Eddie Sheehan – Sharing A Song
Slide Records – 2017
Eddie Sheehan is a convincing, resonant ballad singer and unwaveringly rhythmic guitar player from County Tipperary, now in Edinburgh, who has just made his third solo album in just over 20 years. On Sharing a Song, Eddie is helped by, amongst others, Dirk Powell and Mike McGoldrick who Eddie was a bandmate within the mighty ‘Celtic Rockers’ Toss The Feathers from Manchester in the late ’80s, early ’90s.
This heartfelt album finds Eddie in a good place but suggests that he hasn’t always been there. It Took A While, the opener, frames much of what follows and piques your interest. You hear about a man who has been on a journey – ‘it took some time to find my stride’ and that the journey has at times been difficult – ‘no-ones perfect I hear you say’ – but that he has both arrived at a place he feels contented with – ‘Now look at me, new as can be’ – and in the process come to a much deeper appreciation of what really matters to him. There are allusions to changes in friendships that had to be made along the way – ‘I made some changes, they had to be’ – and hints at why new love is better than old love – ‘One who gives and doesn’t judge’.
Eddie has been writing songs since his days in Toss The Feathers but Sharing a Song is his first entirely self-composed Irish folk album and the things that matter to him shine through. Whilst ‘it took a while’, Eddie celebrates the special love he has found on Calming Influence, appropriately one of the slower paced tracks, with Dirk Powell’s rolling banjo perfectly catching the mood of the lyrics. Being a musician and songwriter is for Eddie at the centre of who he is, at the same time recognising the provenance of the music. In The Gift he tells us: ‘I cherish this gift, it was handed on’. The ‘sharing a song’ of the album’s title is, on Rambling Song, as much about sharing with musical companions as about sharing with us the listeners: ‘There’s friendship in the melody’.
On Sharing A Song Eddie’s admirable songs are given a bunch of fitting and varied melodies. The accompanying musicians – with the ubiquitous Mike McGoldrick featuring on seven of the album’s ten tracks variously playing the whistle, percussion and uilleann pipes – surround and support the songs with a warmth that matches the humanity of Eddie’s words and they are, to a fault, unobtrusive, leaving Eddie’s singing and guitar playing as the thing that commands attention throughout.
‘It took a while and now I’ve found me’ Eddie’s sings and his new album is about that discovery and a new joy in the important things in life. If you like your folk songs to be real, personal and unpretentious but also to reflect the fallibility that goes with being human, give Eddie Sheehan’s Sharing a Song a try.
Sharing a Song is out now on Slide Records. Available via https://www.eddiesheehan.com/music
Eddie Sheehan is playing dates in November and December in Scotland, Rome and Oslo. Toss The Feathers annual reunion gig is on Saturday 23rd December at St Kentigern’s Irish Social Club, Fallowfield in Manchester.