Billy O'Dwyer,
I'll See You Tonight in My Dreams
(independent, 2004)

This CD of 10 brand new songs from singer-songwriter Billy O'Dwyer is a minor treasure. His voice is mellow, the arrangements beautifully simple and the lyrics are excellent.

Billy is another one of those treasures of the music scene. He has a lot to offer but, like so many treasures, he is hidden, thanks in large part to the reluctance of radio stations to air new music unless the writer or performer is already a top name. I could nominate any one of these 10 tracks for airplay.

Billy has a distinctive voice that is well suited to the songs and sentiments on offer. I like the quirky way that he still uses the authentic Irish pronunciation or phrasing like "trun" for thrown. We need to maintain this realism.

The majority of the tracks have a sad storyline but are nevertheless superb songs.

In particular, "The Cry" struck me. My review method is to listen without looking at inserts the first time and on this track I thought it was an old song about the daughter getting married and the father missing her. I was mistaken. The song is a powerful encapsulation of the death of a child. It is well written, realistic and beautifully rendered. I was moved to contact the writer about why he wrote the song and he replied, "'The Cry' is a song about a friend of mine who took his life when he saw no way out. He came from a family of men who could do everything together, but could never speak of affairs of the heart together. It struck me that it was the first time I saw his dad cry because normally men don't cry and most songs are written about a mother and son's relationship, but the father's grief is what moved me. I also dedicate this song to my own brother, who died young as a result of a car accident, and the only time I ever saw my own father cry was at his funeral."

He shows his lighter side on "The Bumblebee" -- there's an unusual song title. It is a much brighter song reminding us "there's colours in the rainbow other than blue." On a more international plain he offers the lovely "Ballad of Alan Bannister," denouncing the death penalty. Hearing Bannister interviewed on a radio station and realizing that before it was aired he would be dead inspired this song.

This CD bears multiple close listenings. There is a spiritual feel to many of the songs. They give us pause for thought without being "preachy" and manage to touch our everyday lives as he reminds us "it's funny how your life has got so lonely." Think about it.

You may gather that I like this album. In fact it has hardly left the CD player since I got it.

The album may be difficult to obtain but it is worth taking the effort. It includes an insert with lyrics but I would have liked a little bit of background on the excellent compositions.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 19 March 2005

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