Reviews

Hot Press - Paddy Casey: The Secret Life Of - Nov 7 2012

Fourth album and first independent release from Dubliner.

It’s been a long and largely successful journey for Paddy Casey since his 1998 debut Amen (So Be It) hit the shelves, launching him as one of the first of the new breed of homegrown singer-songwriters. He has long since shaken off those early David Gray comparisons to forge a career that has been steady and consistent. Only his fourth album in the decade-and-a-half that has passed since that auspicious debut, not much has changed in the Casey approach.

Never a man to shy away from a memorable melody, a lively rhythm and a hopeful lyric, The Secret Life Of is replete with such fare. That said, the low-key opening ballad ‘There Is Light’ is all sweeping, soaring strings, gently strummed guitar and Leonard Cohen-like vocals. The tempo is raised several notches on The Beatles-esque ‘Rise & Shine’, a tune which is sure to become both a live and radio favourite (and which to these ears recalls the Picture House hit, ‘Heavenly Day’.)

There may not be anything here as anthemic as, say, ‘Saints & Sinners’ but several songs come close, including the effervescent pop of ‘It’s Really Up To You’ and mid-tempo ballad ‘This Ain’t Love’. The instrumental backdrop varies nicely throughout, keeping things interesting, as on the bluesy Americana of ‘Love Harmonica’, which calls to mind Alabama 3, while a jug-band shuffle underpins the jaunty ‘That’s Just The Way It Goes’.

Elsewhere, the plaintive ‘Tell Her’ is more sombre, while a wash of ambient synths and electronic keyboards backdrops the ethereal ‘Lightening’. He concludes the way he began with an unadorned acoustic slow burner ‘Close Your Eyes’ rounding off a strong collection of songs. The Secret Life Of is a very good record.

Colm O'Hare

 

hip online - "Amen (So Be It)"  January 12 2008

24-year-old Paddy Casey has been playing gigs on the streets of his hometown Dublin since he picked up the guitar at 12. Casey’s debut album, Amen (So Be It) was recorded in just eight days. It went on to reach the Top 20 in the Irish album charts and earned Paddy a Best Album award at the Irish World Awards and nominations for Best Irish Songwriter and Best Male Singer at the prestigious Hot Press Awards. Paddy was voted Most Promising Act while Amen (So Be It) was voted Best Debut Album in the Hot Press year-end reader’s poll; he was also nominated in seven other categories.

Following the release of Amen (So Be It) in the UK & Ireland last year, Paddy toured extensively, supporting the likes of REM, AniDiFranco, Ian Brown and the Pretenders, in addition to his own headline gigs and playing Glastonbury.

Amen (So Be It) combines elements of not only folk, rhythm & blues, rock, jazz and gospel, but funk, electronics and even hip-hop (one of his goals is to open for Public Enemy). “When I first went in, it wasn’t even supposed to be an album,” says Paddy. “I was just sort of fantasizing about all the different kinds of music I liked, and playing around with my songs in different styles.” Asked about his early influences, he replies: “Anything that wasn’t in the charts, I suppose… Music you didn’t hear everyday. Records you picked up at flea markets.” On the album’s liner notes, he thanks, among others, Bob Marley, Otis Redding, Prince, John Martyn, Tracy Chapman, Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Randy Crawford, Parliament and Billie Holiday.

The wishful single, “Whatever Gets You True,” features a swirling roller-rink organ and a dizzying rush of imagery. “Everybody Wants” has a thick, sensuous layer of guitar chords that underlines the song’s seductive pull, while the relaxed jazz-like feel and shorthand title of “Would U Be” underlines Casey’s admiration of The Artist Formerly Known As…. “Downtown,” which boasts a sultry reggae beat, is like one of those “songs from the soundtrack of ‘Foxy Brown,’” according to Casey.

Much of Amen (So Be It) reflects the conflict between Paddy’s own spiritualism and humanist pragmatism, which comes across in his awe of the unconditional love between a child and parent in “Can’t Take That Away” and the anxiety about modern society expressed in “Fear,” a track the NME called “Paddy at his poignant best.” “Ancient Sorrow” uses scratching and drum machines to update its prayerful, plaintive look back, while songs like the acoustic ballad “Sweet Suburban Sky” and the impassioned closing track, “It’s Over Now, are universal in their linking of the personal to the political. Amen (So Be It) touches on the human in a way that transcends geographical, as well as musical borders. The atmospheric arrangements create a visual quality that turn the songs into cinematic narratives.

Amen (So Be It) is an engrossing debut from a performer who cut his teeth playing for people on the street. “The thing is, you never know what’s going to happen,” he says of busking. “You could have a brilliant night or a terrible night. People basically came and hung around, not because they paid, but because they were getting a thrill out of it. And I kinda got a thrill out of them getting a thrill.”

When asked about his goals for the album, Paddy Casey states tongue-in-cheek (maybe), “Basically, I want everyone in the world to hear this record, that’s why I made it.” Giving the matter further thought, he lightens up. “Actually, I want to get sued by my manager on ‘Judge Judy’ and appear on ‘The Simpsons.’”

 

Hot Press - Want It Can't Have It - June 28 2004

Paddy Casey
Want It Can't Have It
(Sony)
28 Jun 2004

Continuing with his rampage of world-domination, the fourth single from Casey’s multi-platinum selling album Living starts promisingly enough with a fairly meaty bassline and some of the heartwarmingly tender lyrics that Casey does so well. Until the chorus that is, the excruciating “You got it don’t want it I want it can’t have it” (times three). I don’t know if this is just an anomaly, or a catchy hook of evil genius proportions, but after a few listens I declared I hated it, couldn’t stand no more, had another listen and found it had grown on me. Bewildering.

