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Tony Reidy to launch new album in Westport

Going Out

NEW TUNESWestport singer-songwriter Tony Reidy.

Ciara Moynihan

Tony Reidy fans (and there are many) will be delighted to hear that the Westport musician and raconteur has a new album coming out. ‘Not a Bad Day Now’, Reidy’s seventh collection of songs, will be launched in Matt Molloy’s Yard Bar, Westport, on Thursday, December 6, at 8.30pm.
The local troubadour – who describes ‘Not a Bad Day Now’ as ‘a hand-knit jumper of songs made from wool gathered from barbed wire fences and dyed with west of Ireland accents’ – will be joined on the launch night by The Clew Bay Critters and friends.
Reidy started songwriting in the late ’80s, releasing two cassette recordings, ‘When Will You Ever Get Sense?’ and ‘Bertra Beach’, before the two CDs, ‘The Coldest Day in Winter’ and ‘A Rough Shot of Lipstick’.
The latter CD was named Mojo Magazine’s album of the month in May 2007, with reviewer Colin Irwin describing the material as “heartfelt story songs of quality which will never date, shrouded as they are in a compelling, oblique sense of history, mystery and menace that’s invariably offset by a keen ear for melody and chorus.”
Tony’s fifth album ‘Hayshed Days’ was released in 2010, while his sixth, ‘Round Tower Blues’, was released in 2015.
Reidy is strongly influenced by folk singers of the past who also sang and played their own instruments without a need for the bells and whistles of modern production techniques – timeless singers like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. Certainly the influences of musicians closer to home can also be detected, including Cork folk singer-songwriter Ger Wolfe, especially in new tracks like ‘The Average Man’.  
The joy that the Aughagower-born singer gets from lyrics, tunes and plying his trade is palpable. ‘It’s Good for Ya’, the infectious opening track on ‘Not a Bad Day Now’, reminds us of the liberating benefits of singing – and to feel the dividends ‘you don’t have to be Sinatra or even Joni Mitchell’, he says, just ‘sing around your own four walls and sing around your kitchen’.
Universal themes are explored in songs like ‘The Seagull’s Cry’ – an ode to the idea that  perhaps there isn’t anything more to life than living in the moment: ‘Maybe this is it, maybe this is all / Earthed for the moment in the seagull’s call’. Another song, ‘A Knight in Not So Shiny Armour’, reminds us of the futility of worry and trying to be the best, and the importance of accepting our less-than-perfect selves.
Other songs are more geographically connected, such as ‘Fair Day in Westport Town’, which evokes the frenetic atmosphere, the pressure and the posturing of fair day in a small town: ‘Men are shoutin’, cattle are frothin’/ Jumpin’, divin’, slippin’, slidin’, steam risin’, animals frightened / Every man has a stick in his hand, a Wavin pipe or an ash plant / You can lean on it as the day gets older / Walk around the town with it on your shoulder’.    
Reidy’s music has travelled far, carried on local and national airwaves, both here and overseas. As BBC Music Magazine wrote, he has ‘a keen compassionate eye for human frailty … His songs have a pungently poetic sense of place’.
Like his captivating live performances, Reidy’s latest CD has a sense of intimacy that brings his audiences on an emotional journey too – one that can move seamlessly from laughter to pensive poignancy, and back again in the twinkle of an eye.