Siobhán O'Brien,
Songs I Grew Up To
(independent, 2007)

It's a little startling, at first, to listen to a CD by an Irish singer/songwriter titled Songs I Grew Up To and hear so many songs by American artists being sung. But music is a global language and folk songs travel, especially during the years that Siobhán O'Brien was growing up. In her liner notes, O'Brien states that she was surrounded by music as a child, and these songs were among those she heard. She cites her father's record collection, which included Harry Belafonte, Frankie Laine, Morgana King, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, as a big influence.

Songs I Grew Up To is O'Brien's fifth recording and is composed entirely of covers. She is joined by numerous guest musicians, including Paddy Moloney, Brendan Bowyer (her uncle), Pete Cummins, Martin O'Malley and Paul Kelley. The CD was originally begun as a pet project for an aunt who asked O'Brien to record her favorite songs for her; the project grew in the recording.

Standout tracks include "All My Trials," a traditional tune in which a dying mother comforts her children. In "The Long Black Veil," a country ballad previously recorded by Johnny Cash, among others, a man accused of murder refuses to name his alibi, his best friend's wife, and is therefore executed as a killer. The CD's final track is "An ol' Sea Shanty," recorded when O'Brien was only 6 years old.

Songs I Grew Up To is a fascinating look at the tunes that helped form a musician, and not at all unpleasing to listen to.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Laurie Thayer

4 October 2008

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