Eamon Friel,
The Waltz of the Years
(Thran, 2002)

Back in the old black vinyl days, this would have been called an EP. Today, it is a CD single with four excellent tracks.

I first hear Eamon Friel some years ago on a compilation CD and later secured a copy of his album Word of Spring, which was reviewed for Rambles in March 2002. This new offering is a prequel to an album due in early 2003 and it is a real appetite-whetter.

Friel has a lovely and simple delivery, which hides a wealth of production on his work. As with all the best offerings, the more basic it sounds the more has been put in. He writes his own material and has three new tracks here.

The title track, "The Waltz of the Years," is typical of his output. He takes an ordinary everyday occurrence and weaves a magical tune with words to match. Who has ever seen or imagined parents having an impromptu waltz in the kitchen? Such is the basis of this beautiful piece of nostalgia that sadly will probably not recur in the 21st century.

"Hard Town" has a grittier edge but is still a love song. There is a picture of litter, cans and plastic bags but also a promise to "take you away from this."

He returns to more pastoral romance with "Arrow and Heart." I expected a violent song from the title, but it really refers to that graffiti we all scrawled on wet beaches with a shell. Again, Friel combines heartfelt lyrics with a simple tune to capture the attentive listener.

The CD is rounded off with a track from the earlier album, "Such a Night of Stars." This again draws us into his vision of a romantic moonlit night as he so deftly paints his word pictures.

Friel is a great writer and singer who needs that break into the seemingly closed shop of radio play -- especially in Ireland -- where boy and girl bands and the worst of banal country lyrics that have been recorded by a million others seem to dominate.

I look forward to the CD in 2003 but strongly urge any music lover to get this short fix.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 18 January 2003

[ visit the artist's website ]