Johnny McEvoy,
Into the Cauldron
(independent, 2017)

Johnny McEvoy has to be one of the most underrated yet prolific of Ireland's singers and songwriters. He has entertained us for more than half a century, but because he never sported a trademark sweater, exalted nationalist "come-all-ye" ballads or courted controversy, he is all too easily neglected.

A McEvoy live show is a most enjoyable and relaxing experience, as his laid-back personality seems to make the act of entertaining us seem so easy. This recent CD extends that feeling. Over 15 tracks he brings the listener lovely tales, beautiful melodies and a top-class performance. As usual he brings a mix of the old and new, with self-penned tracks among his renditions of other writers' works.

"Cold Prison Cell" is one of his own works and as ever it is a beautiful story-song worthy of the modern troubadour. His "Every Night I Dream of Being a Cowboy" will resonate with anyone who lived through the glory days of the western or cowboy film. "Lincoln's Army" is another McEvoy opus and is redolent of the lives of young Irish emigrants to America and their involvement in the Civil War.

Among the classics on the album is "Three Score & Ten," recounting a fishing tragedy off the English coast. He returns to some of his early days of a showband and country music era with "Run Around Angel."

This CD is a welcome addition to an already vast body of work by Johnny McEvoy and will delight existing fans. But it would also provide a great introduction to one of the great unsung heroes of folk and ballad music.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

20 January 2018

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