Shirae’s Tiger’s Island

cover, Tiger's IslandThe first thing I thought about this album was “Hell, there’s nothing to dislike about it.” Shirae are Shireen Russel and Reidin O’Flynn, two young ladies who are belting singers, to say the least. Their music is strong Irish folk rock, tinged with a bit of country & western. When they duet in harmony they have that magical sound that usually only sisters can produce. So I wasn’t surprised to learn later from their website that they are actually mother and daughter – that’s why they sound so good together. They put me in mind of The Johnstons from back in the 70s crossed with The Hudson Swan Band and just a hint of the Coors. So if you are a fan of any of these, you will love Shirae.

The album is studio produced with no less than 22 guest musicians, too many to mention. However, the principal, and the core of the band are: Scott Apicelli on drums, Tom Pirozzi on bass, Eric Finn on acoustic and electric guitars, Brian Mangini on organ, and Dougie Johnson on harmonica. The album is well balanced and has a nice selection of songs, most of which are written by Reidin O’Flynn, with the exceptions of ‘Rivers’ by Bill Staines, traditional song ‘Siuil A Ruin’, sung half in Gaelic and half in English. There is also a poem by Donal O’Flynn called ‘Knock Fiarna’ narrated by Diarmuid O’Flynn, which makes a nice backdrop for the next song ‘The Silent People’.

All of Reidin’s songs are well crafted with easy listening tunes that are entertaining. The album opens with a nice lively ‘Granny’ about a grandmother who likes a tipple and was inspired by a visit to a pub in Ireland. ‘Age Song’ follows, a song with lyrics quite a few can identify with… These are followed by ‘River’ and have turned out to be amongst my favourites from the album.

My only tiny criticism is that, in places, some of the lyrics are a bit hard to catch. However, the musicians do a sterling job. The repertoire is well balanced throughout. It lifts you, carries you, and then stops you dead to make you think (the poem). Very cleverly one song leads you into, and complements, the next. The album is dedicated to the memory of Reidins’ dear departed brother Tiger, hence the album’s title.

There are 11 tracks on the album, and after a touch of river dance in the penultimate song ‘The Dancer in the Dance’, the album closes gently with the song ‘September’, written around the folk classic “Wild Mountain Thyme,” again dedicated to the memory of Tiger. The album leaves you wanting to hear more.

So there you have it. A nice album: good songs, good singing; you will want to play it over and over again. This is their first album, but I know it won’t be their last – that’s for sure!

(Shirae, 2004)

Peter Massey

Born in 1945, Peter Massey, Senior Writer, is now living in the city of Chester, England with his wife Sandra. Now medically retired he worked for 35 years in the shoe business. He has been a semi-professional musician and singer performing mainly traditional / contemporary folk songs for over 38 years as part of the duo (and sometimes trio) 'The Marrowbones'. His musical interest started at the age of 14 with Rock 'n' Roll and by the time his seventeenth birthday came along he was already playing rock 'n' roll and R&B in and around the local dance venues and clubs such as the Cavern in Liverpool. Thankfully he was saved from the evils of rock 'n' roll when he discovered real music and folk clubs. His collection of recordings houses over 3500 folk songs alone. Other interests and hobbies include Computers and Amateur Radio (he has a class A G4 call sign) His latest project is 'The Little Room Studio' dedicated to making 'live' recordings of folk artists and producing their work on to CD using a portable digital recording studio. To date he has written and composed over 12 folk songs and co-wrote with Gordon Morris another 10 that have been recorded on CD. The song writing has continued and they have another 10 songs in the pipeline not yet recorded to CD. Favourite music / bands at the moment are Steeleye Span, The Battlefield Band, Little Johnny England and Fairport Convention, (in that order), and much admires the work of Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Roy Bailey, Vin Garbutt, and Bob Fox, to name but a few! You can visit the crummy Web site here and read about The Marrowbones and how to get your free songbook.

More Posts