Martin Hayes – Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes – Martin Hayes

5
Monday, 1 June 1992, 12.00pm

Debut solo album from Martin Hayes released  in 1992 on Green Linnet.

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Toner Quinn 1
5

The track or piece of music I enjoyed most: 

The Whistler of Rosslea

Why I gave the above rating: 

Fiddle-player Martin Hayes’ debut album from 1992 has generally been overshadowed by his later work with Dennis Cahill, the Gloaming and the Martin Hayes Quartet, but this recording is arguably his most counter-cultural and radical in its musical approach.

The repertoire on this Green Linnet debut, on which Hayes is accompanied by Randal Bays, is made up of tunes from his local area in East Clare and standard traditional tunes, all performed with a light touch and at a slow pace – incredibly slow sometimes, as with the polka 'The Britches' – but the music is performed in a way that is deceptively simple. Each tune is in fact layered with variations, the renditions deepening and expanding into new directions each time around. The opening reel, ‘The Morning Star’, is a good example. Transposed down a key, which immediately creates an unorthodox sound, Hayes regularly pauses and leans into the opening notes of a part before following them with subtle runs of invention. Subsequent tunes such as ‘The Whistler of Rosslea’ and ‘Connor Dunn’s’ further exemplify this approach.

At the time of its release, an album of slow, pared-down fiddle music was rare, and his counter-cultural approach divided listeners, but it stands today as a recording of extremely original, expressive fiddle-playing, and one that is well worth getting to know.

Who readers should listen to next: 

Tommy Potts, Tommy Peoples
Jul 8, 2020
 

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