Lisa Coen

 

Hot Press - Live At The Olympia - September 23 2004

"Selling out six nights in a venue this size is impressive by any standards and usually the preserve of the Christy Moores and Mary Blacks of the this world. For a relatively young Irish artist with just two albums under his belt, it’s downright unprecedented. But when it comes down to it, Casey’s appeal is not all that hard to understand – his songs are melodic, memorable and instantly hummable and the crowd – mainly well dressed 20-somethings (the majority of them female) – were clearly out for a good time.

There was an unexpected touch of Spinal Tap about the sci-fi intro of the show, which resembled something from an ELO concert in the 1970s. But instead of the expected mothership, the diminutive Casey strode out to a hero’s welcome, awkwardly strapping on his guitar and mumbling a quick “Howaya” as he strummed the opening chords to ‘Living’. Right from the start the multitudes sang along with abandon, reaching a frenzy on one of his recent tunes ‘Lucky One’. A string section was added for ‘Downtown’ while no less than a gospel choir arrived onstage for the triumphant finale of ‘Saints and Sinners’."

Colm O'Hare

 

Hot Press - Live In London - June 9 2004

"As he left the stage to rapturous applause and chants of ‘Paddy, Paddy’ it seemed somewhat odd that Paddy Casey would later reflect on this, his first London gig since the release of Living, as the worst of his current tour. Evidently a sensitive soul, a subdued Casey arrived at his end of tour party with a series of unremarkable errors playing upon his mind and hampering what should have been a night of celebration. Sound problems and broken strings frustrated the Dublin songwriter throughout, and while at times it felt like he had effectively left the building, he still did enough to win over what was a typically tough London crowd. Opening with ‘Sweet Suburban Sky’, Casey immediately provoked silence and caught an unusually attentive audience at their most vulnerable. ‘Livin’ followed and was amply aided by the presence of Jonathan Mulholland on flute. By ‘All In A Day’ though, the sound problems had begun and the audience’s initial burst of enthusiasm began to waver. ‘Whatever Gets You Through’ should have re-ignited things. However, problems with the sound persisted and it lacked the punch it delivers on record. The crowd were by now increasingly losing interest, and the slow burning ‘Anyone Yet To Come’ came at a time when the tempo needed to be upped. Casey duly complied, yet a feverish start to ‘Promised Land’ was scuppered by a broken string, a fate which also befell ‘Saints And Sinners.’ As a result Casey was finding it increasingly difficult to settle into the performance. Fate, or bad strings, had displaced his appetite and, despite his best efforts, he seemed to be going through the motions. A well executed version of Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’ rounded the night off sending the crowd into a frenzy and home with a smile. It mightn’t have been a vintage performance, but if Casey continues to elicit such a response, even on an off day, the UK may yet be for the taking."

Steve Cummins

 

Hot Press - Oxegen 2004 - June 30 2004

"Paddy Casey – Casey is perhaps the domestic success story of the year and rightly so, yet it’s hard to imagine that he would be sharing a stage with N*E*R*D and Massive Attack anywhere except in Ireland. More power to him.

Look out for: A mass singalong to ‘Saints & Sinners’

 

Hot Press - Saint Paddy - January 30 2004

"You can almost predict the set-list at a Paddy Casey gig before you walk through the doors – but that doesn’t make it any less special. Soulful ballads, booming guitar, sing-a-long choruses… the man, and his music, are just made for the stage.

The four years between the release of Amen (So Be It) and Living have been spent touring and playing all over the world. So if there’s one thing he knows how to do – it’s perform.

The curly-headed one and his group are so attuned by now they could probably play in their sleep. In fact that seems to be the case for the opening segment tonight. It’s an unusually low-key way to start a concert but tellingly Casey manages to keep his audience rapt while the gremlins are twiddled out of the system.

The opening bars of the new album’s title track is the signal for him to crank it up a couple of notches and suddenly the room is heaving. By the time he reaches the power-play crescendo of ‘Want It, Can’t Have It’, ‘Whatever Gets You True’ and ‘Saints & Sinners’ the audience have surrendered.

The encore is an even sweeter experience. ‘Sweet Suburban Sky’ still has the ability to send a thrill through a room and the on-stage presentation of the double platinum award for ‘Living’ only serves as added incentive for a frenzied version of ‘Fear’.

On an ordinary night that would already have been enough for any crowd to float home happy but rhythm band La Samba guest for a raucous ending – including a triumphant second helping of ‘Saints & Sinners’.

Because of the drawn out break between albums it’s easy to forget that Casey was ’ere before Rice, Kitt, Ritter et al. It’s nights like this that remind us."

Cian Murtagh

 

RTE.ie - 2003

"Sony - 2003 - 49 minutes

In the time it has taken Paddy Casey to follow up his debut, David Kitt released three albums, Damien Rice jumped from a dreary band to the Shortlist Music Prize and Josh Ritter got the run of venues all over the country. That ground is to be made up is an understatement.

'Living' will help plenty, even if it's easy to come away thinking it doesn't do Casey full justice. Holding him back is a production that's far too glossy for the roughness of his voice and at times makes him sound like he's gasping for air under a mixing desk. The likes of 'The Lucky One' and 'Saints & Sinner' highlight why less is more - they could still be anthems without keyboards and backing singers.

All these songs are strong enough to hold their own on any stage, but if intimacy is the lifeblood of Casey's craft, then some of it has been sucked out here. It would be foolish to make people wait four years while he gets it back."

