Panoramic post-modern Folk songs from seasoned Irish songwriter
Kevin Doherty first found fame and (hopefully) fortune with the Irish, Folk Supergroup Four Men and a Dog, who recorded six albums including one with Levon Helm and Rick Danko.
This is Doherty’s fourth solo album and the growing maturity of writing and singing will easily win him admirers outside the narrow Folk world he comes from.
The album opens with a very short song called To Begin With; and my sensitive ears picked up hints of John Martyn and Boo Hewerdine alongside a heady aroma of Leonard Cohen in his voice, and that stayed with me throughout the next 9 heartrending songs.
You first realise that Doherty has silently moved away from his traditional Folk roots with the delightful Americana drenched Esplendido Corazon, which features a couple of beautiful lines in Spanish and a verse from the crystal clear voice of Charley Webb as a string section sweeps in and out like a Summer breeze.
The Arco String Quartet makes a soft sweet return on the title track, Seeing Things which could easily be the ‘great lost Leonard Cohen song’ from the late 70’s; but it’s not – it’s Kevin Doherty doing what he does best; writing a beautiful, timeless story that Michael Keeney produces and arranges with a smattering of magic-dust.
There is a whole generation of singer-songwriters coming from the Northern third of Ireland at the moment; all of whom are ‘children of the Troubles;’ and the lack of bitterness in their writing never ceases to amaze me; but it’s probably their background that brings out the poet in these sons and daughters of Ireland and that is no better served than on Rambling Irishman, which couldn’t have been written; and possibly even sung by anyone other than a native of that beautiful but fractured land.