Live Review : Dan Gurney & Dylan Foley / St. David's Church Dublin, 30th April 2016

It seems fitting that a centuries old church on the back roads of North County Dublin should be brought to life on a Saturday night with music which is nearly as old. The Church is St. David’s in Kilsallaghan and the backdrop to the stage was a stained glass window donated 99 years ago this April by the family of a churchwarden who cared for the Church for 50 years prior to that. Add in an outstanding repertoire of music that was also inspired by a priest, namely Fr. Charlie Cohen, originally from Galway, and you have a strong theme for a beautiful April evening. Fr Charlie moved to the US where he became an inspirational part of the music scene in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.  He taught a young Dan Gurney and Dylan Foley and in many ways their music tonight was dedicated to him and another teacher by the name of Mike McHale.

St. Davids is a small church and could at full capacity hold maybe 70 people. This intimacy brought musicians, music and audience into a rather interesting place, both musically and spiritually. With almost perfect acoustics that allowed the musicians to play without amplification, everything just came together. Musically we have written about Dan and Senior All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Dylan quite a bit. They have been playing together since they were 6 or 7 and it shows.

Their music is tightly woven into a single melody that is nothing short of inspiring. A lot of the material came from their 2015 duet album Irish Music from the Hudson Valley. For those that have not heard it yet check it out on Bandcamp where as of this morning, you can buy for a price of your choosing. It was one of the best albums of 2015 and came very close to winning Tradconnect’s album of the year. The album was effectively a live recording and the music tonight was every bit as good and in many ways better. Duet music predominated with some outstanding solo tunes as well. Dylan’s solo rendition of Crabs in the Skillet was simply outstanding and shows just why he is a senior champion.

The organisers of these events confirmed that they only run a couple of them each year. There would be a strong argument for Fingal Council to give some support and make this a more regular event.  There is something spiritually uplifting in travelling the backroads to a secluded church on a Saturday night where the music is this good.

The track below is taken from the above referenced duet album, which they opened the show with.

The album is now available on Bandcamp. 


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