Harry Guerin, 3/5

 

Hot Press - "This Is Your Life"  October 13 2003

"Released in 1999 Paddy Casey’s debut album went double-platinum, establishing him as one of Ireland’s brightest prospects. but the intervening four years have seen that crown slip, as a succession of home-grown singer songwriters battled their way into contention, outstripping him in terms of record sales – and hard graft. now Casey is back in the frame, with his long-waited follow-up, the cheekily titled Living – an album that sees him gloriously back on top of his game. why did it take four years to make? the answer to that burning question may go back even further. because Paddy Casey’s life story is truly a remarkable one."

Read the interview

 

campus.ie - October 2003

Irish Tour Sept - Oct '03

Paddy Casey returns with his much-anticipated second album, 'Living', on October 17th and celebrates with a brand new single and a full eleven-date Irish tour with full band.

The tour kicked off at the Spirit Store in Dundalk takes in Drogheda, Mallow, Waterford, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Sligo, Tipperary, Belfast, Dublin, climaxing with a show at The Village in Dublin on October 13th.

'Living' - is preceded by 'Saints & Sinners' - out now.

Its release marks a welcome return for the award winning singer-songwriter who has spent much of the last four years touring internationally and writing new material for the album.

Special Guests for the tour include Jamie Burke, Declan O'Rourke, Iain Archer, Eoin Coughlan, and Alphastates.

Tickets for the show at The Village in Dublin are €16.50 (inc. booking fee) and are on sale from Road, Soundcellar and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

 

Hot Press - December 10 2003

The Lucky One
(Sony)

Quick, quick – I need to make a cynical wisecrack about a whinging troubadour type before I explode! Ah, here’s Paddy Casey – that should do the trick. Yawnsome drive-time snoozefest which makes ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ sound like a cut from Bolt Thrower’s Realm Of Chaos. Not my cuppa meat, as you can see.

Paul Nolan

 

VH1 - Paddy Casey

Paddy Casey
Amen (So Be It)
2000 Sony/Columbia

Recorded at Sun Studios and The Works, Dublin, Ireland.

Casey is the latest in a long line of Irish singer/songwriters to make a mark on the international music scene. Busking on the streets of his hometown Dublin from an early age, Casey soon made a name for himself as a highly promising talent and graduated to supporting everyone from Blondie and Reef to Ani DiFranco on their UK tours. AMEN (SO BE IT) is Casey's debut album, and it doesn't disappoint.

There's no doubt that Casey is a gifted artist. His songs are well crafted, literate, and eclectic, and AMEN is an engrossing record that stands head and shoulders above most other releases. The intensity and poignancy of such songs as "Fear," a wilfully ragged performance that captures the considerable spirit of Casey's live sets, recalls Jeff Buckley. Could world domination be just around the corner for Casey?

CMJ (7/31/00, p.32) - "...Charming, intelligent songs and stylistic diversity...

 

Northern Ireland Music

PADDY CASEY
Plus IAIN ARCHER
Sunday 5 October
Empire Music Hall, Belfast
Tickets £9.00 from The Empire or by credit card on 028 90249276.

Paddy Casey returns with his much-anticipated second album, 'Living', on October 17th and celebrates with the announcement of a brand new single and a full twelve-date Irish tour with full band. The album is preceded by the brilliant new single, 'Saints & Sinners' - out Friday, October 3rd. Its release marks a welcome return for the award winning singer-songwriter who has spent much of the last four years touring internationally and writing new material for the album.

PADDY CASEY
"Living in this age, we're so full of rage.
You're trying to say I'm crazy.
Well, I just call it living in that age"

PADDY CASEY is one of those rare things. A musician who truly lives to play music. It fills his life, completes him as a person. It is an energy within him which exerts its own powerful force. That is beyond question. He released a debut album, 'Amen (So Be It)', in 1999 which caused a huge stir, became a bona-fide double-platinum hit in Ireland and introduced him to the world with a bang as a highly-talented singer-songwriter.

It's been a long wait for the follow-up, but it's worth the wait. Welcome to the new album, 'Living', and to a whole new world of Paddy Casey.

Even a cursory listen to 'Living' makes it patently clear that Paddy has moved on. Where 'Amen (So Be It)' (which he now describes as 'sophisticated demos') was comfortable in focussing on the bare, raw voice and songs of the man, 'Living' is determined to develop both into a far more sophisticated force with the help of string sections, horns, keyboards, and a full band line-up. And the song themselves see Paddy oozing positivity, and yearning after the dreams and aspirations, while drawing on the broadest palette of styles, bringing a feel to the album that will surprise and delight anyone who was merely expecting 'Amen' part 2.

"I think it's a lot more interesting dynamically, it's a much better album; more upbeat. I wanted to make an album that went more for the rhythm end of things using percussion and beats and with a few tracks that people could dance to."

The brass punctuated, string-stroked confidence of the title track straight away suggests a more mature approach, a new confidence. 'Saints and Sinners' steps up the pace and sees Paddy admitting that he's no angel, while 'Bend Down Low' offers affecting instrumentation with a poignant vocal performance and q quietly epic production. 'Promised Land' introduces funky toe-tapping pop, 'Miracles' pumps up the beats in full soul-funk club style, and 'Don't Need Anyone' adds an electronic edge to proceedings. 'Lucky One' meanwhile sees Paddy's voice perfectly complemented by Sinead Martin's beautiful vocal support.

Paddy echoes David Bowie in 'All In A Day' and plays the full-on rock card in 'Want It Can't Have It' complete with pounding drums, vibrato guitar solo and fist-shaking chorus. But one of the most remarkable moments ion the album is heralded by the bird twittering introduction to 'Anyone That's yet To Come' which grows into a haunting, heartfelt Dusty Springfield-esque number that emanates a feel from classic recordings thirty or forty years ago. "It's a little bit closer to where I want to go," he expounds. "There are a couple of thoughtful songs, a couple of love songs and then there are 'vibe' songs. I think it's more exciting."

