Brendan Devereux,
Songs from a Yellow Chair
(Sitric, 2005)

Songs from a Yellow Chair is a lovely album with a baker's dozen of tracks from the pen of Brendan Devereux. I have very little information on the writer/performer other than that he apparently plays or played regularly in Hughes' Bar in Dublin; the record label indicates a Dublin connection, too, but the surname could indicate Wexford, especially if the pronunciation ends with "x" rather than "o."

The tracks on offer here show a wide range of interests, influences and abilities. He opens with "The Western Wind," a song with a very strong Americana flavour. It is a strong opener and will grab your attention. He then downshifts into a folk style on "Dromin." The song is his own composition, but its phrasing and lyrics give it a wonderfully traditional feel. I particularly love the fiddle accompaniment that adds greatly to the experience.

I am reminded of Mick Hanley on the track, "My Lovely Lover." I mean that in the best possible way. The words trip lightly but meaningfully through this track. I was intrigued by the title "Bohemian Cowboy" and rewarded by a lovely song that seems to effortlessly combine folk and country. This is one of my favourite songs here. "Johnny May" is another trip into the tradition with a very atmospheric tale well delivered.

What is truth and what is fiction is the intrigue on "Grafton Street Gypsy"? Is this a true story of love and music or a wonderful fairy tale? Who cares? It works very well as a story-song. He follows it with another beautiful song, "Rose of Rojales." Brendan reveals a little more of locale on "Shankill Lullaby." The delivery, writing and backing are just perfect on this offering.

To be a true Irish performer he has to give us a lovely and sad one. He accomplishes this with the haunting "Say Goodbye to Annie." The album closes with "The Singer," an anthem for the singers who bring us the joy of music.

This is a new name to me but I hope to catch up on more of his output in years to come. Once again, he probably suffers from the lack of airplay -- a few of these tracks have potential for fame. I notice that the fiddle playing is by Fionnula Devereux. Whether it is wife, sister or non-relative, hold on to her, Brendan. This player beautifully complements your writing, singing and performing.

by Nicky Rossiter
29 April 2006

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