Paul Brady

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Paul Brady
Paulbrady335.jpg
Brady in 2007
Background information
Birth name Paul Joseph Brady
Born (1947-05-19) 19 May 1947 (age 66)
Origin Strabane, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Genres Folk, pop, traditional Irish
Occupations Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin, bouzouki, tin whistle
Years active 1965–present
Associated acts Planxty, The Johnstons
Website http://www.paulbrady.com/

Paul Joseph Brady (born 19 May 1947)[1] is an Irish singer-songwriter, whose work straddles folk and pop. He was interested in a wide variety of music from an early age. During his career he has passed through several major bands and on to a successful solo phase. Initially popular for playing traditional Irish music in a duo with Andy Irvine and later with Tommy Peoples and Matt Molloy, he later turned to a more rock inspired electric style with poignant political lyrics. Among his most popular songs are "Crazy Dreams", "Nothing but the Same Old Story", "The Island", "Night Hunting" (covered by Santana), "Steel Claw", and "Paradise is Here"(covered by Tina Turner).[2]

Early life[edit]

Brady was born in the small town of Strabane in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, on the border with County Donegal, Republic of Ireland. His father Seán Brady was a music teacher teaching the flute. Brady was educated at Sion Mills Primary School, St. Columb's College, Derry and University College Dublin.[3] He is prominently featured in the documentary film The Boys of St. Columb’s.[citation needed]

He began learning piano around age six and by the age of eleven he had begun to play guitar, spending hours of his school holidays learning every tune the Shadows and The Ventures recorded. He was also strongly influenced by Chuck Berry.

In 1963, Brady began performing as a hotel piano player in Bundoran, Donegal. In October 1964, he attended University College Dublin and performed with a string of RnB groups, covering songs by the likes of Ray Charles and James Brown. The first of these was 'The Inmates' (late 1964-about April 1965), which evolved into 'The Kult' (about April–December 1965), featuring Brady, Jackie McAuley (ex-Them, and future Belfast Gypsies and Trader Horne), Brendan Bonass, and Dave Pennefather. Brady can be seen in the film Charlie Is My Darling waiting outside Dublin's Adelphi Theatre for the Rolling Stones' 3 September 1965 concert. He next joined 'Rootzgroup' (late 1965-May 1966) and 'Rockhouse' (about May–December 1966).[4]

Musical career[edit]

1960s and 1970s[edit]

During his time at college in Dublin, the country saw a huge rise in interest in traditional Irish music. Brady joined the popular Irish band The Johnstons when Michael Johnston left in May 1967. They moved to London, UK in 1969 and subsequently to New York City in 1972 to expand their audience. Despite some success, Brady returned to Ireland in 1974 to join the Irish group Planxty. This was the band that was to launch the solo careers of Andy Irvine, Liam O'Flynn, Dónal Lunny, and Christy Moore. Planxty dissolved and from 1976 to 1978 he played as a duo with Andy Irvine, a relationship which produced Andy Irvine and Paul Brady. The album was hugely successful and garnered much critical acclaim. The next few years saw him establish his popularity and reputation as one of Ireland's best interpreters of traditional songs. His versions of ballads like Arthur McBride and The Lakes of Pontchartrain were considered definitive and are still popular at concerts today. In 1975 in New York he recorded three albums for Shanachie Records as guitar accompanist to resident Irish fiddlers Andy McGann, Paddy Reynolds and John Vesey. He also recorded a 1976 album for the same label with Irish fiddler Tommy Peoples.[5]

Solo career[edit]

In 1978, Brady released his first solo album, Welcome Here Kind Stranger.[6] It won him critical acclaim and it was awarded the Melody Maker Folk Album of the Year, however, it would prove to be Brady's last album with traditional material. He decided to delve into pop and rock music, and released his first album of this genre in 1981, Hard Station. The completely self-penned record received mixed reviews, some fans of his older traditional material were not convinced, while the majority recognised his great talent of writing rock music. Brady released a number of successful solo albums throughout the 1980s, True For You (1983), Back to the Centre (1985), and Primitive Dance (1987). By the end of the decade, Brady was recognised and accepted as a respected performer and songwriter. His songs were being covered by a number of other artists, including Santana and Dave Edmunds. For a full list of artists who have covered his songs see his own website. Contrary to what is often written, Brady doesn't write for other artists but for his own self-expression. Other artists pick up on his songs because of the inherent quality. When Tina Turner heard a demo of his song 'Paradise Is Here' she recorded it for her Break Every Rule album of 1986. By now he was a favourite songwriter among such artists as Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt, who would do a duet with Brady on his 1991 LP, Trick or Treat. A couple of Brady songs soon appeared on Raitt's album Luck of the Draw, including the title track.

