Album Review - Garry O' Meara / Pickin' Time

Pickin' Time is Garry O' Meara's debut recording and is a banjo album with varying influences.  On it he introduces us to the music that has inspired him over the last decade or so, and it is a mixture of Irish, old-time and bluegrass music.  Garry would be best known for his work with Celtic Legends, Ragús and other stage shows and lately as a member of the Brock McGuire Band. In addition to this he has toured and recorded with some of the biggest names in the industry.  The opening tunes on the album are called Box Room Fantasy and Pickin' Time and are definitely in the old-time, bluegrass mould with shades of Mike Marshall and Chris Thile within them. It's a powerhouse of an opening to the album showing exactly the majesty of his banjo playing.  These two tracks are self compositions and he gives them a full band approach with bass and drums included.  The combination of Garry's hectic fretboard work with the fiddle playing of Fergal Scahill gives the tracks a pulsating energy. Fergal's recent work with We Banjo 3 makes him quite at home with these old-time and bluegrass inspired tunes. On more familiar ground he leads us into a couple of traditional sets that include the jigs Jerry's Beaver Hat/ The Idle Road as well as a set of reels called Tommy Peoples'/Speed The Plough/The Salamanca. Fast paced with his trademark energy levels to the fore, they get a great reworking. 

Of the 12 tracks, 5 are self compositions which are snapshots in time of Garry's musical world and are all different.  From the faster opening numbers mentioned above to a beautiful slow number called Princess Brenda, exquisite indeed. Conal Early on guitar, James Blennerhassett on bass, Brian Garvin on Bodhrán and Séamus Brett on piano and keyboards make up the rest of the accompanying musicians. The only vocal comes from Frankie Lane with a great rendition of Good Ol' Mountain Dew. From the midlands and better known for his work with the Fleadh Cowboys some years ago he would fit right in at the Grand Ole Opry.  Pickin' Time is a great album for its range of influences and the way that Garry has brought together his traditional roots with the American banjo tradition.   Add in some really good self compositions and you have a great mix. If you like banjo in all its manifestations including traditional Irish,  old-time and bluegrass you will definitely like this. 
Listen and Buy :


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Comment by Maurice McGrath on April 28, 2013 at 10:47

Just ordered the album... Box Room Fantasy is a terrific self-composed tune...

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