A Review of the CDs
"Cry Of A Dreamer" & "The Orchard"
by Sean Tyrrell

"Cry Of A Dreamer" & "The Orchard"
by Sean Tyrrell

Copyright 1995 (Cry Of A Dreamer) HNCD 1391
Copyright 1998 (The Orchard) LM CD 002

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 6/00
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Setting poetry to music. Like most things, it can be done well or poorly. Sean Tyrrell displays citizenship in the initial category, being today's foremost celtic master of the art. Others, such as Loreena McKennitt with "The Lady Of Shalott," certainly have experienced notable success but Tyrrell's quality and quantity puts him at the forefront of this practice.

Tyrrell liberally sprinkles poetry-to-music throughout both his releases. His trilogy of John Boyle O'Reilly's "Message of Peace," "Cry Of The Dreamer" and "Only From Day To Day" on the "Cry Of A Dreamer" CD, deftly blends harangues against the hypocrisy and excesses of the rich and powerful with pleas to live for the honorable and simple fullness of the present.

"Message of Peace" depicts a despot, his coffers overflowing with stolen gold and his conscience unstricken despite countless atrocities committed in his name, "getting religion" and announcing peace should prevail . Doubting the scoundrel's sincerity, Tyrrell sings:

In the wistful "Cry Of The Dreamer," Tyrrell wearily sings:

Sermonizing that people's focus should be on what is real and truly important in "Only From Day to Day," he offers:

Tyrrell also provides rhythmic, toe-tapping versions of the short story-like "Mattie" and the happy-ending "Blue Green Bangle" on "Cry Of A Dreamer." The mournful, Uilleann pipes-backed "Isle of Inisfree" expresses the universal sentiment of so many immigrants:

Lamenting separation from a beloved in "Connie's Song," Tyrrell sings:

He continues in the sorrowful vein with "Fortune For The Finder:"

A quiet forcefulness drives John Frazier's patriotic poem "The 12th of July." Tyrrell, in the first verse, sings:

A plea for respectful unity, the setting aside of differences and the embrace of commonalities, "Rising Of The Moon," opens the selections on "The Orchard." Tyrrell sings:

The deliberately-paced title cut, "The Orchard" sweetly recalls highlights of the protagonist's life, moments from ages nine, thirteen, nineteen, twenty-one, forty-five and ninety-one. He marries at twenty-one, displaying Irish tongue-in-cheek humor by saying of the celebration "and when the day was over there was a drunk for every tree." The connection to the land, in particular the orchard that is a constant in his life, is prominent with the last two lines of the cut:

"The Lights Of Little Christmas" is a delightful tune about reconciliation. Tyrrell sings:

"One Eye Open" is an eerie, powerfully-written tune about struggle. Tyrrell opens with:

The chorus goes:

Tyrrell follows with an exquisite version of W.B. Yeats' poem "Song Of The Wandering Aengus." The next cut, the perfectly-placed instrumental "Roisin Came With The Wren Boys," gently allows time to savor Yeats' magic.

The angry "Game Over" changes the mood. Written to lambaste the shortsightedness and inanity of despoiling the earth and driving species to extinction, Tyrrell combines Phil Gaston's lyrics with his own tune:

The late Michael Hartnett's poem, "The Ghost of Billy Mulvihill," is given a great rendition. Tyrrell, using bodhran, saxophone and electric guitar to spooky effect, sings:

Tyrrell's solid, commanding vocals play well with his chosen material. He also demonstrates a keen sense for selecting instrumental backing that charmingly enhances the overall effect of his offerings. What is readily apparent from these two releases is that this is a man of strong convictions and passions, a man who has raised a glass or two in company with both angels and demons during his life. Luckily, for us, he's sharing all this.

Track List:

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