Bob Dylan was sufficiently impressed by Brady's work to name-check him in the booklet of his 1985 box set "Biograph'. The actual quote was “..people get too famous too fast these days and it destroys them. Some guys got it down- Leonard Cohen, Paul Brady, Lou Reed, secret heroes,- John Prine, David Allen Coe,Tom Waits. I listen more to that kind of stuff than whatever is popular at the moment. They’re not just witchdoctoring up the planet, they don’t set up barriers…". Again, contrary to what has become accepted fact, Bob Dylan never said that Paul Brady was 'one of the five artists worth getting out of bed for'. That was a paraphrase of the original quote by a journalist in an 80's UK music paper.

Since his Hard Station album (1981) Brady has been on various major labels until the late 90s when he started his own label, PeeBee Music. He released three albums in the 1990s, Trick or Treat, a remixed compilation of earlier songs 'Songs And Crazy Dreams' and Spirits Colliding. They were met with critical acclaim. Trick or Treat was on Fontana/Mercury Records, and received a lot of promotion. As a result, some critics considered it his debut and noted that the record benefited from the expertise of experienced studio musicians as well as producer Gary Katz, who worked with the rock group Steely Dan. Rolling Stone, after praising Brady's earlier but less-known solo records, called Trick or Treat Brady's "most compelling collection."

Brady has gone on to record several other albums (15 in total since he went solo in 1978) and collaborated with a number of other established musicians including Bonnie Raitt and Richard Thompson. A complete list of his many collaborations is given at his website. In 2006 he collaborated with Cara Dillon on the track The Streets of Derry from her album After the Morning. He has also worked with Fiachra Trench.

He performed Gaelic songs as a character in the 2002 Matthew Barney film Cremaster 3. He also played tin whistle on the single "One" by Greg Pearle in 2008, from the album Beautiful You a collaboration between Greg Pearle and John Illsley. This song "One" featured in the 2008 film Anton, directed by Graham Cantwell.

Brady's fifteenth studio album 'Hooba Dooba' was released in March 2010.[7] Widely acclaimed as one of his finest (see reviews on his website) he continues to tour, record and collaborate in a variety of creative projects around the globe.

Awards[edit]

In 2009 Brady received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Ulster in recognition of his services to traditional Irish music and songwriting.[8][9]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Solo
With Andy Irvine
  • Andy Irvine and Paul Brady (1976)
With Tommy Peoples
  • The High Part of the Road (1975)
With Matt Molloy and Tommy Peoples
  • Molloy, Brady, Peoples (1977)
With Andy McGann and Paddy Reynolds
  • Fiddle Duet (1976)
With Andy McGann
  • It's A Hard Road to Travel (1977)
With John Kavanagh
  • The Green Crow Caws (1980)
Compilation albums

DVDs[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Psychology Press. 2002 "Brady, Paul" in International who's who in popular music. p. 58
  2. ^ June Skinner Sawyers. 2001. Celtic music: a complete guide. Da Capo Press. p. 266-67.
  3. ^ Barry Egan (December 23, 2007). "'I'm another thing on stage'". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "irishrock.org". 
  5. ^ Kenny Mathieson. 2001. Celtic music. Hal Leonard Corporation. p.14
  6. ^ Arminta Wallace (March 20, 2010). "'I've never been fashionable'". The Irish Times. Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  7. ^ Kevin Mcguire (March 18, 2010). "Paul Brady’s crazy dreams and the luck of the draw". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Honour for musician Paul Brady University of Ulster
  9. ^ University of Ulster Graduation Ceremonies Summer 2009

External links[edit]