A night of tune­ful­ness at Wex­ford Arts Cen­tre

Wexford People - - NEWS - by Jackie Hay­den

THERE was more than a dash of magic to Liam Mer­ri­man’s gig at the Wex­ford Arts Cen­tre with his im­pres­sive bag of tune­ful tracks, mostly from his re­cent­lyre­leased sixth album Acous­tic Rivers. All were de­liv­ered with his as­sured melodic vo­cal style and backed by the tasty in­ter­play of his gui­tar with that of Bill Stuart. Stuart is a se­ri­ous new find, his dex­ter­ous fin­ger­play of­ten draw­ing mag­i­cal fills from his fret­board, while also adding his vo­cal har­monies in sup­port of Mer­ri­man for a match made in mu­si­cal heaven.

The im­pec­ca­ble opener ‘It Could Be So Good’ laid down a stan­dard for a set that in­cluded ‘Mizzy Mizzy’, a jaunty song about busk­ing, while there’s a clever cycli­cal logic to ‘Girl On A Train’. ‘Miss You’ has the ghost of Tir na nOg about it, and ‘The Bi­cy­cle Song’, com­plete with an out­burst of whistling from Mer­ri­man, has a cheery out­door feel. In­spired by his boy­hood hol­i­days in Kil­more Quay, the in­stru­men­tal ‘Sum­mer and The Boy’ neatly mar­ries two trad tunes, and their in­stru­men­tal take on Jimmy MacCarthy’s ‘Bright Blue Rose’ lets new light into a fa­mil­iar work.

The duo then gave the stage to Jody McS­trav­ick who was vis­it­ing Ire­land from his domi­cile in France, and he brought with him a mix of orig­i­nal songs and cov­ers and one in French (which he might ac­tu­ally have given us more of ). His cov­ers in­cluded fine in­ter­pre­ta­tions of ‘Won­der­ful Baby’ by Don McLean, Shay Healy’s ‘Just An­other Year’ and the Louis Arm­strong hit ‘Won­der­ful World’. McS­trav­ick has a warm voice which he also ap­plied to some of his own songs, many of which are in­spired by real life. ‘Talk­ing’ is about just that, and his ‘Paris Blue’ is a classy evo­ca­tion of that city and a per­fect fit for his force­ful but flex­i­ble voice. ‘True Love’ was in­spired by an old movie, and he added tasty gui­tar fills to ‘Lon­don’ too.

As an encore, all three joined forces for a re­laxed sing-song that the Wex­ford Arts Cen­tre au­di­ence lapped up, rang­ing from David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ to ‘Paul Si­mon’s ‘Song For Amer­ica’. It was a suit­able way to end a night that had tune­ful­ness all over it.

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