It's certainly a far cry from Paddy's beginnings busking on the streets of Dublin in his pre-teens before Sony's S2 label signed him up in 1998. His debut album was released less than a year later (following an 8 day recording session) earning him nominations for Best Irish Songwriter and Best Male Singer at the prestigious Hot Press Awards. Hot Press readers themselves voted the album Best Debut Album, as well as voting Paddy himself the year's Most Promising Act and nominating him in seven other end of the year categories.

All of which led to a gruelling period of intensive touring ("I was full on touring for two years with the first album. That was new enough to me so it wasn't hard doing it. But the travelling?!") that saw him endlessly criss-cross the world through 1999 and 2000. Headline shows as well as supports with everyone from REM and Ani Di Franco, to Ian Brown and The Pretenders took him the full length and breadth of North America as well as right the way around Europe and Australia.

And throughout this whirlwind of international activity Paddy has constantly been writing and demoing, building tracks for his new album: "I've been recording for the last two years - I've recorded something like a hundred songs in demo form in my home studio. I wouldn't say they're all good! but it's all about making the next album. You always want to make a better album, to keep on moving."

Drawing on this massive library of songs ("Songs of it I did at home. I don't have any decent mixes so you can tell the ones I recorded," he laughs), and armed with the experience of co-producing his debut Paddy headed into Grouse Lodge studios in Westmeath with Fred de Faye ("this lunatic French guy") directing the recording. "We went in to do three tracks and then just carried on". Augmented by a full band including Declan O'Rourke on guitar, Tim McGrath on drums and Shane Fitzsimmons on bass, together with a horn section and a three-piece string section, Paddy was determined to record each song in a fashion that was appropriate to its needs: "I wanted it to sound good, I didn't care which way it happened. There's a trashy rock song on the album so, obviously, we did that as a live song" Outside of that he had no particular strict regime for the recording describing the album as "a lot of accidents. I don't really know what I'm doing when I start. If you start and it works you keep going otherwise you just stop and try again."

With fifteen songs fully recorded and mixed, Paddy sought out the services of John Kelly and Pat Dunne to remix some of the tracks; but then he wasn't prepared to settle back in idle satisfaction. Right up to the last amount of cutting the record he was still working on new songs, recording and mixing and presenting them for inclusion on the new record.

And now the album is finished, the songs can start to take on a life of their own as Paddy takes them out on the road and watches them change as audiences react to them. "They're babies still. They'll take on a different form when I start gigging them" he agrees.

In the meantime, Paddy Casey is back. There's a sparkle in his eyes that sits side by side with a gritty determination and a will to succeed, and to win. But more importantly, there is a knowledge that he is a musician through and through.

That's what "Living" is all about.

 

Q Magazine

"He sounds like the grandson of Van Morrison, the son of ex-Waterboy Mike Scott...how goosebumps sound when they explode..."

...other reviews...

"impassioned...how goose bumps sound when they explode" Q Magazine 24 year old Paddy Casey started out busking on the streets of Dublin. Picked up by Principle Management (U2, PJ Harvey, etc) Paddy was soon signed to Muff Winwood's S2 label in the UK. "Amen (So Be It)", Paddy's debut, has already earned him wide critical acclaim including Hot Press awards, a top 20 album in Ireland and the US support slot with the Pretenders. "Amen (So Be It)" represents songwriting at its best.]

 

"Paddy Casey makes the connection"

Paddy Casey
Amen (So Be It)
2000 Sony/Columbia

The first thing I saw when I took this CD from its case was a message from Paddy Casey: "Go 2 track 8 (Cos it's my favourite, at the moment) and turn it up loud, 'cos it sounds better-Paddy." I immediately felt like Casey was not only showing enthusiasm toward his music, but was making an effort to achieve a personal connection with his fans. He was already on my good side.

Casey's first track titled "Fear" begins to explore the many facets that make up his personal style. While he has stated influences from great blues and jazz artists like Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, he also includes other important musicians in his liner notes: rap group Public Enemy, the artist formerly known as Prince, and folk artist Tracy Chapman. Amazingly, you can hear most of these influences in his music.
"Fear" combines a folk-like melody and drum loop, along with scratching, to make an eclectic melting pot of conventional forms of music. The most impressive part of the song "Fear" is its socially conscious lyrics.

Casey carries a revolutionary echo in his words that is reminiscent of Bob Dylan, although he does lack the poetic prowess of Dylan. Casey sings about environmental issues, drug- related violence, rape, and disease. He finally drives his point home with the lines "Well I pray my child lives happy and long, I hope she never sings this song."

"Sweet Suburban Sky" is definitely one of the highlights of the album despite the fact that it has a completely different style than "Fear." The spotlight is on Casey and his acoustic guitar, making for a beautiful ballad with a folk feel. The lyrics still focus on social issues, specifically concentrating on the effects of our generation's carelessness with the environment. While much of Amen (So Be It) has the soft touch of "Sweet Suburban Sky," there are also more than a few tracks that give away Casey's affinity for blues. "Downtown" sounds like it could have easily been recorded by Billie Holiday or a fifties group like the Drifters. The song is easy to sing along to and has a lazy yet swinging feeling that becomes almost hypnotizing. "Downtown" would be an excellent song for the street musicians of New Orleans.

"Would U B" is another track on the album that has a jazzy undertone, and yet the keyboards and drum loop adds a more upbeat feeling than "Downtown" accomplishes. The lyrics on these blues influenced tracks move away from social revolution to more personal issues of friendship, relationships, and sorrow. Interestingly enough, Casey also includes a lot of references to the seasons and aspects of nature such as fire and rain. These topics work well with his instrumentation and general tone.

