything but their instruments, microphone and PA, and
let them do their thing. This simple easiness was the recipe for Tuesday night,
when Irish Folk moved into the barrel vault of Altenburg Castle. Tim O’Shea,
who’s been successful in various bands since the late 80’s had
joined up with a great newcomer talent, Karol Lynch. He had filled in short
notice for Gavin Whelan, who had stay at home due to illness. But then this
concert born out of such an emergency, surely none of the 90 guests in the
sold out hall would have noticed. Tim O’Shea and Karol Lynch were in
perfect harmony. Although these two Irishmen played from quite different backgrounds.
There was the experienced, seemingly settled musician O’Shea, who started
gently leading the audience towards the Green Island (Ireland). Simple whistle
sounds, a few minutes that’s all he needed to do. This man is real, authentic.
So authentic, that he sees no problem tuning up a string on his guitar while
singing a song. His way of talking to the audience doesn’t come across
as put on as with so many others. And Tim O’Shea’s music is just
as real in the folk tradition of his home, Ireland, but especially contemporary
The songs tell about normal things in life, of love and pain things will be
and those gone by longing for freedom. Poetical lyrics, and many images. And
when O’Shea sings with his unique voice, heebee- jeebees and goose pimples
are called for.
His partner Karol Lynch is the perfect contrast, the young wild one! Who spices
up O’Shea’s pieces but also takes one’s breath away with
his solo tunes. Lynch is a gifted banjo player, who demands everything from
his instrument and impresses with crazy speed. He also accomplishes the walk
between tradition and originality without any problems. O’Shea and Lynch
urgently or solo are urgently recommended.
Claudia Walther reporting.
“Irish Folk from melancholy to vivacious”
When Tim O’Shea and Karol Lynch play music, you’ll find soul
in every title.
With the ease of the genius, Tim O’Shea and Karol Lynch formed their
musical landscape. The two Irishmen visited the Greiz “Café Lebensart” last
Wednesday. They gave their listeners in the nearly sold out venue excellent
Irish Folk to feel, dream and enthuse. O’Shea and Lynch showed again
that there is no need to fight technical battles or stir up pathetic style
mixtures in order to produce infectious music. And even with the at times overly
supplied classical Irish Folk you can still capture an audience. Under the
condition that you have two such talented musicians like Tim O’Shea and
Karol Lynch. As instrumentalists, and here one must simply celebrate the virtuosity
at the banjo of the young Karol Lynch, as well as musicians that give each
title a piece of soul, the duo presented themselves absolutely impressively
- from the first until, for the fun of it long after the official end of the
concert and last note played.
Ballads, emotional songs carried by poetical
lyrics interchanged with lively Jigs and Reels. And just like these two ends
of a spectrum, so the musicians too form contrasts that need one another for
perfection. There are the calm and a little spirited vocals on one side, and
the young “wild” Karol Lynch playing the banjo masterfully, yet
ever so pressingly on the other.
Together they pick up the roots of Irish Folk
and take it like only the Irish can do to the 21st century, without robbing
it of its power and expression with modern “Gimmicks”.
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