Gerry Creen has been a stalwart of the Belfast folk scene long before his first album 'A Rose By Any Other Name' graced the Irish airwaves in 1985. Yet over 30 years later his voice and songwriting has not diminished but like a good barrel of a certain Antrim whiskey his music has enhanced with age.
His latest release 'My Shoes' is a lesson to all young singer/songwriters in how to construct a great folk song. Recorded in Belfast under the guiding hands of Rod McVey, Gerry has put together a fabulous collection of songs with a host of top musicians adding substance to recording that picks melodies straight from the heart.
The album opens with the delightful 'Belfast Nashville Sister Cities 'a song that celebrates the strong musical connection between the two cities. "This Belfast kid he was a dreamer" echoes across the two worlds with it's simple yet effective guitar arrangement and fiddle enhancing his strong hopeful words.
'Rainbow Warrior' shows the other side of Gerry's lyrical compendium with a passionate plea and support for the environment. A song of sadness lifted by hope from the famous boat and it's crew encapsulated by the Arctic Sunrise Reel played by Gerry's niece Clare Diamond and fiddle aficionado John Fitzpatrick.
My favourite song is 'No Alibis' which is also featured on The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Compilation Volume 1. A beautifully crafted song inspired by a Bookstore in Belfast that specialises in crime fiction. This epitomises Gerry's guitar picking qualities which sometimes recordings fail to pick up.
Other songs that deserve a notable mention include the title track 'My Shoes' and 'The Fountain' the latter partly inspired by "The Beatnik Riots" in 1961. Both songs work well if you ever get a chance to listen to Gerry's wonderful live show with great choruses and scope for audience participation.
'Good Heart' inspired by his mother,"Killybegs Town inspired by a late night seisún in a local Donegal hostelry and 'Rainbow For Deirdre' a story of Irish mythology add grace to an already fabulous recording.
The lively 'Dangerous Man' rounds off one of the finest albums from a songwriter who deserves to be recognised as one of the greats of Irish Folk Music. This Belfast Boy may not need to dream for much longer, his shoes fit just nicely.
David Dee Moore
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