Paddy Casey is a young Irish artist who has a great talent for combining different styles of music. Even his lyrics are versatile; some are read like a conversation and some are more poetic. He has already played with musicians like Ani DiFranco, REM, and the Pretenders. In our superficial American music industry, I think it will be hard for him to achieve any recognition, but he has received numerous awards in Ireland including Best Album at the Irish World Awards. Maybe Ireland has hidden talent that we're simply missing out on.

Kara Soos

 

muse.ie - Paddy Casey

We've all heard the whispers. A wee little fella, cuter than a cartoon character, with a battered acoustic guitar and tunes of swoonsome heartache who is gearing himself up to take over your stereo and planet pop this summer. If you've already seen the Paddy Casey live experience, you'll know what to expect - quiet solo strumming from rock's funniest munchkin. So, when "Amen (So Be It)" (has there ever been a title that screamed 'serious singer/songwriter!' quite so much?) offers sombre big-band action, it does take a little getting used to. But only a little.

Dashing from the sleazy lounge-core charm of "Downtown" through the distorted country of "Winter's Fire" to "Rainwater's" acoustic warmth - no matter what style Paddy tackles, he delivers the pop goods with a guarantee that you'll still be humming it a week after the first listen. Although occasionally straying towards the traditional, socks 'n' sandals, singer-songwriter preoccupations with society's ills ("I'm scared my child won't live a long time/With your murder, your rape and your drug money crimes") when he does feel like delving into poetic matters of the heart, he could easily teach Steps a thing or two about real tragedy. Perhaps not quite the work of genius we may have expected, but, as a twenty-four year old's first stride into stardom, "Amen (So Be It)" is a bloody good start.

Cat Hughes

 

msn.com - "Whatever Gets You On The Radio"

Irish street busker turned recording artist Paddy Casey returns to his roots on this six-song promotional EP recorded for The Columbia Records Radio Hour on July 10, 2000. He accompanies himself on an acoustic guitar, strumming heavily as he might out on a street corner, but his songs unadorned come off as even slighter and less distinguishable than they do in the more produced versions on his album Amen (So Be It). With his wheezy tenor, which recalls Simply Red's Mick Hucknall, Casey worries about pollution, prays for the future of a child, and ruminates about the vicissitudes of love, but despite frequently repeated choruses his melodies are relatively undeveloped, and he uses his guitar more for rhythmic accompaniment than real musical support. Those who are already fans may be interested to hear stripped down versions of his songs, but the more produced versions on the commercial release are more accessible.

William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

 

hip online - "Amen (So Be It)"  January 12 1999

Paddy Casey has a voice that's a throwback to Don McLean with a lateral to Tracy Chapman. The first song, "Fear", is nice, but not entirely strong for the lead track. The one truly worth a mention is the bittersweet "Sweet Suburban Sky". "Downtown" comes right on it's heels with a triumphant spirit.

CC Morris

 

cdshakedown.com - "Amen (So Be It)"  2001

24-year-old Paddy Casey, a busker from the streets of Dublin, has soared to chart success in his native Ireland with Amen (So Be It). Will Paddy reach the same heights in the states with his moody, acoustic debut? Probably not.

Paddy Casey has spent a dozen years writing and performing and it shows in his songs, which have an earnest feel. There are elements of Amen (so be it) that I really like, especially the atmospheric opening track, "Fear." While you'll find elements of Mike Scott from the Waterboys, the more apt comparison is folk rocker Ron Sexsmith, who knocked around the hard streets of Canada for years before landing a major label record deal.

Paddy's success in Ireland has surprised even him. He explains that, "The album was just demos, basically, so there were only a couple of tracks recorded with an album in mind. There was no real plan. I just had little vibes in my head."

Those "little vibes" are apparent on tracks like "Would U" and "Everybody Wants." And while Paddy is a big star in Ireland, the songs have a decidedly down-beat feel. Says Paddy, "I was so nervous walking down the street with my face on all those posters. I haven't been in Dublin for awhile and every time I come back, people have heard me songs and seen me video and now there is posters."

Paddy also recognizes the sombre influences of Amen (so be it). Says the artist, "It's a mishmash of all the different stuff I like, with acoustic guitar, of course. Wait until you hear the band. I think people are gonna run a mile!"

The Irish troubadour has a sound that is entrancing to the Emerald Isle. Parts shine through (especially "Fear"), but overall, the album is too down.

Randy Krbechek

 

All Music Guide - Paddy Casey

Irish singer/songwriter Paddy Casey began busking on the streets of Dublin when he was 12. One of his street performances was heard by producer Muff Winwood, who signed him to S2 Records in the U.K. His debut album, Amen (So Be It), was recorded in just eight days and earned critical and chart success. It won a Best Album award from the Irish World Awards, Most Promising Act and Best Debut Album awards from Hot Press' year-end readers' poll, and reached the Top 20 of the Irish charts. Amen (So Be It) arrived in the U.S. in mid-2000 on Columbia.

Heather Phares, All Music Guide

This young Irish singer/songwriter's debut release, Amen (So Be It), is a stunning look at typical heartfelt songs about long lost love, despair, and national frustrations. Hailing from Dublin, Paddy Casey's thick Irish brogue is gorgeously embryonic in his 11 song set list of alternative rock songs and folk-rock tales. He is sultry in moving into all sorts of music, illustrating fine jazz vibes and brief electronic beats. Ragged album opener "Fear" harks with moody desire, and the quick pop feelings on "Whatever Gets You True" is refreshing in a sense that Casey sings about spiritual optimism -- emotion usually found in other Irish artists such as U2 and The Cranberries. His acoustic guitar is a strong guide as his work delves into traditional folklore and such cinematic work is lush and vibrant simplicity. Other key tracks on Amen (So Be It) are the tranquil "Sweet Suburban Sky," "Ancient Sorrow," and the magical presence of "Downtown." Paddy Casey introduces a musical intensity so surreal -- music hasn't seen such talent since the late Jeff Buckley.

MacKenzie Wilson, All Music Guide

 

NowToronto.com - "Amen (So Be It)"

Back in the old country, Dublin's Paddy Casey has been racking up rave notices for his strummy, sensitive songs and doesn't-he-write-beyond-his-24-years? lyrical perceptions. With a voice that's a first cousin to Waterboy Mike Scott, Casey is at once familiar and easy on the ears, but Amen (So Be It) really picks up steam when Casey mashes things up, juxtaposing folksy guitar with vinyl-scratching and wonky synth. One song, the restless, melancholic Sweet Suburban Sky, is an instant classic. Casey hosts Ted's Wrecking Yard Tuesday and Wednesday (July 4 and 5).

NOW JUN 29 - JUL 5, 2000

 

Iris Magazine - The Village, April 17 '03

The second act of the night was a great surprise for me. I’ve long been a fan of Paddy Casey’s music but had yet to see him live, so when he walked on stage accompanied with a band I was like a little girl who had been allowed to stay up past bedtime.

It was clear that Paddy was promoting his forthcoming album and brand new single, ‘Family Tree’ because although the material was new, there was something else very different about his music. His début album Amen…So Be It was a beautiful collection of personal ballads, but it wouldn’t have you jumping around in hysterics. The music he was making on that stage in the Village that night was funky and lively. It was shoulder swaying and hip-hopping music. The live sound really brought the best out in his music, especially when he played some of his classics like, ‘Whatever Gets You True’ and ‘Fear’. The three-guitar layer added a heaviness that you just can’t hear on the album.

Paddy’s rendition of the Blackstreet classic No Diggity, went down really well with the crowd, but that was the case with all of his set including the final and very fitting track ‘It’s all over now’. It was for the launch night, but it is only the beginning for this state of the art venue.

Tom Dunne said that he hoped in two years time we could look back on all the great performers and artists that will have graced the stage in the Village and still think of it as an amazing venue. Somehow I don’t think that will be a problem.

Bernie Commins

 

Paddy Casey - "Whatever Get You On The Radio"

As the Nineties saw many a female singer-songwriter become incredibly successful, the same cannot be said of the male counterpart. Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith, and Ben Harper are examples of successful male singer-songwriters of the Nineties, but at best they are extraordinary critical successes with large cult followings; nothing to match the sale figures of the Lilith machine. This means that the odds for mass success do not look good for Paddy Casey. Nowhere near the calibre of the above-mentioned artists, the Irish singer however shows the potential to reach that acclaim. Such songs as Sweet Suburban Sky and Fear are highlights of his poignant writing style, and can be found in their original form on his debut disc Amen (So Be It).

 

Illinois Entertainer - "Amen (So Be It)"

Two vastly different sides of Irish singer/songwriter Paddy Casey are exposed on his debut. There's Paddy Casey the quiet, romantic folkie in the vein of Van Morrison, Tracy Chapman, and others. And then there's Paddy Casey the soul brother, a man so completely obsessed with down-and-dirty funk he's written a smoldering little love song -- "Would U B" -- that not only cops Prince's trademark misspellings, but might as well be an outtake from Purple Rain.

The constant push-and-pull between genres and styles certainly creates an interesting dynamic on Amen (So Be It), but most of the album's more straightforward acoustic songs don't really generate much heat. Casey's finger-picking, clawhammer-style of guitar playing gives "Sweet Suburban Sky" a bit of depth, but his husky voice simply isn't enough to lift downtempo tracks like "Rainwater" and "Can't Take That Away" out of the singer/songwriter ghetto.

Casey is a much more interesting performer when he allows his ego to have free reign over his music, and its clear from the onset that he's much more interested in expanding the parameters of folk music than adhering to its unspoken guidelines. Casey does much better when he casts aside traditional musical cliches in favor of a beefier, more diverse sound. With a couple of drum loop and scratching-augmented tracks, he demonstrates how well folk can sound when it has been interspersed with elements of hip-hop and electronica.

Nick Green, 6/10

 

Philadelphia City Paper - Paddy Casey

The busker-to-major recording star myth is so cliché, if they haven’t made a movie about it, they ought to. You could even pencil Paddy Casey into the lead role. The 24-year-old Dubliner had been playing gigs in the streets of his hometown since he was but a wee lad. Shortly after he was discovered, he recorded his debut album, Amen (So Be It) (Columbia Records), which won all kinds of awards across the Atlantic. There’s a Dylan thing going on with Casey’s weary, trebly voice, spare acoustic guitar ruminations and subtle politics. But there’s also a little bit of white hip-hop and electronics — 21st century folk music if you will — mixed in for freshness’ sake. Now Paddy’s preparing to peddle Amen stateside with a three-day residency at in Philly. It could help determine whether his movie’s ending will be happy or sad.

Brian Howard

Mon., June 26, with Brian Seymour and Butch Ross; Tue., June 27, with Adam Brodsky and Jim Boggia; Wed., June 28, with Milwaukee and Goodbye Academy, The Pontiac, 304 South St., all shows $6, 215-925-4053.

