Although never scaling Bonoesque heights of superstardom, Irish folk rocker Paul Brady has amassed enough fans and admirers to fill a venue in his adopted home town of Dublin for a record-breaking 23 nights. He was born today in 1947.
Singer-songwriter Paul Brady was born in Strabane, Northern Ireland. Learning piano in an attempt to emulate musical idols including Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis, Paul Brady then graduated to the guitar.
Moving to Dublin to study in the mid 1960s saw him handle vocal duties for a variety of local covers bands, including The Inmates, The Kult and Rootzgroop and Rockhouse.. Diverted away from R&B material by an awakening interest in folk music, Brady joined traditional Irish harmony singers The Johnstons in 1967.
Contributing to their self-titled debut record the following year, Paul and a slimmed down band relocated to London in 1969, releasing two albums simultaneously “The Barleycorn” (traditional tunes) and “Give A Damn” (contemporary covers).
After spending some time in New York, Paul exited from the Johnstons and returned to Dublin in 1974. Recruited by Irish folk band Planxty to replace the departing Christy Moore, his stay was brief and the band dissolved in December 1975.
Teaming up thereafter with fellow ex-Planxty member Andy Irvine, the duo were together for three years and recorded one album. Beady meanwhile recorded a series of traditional records with fiddlers including John Vesey, Tommy Peoples and flautist Matt Molloy.
Since 1978 Brady has performed as a solo artist, initially covering similar ground to that of the Johnstons and Planxty with versions of traditional Celtic repertoire on “Welcome Here Kind Stranger.” 1981′s follow-up “Hard Station” however marked a move away from folk to rock-oriented original material, and from mostly acoustic instrumentation to predominantly electric.
Subsequent releases have earned him a reputation as a fine live performer and noted songwriter, earning the status as “go to” collaborator by the 1990s and penning material with the likes of John Prine, Beth Nielsen-Chapman and Brian Kennedy.
2001 saw Paul form his own record label, PeeBee Music and earn good reviews for his fifteenth solo release, 2010′s “Hooba Dooba” recorded in his own Dublin studio with various guest performers including Sarah Siskind of Bon Iver and his own son, Colm. And that was followed by “Dancer In The Fire” two years later – a career retrospective double CD selected by the man himself.
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And here’s some footage of PB in action: