Traditional Irish Music
The Lower Road is the much anticipated solo release by a musician that has generally remained in the shadows of the many bands and projects that he has been involved with over the years. Paul Meehan was born in Manchester where contemporaries like Mike McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly & John Joe Kelly provided the early inspiration. He returned to Armagh in his early teens where he continued his love affair with music. A vibrant music scene existed at home with early influence coming from the likes of Arty McGlynn, Cathal Hayden, Stockton's Wing & Mairtín O'Connor. This set Paul on his own journey as a professional touring musician.
Over the years he has recorded and toured with a number of high profile bands including North Cregg, The Karan Casey Band, Na Dorsa & Buille. He also recorded two albums and toured for seven years with Lúnasa. The Lower Road takes him back to the studio to record this debut solo recording. His versatility on guitar, banjo, bass, and mandolin contributes significantly to the record and he is joined by Martin Leahy, Martin Meehan, and Sheila Smith.
On the issue of waiting until now to undertake a solo project Paul said he had recorded a few tracks in the past but was never really happy enough to release them. “It kind of put me off the idea of a solo album for a while if I’m honest. I was happy enough to perform and record as an accompanist with whoever I was collaborating with at the time.” In 2014 he started compiling a few rough sets at home on ‘Garageband’ and this provided the motivation to move him towards the idea of a solo release. “I approached it a lot more casually this time, without beating myself up to much, and found I enjoyed the whole process so much more. I think that reflects in my playing on the album.”
For our readers we include an exclusive track from the album. It’s the closing track called Sheila on the Segway and is a self composition. He says “ I wrote this tune after a long debate about the quickest way from my front door to ordering a pint at the bar”
The original plan was to record a duet album with Paul Finn of Téada but due to time commitments Paul Finn couldn’t free himself and so with the studio booked the decision was made to progress with this solo album. The duet album will follow on at some point he says. “I spent a week with Martin Leahy, who recorded the album, and found that between us we could do most of the parts ourselves. It gave us plenty of scope to try out different ideas and the ones we liked stayed in.”
We asked what he learned throughout this process or since his youth about traditional music or the recording process.”I don’t feel like I need to spend time looking at what others are doing, like it’s some sort of competition. If you set your own trajectory then your sorted. I don’t compare anymore, I just do my own thing.”
The result is a sparkling album that is predominantly traditional with some contemporary and modern hues colouring it throughout.
The album is now on release and can be purchased on iTunes. Click on the logo below.
For radio broadcasters the album is free to download from our Download Centre on Tradconnect. Just click on the icon below.
Paul Meehan - Banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin
Martin Leahy - Bodhrán, drums, percussion
Sheila Smith - Button accordion
Martin Meehan - Flute
Recorded : Martin Leahy
Produced : Paul Meehan and Martin Leahy
Mastered : Richard Dowling at Wav Mastering Limerick
Photography : Réamonn Ó Ciaráin and Kevin McDonnell
Graphic Design : Murrough O’ Kane
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