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cluas.com - HQ, Dublin  April 24 2000

Paddy Casey has become something of a hometown hero for the music lover's of Dublin. Like fellow singer-songwriter and often cited influence, David Gray, Casey has built up a strong following who are attracted to his heartfelt style of music. On Easter Monday, HQ was literally bursting with fans who came to witness Casey's Dublin show, which came at the tail end of a nationwide tour.

King Sativa played support. These guys are one of Dublin's best unsigned bands and they are in top form. Singer Cheeko seems to enjoy playing off the crowd and though hampered by a not perfect sound, the band play a stormer. Their reggae style goes down well and even serves to inspire a couple of people onto the dance floor.

The intro music for Paddy Casey is slightly OTT, more suited to introducing a rock legend than the slight form of Casey, who saunters on-stage, looking ever so slightly overwhelmed. He quickly warms to his crowd though and proceeds to play an entrancing set. I only saw Casey play once before and on that occasion the performance was disappointing, lack-lustre and fraught with technical hitches. There is none of that tonight though. HQ suits Casey’s acoustic sound perfectly and the man himself is in good form.

All the best songs from his album ‘Amen, So Be It’ get an airing. Some of the rockier songs from the album, such as ‘Fear’ seem to lose something in the acoustic setting and probably would have benefited from a full backing band. The more delicate songs though, such as ‘Everybody Wants’ and ‘Sweet Suburban Sky’, sound even better than their recorded versions and are performed to a hushed audience which hangs on Casey’s every word. There are a couple of new songs played also, ranging from a tender tune named ‘Lucky Ones’ which works brilliantly, to a sample laden mishmash which does not.

Nearing the end of the gig, a brilliant rendition of ‘Would U Be’ funks things up. King Sativa join Casey on stage for the encore and the dancers are tempted off their feet once more to the sound of two Bob Marley covers. A great end to a great gig.

Niamh Grimes

 

Paddy Casey - "Amen (So Be It)"

The first thing to note about Paddy Casey is what a striking resemblance he has to Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith. It’s amazing: you’d swear they’re the one and same person. Then you listen to the music, and the feeling that they’re the same person fails to dissipate: not only are they strikingly similar in the face, but their music has a similarity too. It’s nice, non-effectual, folk-pop. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Perhaps the best, and certainly the most affecting, song on Amen (So Be It) is the simplest. “Sweet Suburban Sky” is beautiful, affecting folk music in the simplest form – simply a man, his guitar and his thoughts. It’s when Paddy Casey attempts to further augment the songs – whether it be successfully in a ‘normal’ frame of ‘rock’ with other guitars, bass and drums or in a ‘less normal’ way with keyboard snythesizers or even DJ scratchings and looped drum effects – that Amen (So Be It) suffers.

Like most modern ‘folk singers’ and even those considered to be part of the nu-country vein that are basically playing a form of folk music, it is fairly obvious that Paddy Casey’s material would work best on an intimate level, with just the singer and his guitar performing in front of a sizeable – but not too huge – crowd.

The other major highlights of Amen (So Be It) are also the simpler, less augmented tracks. The last three in particular are lovely. “Winter’s Song” is beautiful, with a wash of gentle violins perfectly suiting the simple style of the song, whilst “Rainwater” is back to the simple singer-songwriter feel of “Sweet Suburban Sky”, whilst “It’s Over Now” – somewhat appropriately the album closer – has a slightly less depressing nature than its immediate predecessor yet loses none of the impact, whilst incorporating other traditional instrumentation (guitars, bass and live drums as opposed to scratchings or looped drums).

The main thing that Paddy Casey has going against him is that he belongs to a genre of music that is ‘owned’ by a bunch of other artists. His voice is strong, yet it lacks the quiet awe inspired by Elliott Smith or the nasal wonderings of Bob Dylan. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.

 

eye.net - Paddy Casey

It was a busy night for Sony Music last Wednesday (July 5). At Ted's Wrecking Yard, Irish singer/songwriter Paddy Casey was playing a second night in support of his new Columbia disc, Amen (So Be It), which critics have been comparing to Van Morrison, Mike Scott of the Waterboys and Jeff Buckley. While I wouldn't go that far, the record is a beautiful collection of intelligent introspection -- enough to warrant a peek at his live show.

The bubbling sprite known as Paddy was bouncing around the club before his show, confounding well-wishers with rambling nonsensical chat or, in my case, jokes about the O'Malleys.

Onstage, Casey's acoustic guitar and clear, passionate voice commanded silence from the audience, which was comprised mainly of Irish locals keeping the bartenders busy and young fans of Chantal Kreviazuk, who has toured with Paddy and was in the house for an encore duet. It was a long wait, though, as Casey went through almost every track on Amen and plenty more while Kreviazuk almost gave herself whiplash trying to keep an eye on husband Raine Maida, who watched Paddy's set quietly and undisturbed. (No wonder the Our Lady Peace singer is rarely spotted at shows -- Chantal seems to keep him on a short leash.)

The queen of last year's Juno Awards eventually did take the stage for a version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane," but she refrained from using her powerhouse pipes, preferring to whisper quietly at Paddy's side. The pair also performed the appropriately titled "Rainwater" from Amen, alternately bowing and kneeling in appreciation of each other's talents.

Meanwhile, across town at Lee's Palace, Sony hosted a showcase from Finger Eleven, whose new disc, The Greyest of Blue Skies, comes out July 25 on Sony-distributed Wind-Up.

While there are plenty of Canadian metal and hard rock acts that can blow these boys away, in terms of major-label-supported bands that get airplay on MuchMusic, F11 are it. So it's no surprise the band has a strong following, even though its fans really should have discovered Korn and Slipknot by now. Or maybe there's a market for bands who rock out without disturbing anyone. But even during the heaviest of tracks from Greyest, there's no sense of danger.

