Every so often you get asked if you would consider reviewing some music that doesn’t fully appear to be what you know. This was the story with Barry Jay Hughes who is a folk / rock artist living in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. This is his second studio release with his first EP being “This Way Up” .
His music has been played on many radio stations in Ireland and around the world and he have toured Ireland extensively in the last 3 years as well as gigging in Poland and Sweden and hopefully will come over to the UK later this year. He has been nominated for the Pure M Irish Music Awards ‘Best Male’ on August 24th 2017.
The EP is mainly autobiographical, with the songs written about his thoughts, experiences, travel, touring and basically the hard slog that goes into being an independent solo unsigned artist these days.
The EP opens with Ballad of A Troubadour which has an indie feel, bringing interest from then guitars and keys. This is a fast paced track, evoking in my mind pleasure and pain of a life on the road. This is a tune that leads you in, delivering more at each turn.
Barry uses his soulful voice to maximum effect on Crying Shame which has a haunting feel, but with really interesting tone, backed up by the acoustic guitar and the use of the guitar body to add further rhythm. The track builds both in pace but additional layers are added as we are lead into the spinning crescendo of a chorus.
Full Circle, which is to be the next music video unveiled on 3rd August at 7 pm https://youtu.be/zYQDe9RyTqs, has a sparkly, new morning feel which is helped by the breathy quality of the vocals. This reminded me of Simon and Garfunkel in its texture and is extremely beautiful to listen to. It is a track that tells a story of waking up to a different fate and just having to get on with it. The use of strings helps with the evocation of emotion, which this track has in bucket loads.
Medieval City was written about Kilkenny, Ireland and helps to route you firmly in olden days with the atmospheric quality of the start of the track, which then morphs into an indie feel. It brought to mind Deacon Blue, telling a story underpinned with the keys and guitar. There is a real richness in both the vocals and the playing of the instruments. I thought this was a great track and it has been played over and over.
Being the first single from the EP One Petal Down manages to pull together a lot of the themes that have been running through the EP. There is a dreamy quality to this track, ably assisted with the acoustic guitar and Barry’s vocals. It feels almost sorrowful but the intensity of the vocals lift the tension and emotion that this track conveys.
The whole EP has a lovely feel, the richness of the vocals and the instrumentation reminded me of the days when I used to listen to more folky music with my parents, everyone singing and dancing along, putting all that is wrong in the world right, even if it is just for the precious moments that the music is playing. This EP will bring a smile to your face and a tap to your foot.
The physical copy of the EP contains an acoustic version of Medieval City and also also an acoustic cover of a Michael Jackson song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2eoxh_kFgM which are both belters and really worthy of a listen, plus Barry seems like a really lovely person so it would be great to support him.
All of Barry’s music is available for download from iTunes/Goggle Play and you can find links below.