Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thom Moore at the Island Music Club Clare

We enjoyed a lovely gig in Tulla  tonight where a trio combining a good blend of youth and experience entertained a gathering in the backroom in Minogues pub . 

Elder statesman of contemporary Irish Singer songwriting Thom Moore  ( not to be confused with  the other prodigious Thomas Moore, 18th century songwriter of many classic Irish songs)* was joined by young Australian singer Aminah Hughs and multi instrumentalist Shamie O Dowd . The group threaded their way through a range of  tuneful material , mostly original  taking turns to introduce and lead a number and offering sympathetic support to each other's selections.   The mix was eclectic opening with a Robbie Burns song and finishing with A Rory Gallagher number As the Crow Flies which had the mature bespectacled , bearded brigade if not exactly rocking in the aisles at least humming along  mouthing the lyrics  and smiling to one another  at the shared reminiscence .

 Songs by  Thom Moore were recorded by many chart topping Irish and International artists and got many plays on popular radio programmes like the Ronan Collins show.  Carolinaruadh , Cavan Girl , The Scholar,  Gorgeous and Bright perhaps the most familiar of his songs.  At the height of his success, he  returned to states and to academic work as an English professor  in the States  and  intriguingly as a translator for the US Govt  in Russia before returning to Sligo and  to the Irish Music Scene.    Moore is the second academic hailing from California to entertain in Clare this year that I am aware of  and something about the pace of the  unhurried  drole delivery reminded me of David Chase ( see review of the year blog post )

Three  is a magic number  . A solo performer can cut a lonely figure  and  a duo relies  very much on finding that resonance with an audience. With a trio , there is a sense that the ensemble relies less on the audience and draws some of its energy from the resonance within the ensemble itself and  as we were the 4th type of audience, the subdued type that likes the performers , the trio needed to source that energy from within its ranks.  There was much variety in timbres  and playing styles within the ensemble with Shamie O Dowd proving his versatility on harmonica and with good firmly accented bowing on fiddle .  There were some problems in setlling the pitch in the numbers using close harmonies but the songs were nicely varied and looking at his back catalog his influence on the contemporary songwriting scene is striking. 

The venue is a surprisingly spacious room at the rear  of Minogues, Tulla but regrettably the size of the audience did not require all of it.  Given the stature and skill  of the performers and the excellent  publicity in the local press and information website, I couldn't but be surprised that this trio did not attract a capacity attendance  in an area of the county that boasts a strong  live musical tradition.  One couldn't fall back on the weather as it was a gorgeous evening for a drive .  Was I missing some very exciting other event locally that had siphoned all the local gig goers? .Maybe there was something compelling on the Late Late .  Somehow  I doubt it . Again well done to Frank Hayes of the Island Music Club for bringing these excellent  performers to Clare and to a convivial venue.

** I note the 18th  Thomas Moore  lost an  'as'  and was referred to in a footnote piece to an article   on Declan O Rourke  as 'Thom Moore' in the Irish Times today - a subliminal  reference to the contemporary TM perhaps?.

1 comment:

  1. Maith an cailín. Ní raibh mise ábalta dul go dtí an gig seo mar bhí rud eile ar siúl agus bhí déistean orm dá bharr san. Is an-amhránaí agus cumadóir é Thom Moore ar fad. Is cuimhin liom é ó Pumpkinhead fadó agus iad ag seinnt i Luimneach ag seisiúin breá bríomhar.
    Nlg Ó Gliasáin