You can blame producer Arnold Lanni for rubbing out the record's edges, but it would be exciting to see that, years after embracing the nu-metal aesthetic, F11 have learned to unleash some fury live. Instead, it's all so formulaic, so safe, so... Canadian. Just because the members are really nice guys doesn't mean the music has to be so polite. Nevertheless, expect the full-on Sony hype throughout the summer.

Lisa Ladouceur, 13.07.2000

 

Paddy Casey - "Amen (So Be It)"

I've got no information on this guy at all, but it sounds like he's a singer/songwriter. Van Morrison meets Mike Scott in Bob Dylan's house. "Ancient Sorrow" is Paddy discovering what the buttons on his synth do, a strangely constructed song with folky vocals, dance/industrial (but quiet) drum machine, and choral harmonies, all with a noodly synth line dipping in and out. "Everybody Wants" is very R.E.M., laid back and sleepy. "Sweet Suburban Sky" is just voice and acoustic guitar, Dylan at his most depressing. Worth hitting the skip button for.

This album shows Paddy Casey's potential, but it is too patchy and folky to get any mainstream success. However , "Whatever Gets You True" is a catchy pop song, and might score if it was released as a single.

 

Paddy Casey - "Amen (So Be It)"

BACK TO THE FUTURE
Former busker PADDY CASEY says ' so be it'

SOFTLY spoken Paddy Casey is hard at work in a Dublin recording studio when I catch up with him.

"I'm just going through some songs for my next album," he tells me in his lilting Irish burr. "I've got around 20 songs which I'm doing acoustically, a mix of old and new numbers."
The acoustic recording period will last just two days. Paddy will return to the studios at a later date to fill out the sound and begin whittling the songs down to the ten or so needed for the album.

"It will be released some time next year (2000)," reveals the 24-year-old.
For the music connoisseur the new album is anxiously anticipated. Paddy's debut 'Amen (So Be It)' reached the Irish top 20 and earned him nominations for Best Irish Songwriter and Best Male Singer in the Hot Press Awards.
There have also been high profile tours with the likes of REM, Ian Brown, Reef and The Pretenders.

"The Prentenders' shows were memorable because it was my first tour of Europe," says Paddy. "Working with Reef was also good because they're such a great bunch of lads."

Paddy will soon be touring in his own right with a brief visit to the UK, including a date at Ronnie Scott's in Birmingham on November 23.

"I played at Ronnie's during the Songwriters' Festival and it was great fun, there was such a good buzz," he recalls. "Mind you, playing big gigs is easier because you can't see the audience and you just pretend you're singing to yourself."

Performing comes naturally to Paddy, however. He began busking at an early age on the streets of his home town of Dublin, then moved to Galway for two years before returning to the Irish capital.

"I progressed from busking to playing small gigs. I was too scared to perform my own songs so I did Prince and Waterboys covers.

"I'd look for possible venues like restaurants and offer to play there. It went from there, really, playing bigger and bigger gigs, sometimes as many as ten shows a week.

"At the back of mind was always the thought I'd be talent spotted and sure enough Sony rep Hugh Murray saw me and alerted the company in England. They asked for a demo and then signed me.

"U2's management heard about it and they signed me up as one of the artists they represent." Paddy's debut album was completed in just ten days - because, amazingly, the finished product consists of the original demos.

"The company said they were so pleased with the results of my eight days in the studios they would release the record as it was," Paddy says. "I was glad to have done it on my own and not gone with a big name producer. People can judge the songs on their own merits - if they love them or hate them it will be down to me."
Amen to that!

Andy Coleman, Go2Birmingham, November 1999

 

cluas.com - Mundy & Paddy Casey

Ruby Sessions, October 2nd, 2001

Mundy has had a tough time of it. Touted as some sort of Bob Dylan a few years ago, he had what teenagers dream of - a record deal, a song in the hippest film of the year, and a legion of fans. And he was pretty good too. But it was to his credit that Mundy always took such comparisons for what they were - only comparisons - and when his label didn't release his second album, he was circumspect, and took some time out to travel. Now he's back in action with a new release on Camcor, his own label, and he was in flying form in the Ruby Sessions in Doyle's, a venue he obviously feels comfortable with.

aAmong the support acts was Settler, who delivered a set of uplifting songs, with inspired lyrics and interesting melodies. A surprising new addition to the Dublin music scene, the foursome engaged the crowd with their warmth and charm. Goby played a set that evoked the Cocteau Twins and Edith Piaf. Despite some people in the audience talking loudly, the power of the singer's voice was impressive.

Finally, the man himself, Mundy, got up and let rip on the acoustic guitar. Sporting a black t-shirt emblazoned with "New York", he grabbed the crowd by the scruff of the neck and unleashed a parade of songs, including the classic "Gin and Tonic Sky", as well as "Mexico", one of his newest songs. He made interesting use of a live sampler to turn himself into a one-man band, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the night.

He was joined at the end by Paddy Casey who, surprisingly, played a version of "No Digitty", as well as "Stir it Up" by Bob Marley. It was a rousing end to a rousing evening, and it was good to see the boy back in town. Long may it continue this time.

Sean Gilmartin

 

Miscellaneous Reviews

Q Magazine: "...his voice is shot through with the experience of someone twice his age, and suggests a multiplicity of cigarettes, alcohol, women and dreams.... how goosebumps sound when they explode...." (4 out of 5 stars)

NME: "...a gifted artist...."

The London Sunday Times: "Amen (So Be It)... is an engrossing record that stands head and shoulders above the usual fare."

The Independent: "....a genuine talent, well worth seeking out...."

Time Out London: "....hugely promising...."

The London Times: "....magical...." (live performance review)