Paul Brady, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is one of Ireland’s most enduringly popular artists.
Born in Belfast on May 19th 1947 and raised in Strabane, Northern Ireland, on the border with the Irish Republic, he was interested in a wide variety of music from an early age. A Fifties child, his first sounds the Swing, Jazz, Show tunes of his parents’ generation. Then 50’s Rock ‘n Roll, 60’s pop and Motown, Blues, R’nB and Country and Western. Through all this ran the potent flavour of Irish traditional music and song.
Learning to play the piano pretty much by ear, trial and error, his early heroes were Jerry Lee Lewis, Winifred Atwell and Fats Domino. By the age of eleven he had begun to play guitar, spending his school holidays learning every tune the Shadows and The Ventures recorded, every lick Chuck Berry played. Around 1965 in Dublin, while still at college, Paul began to develop as a singer and performer joining a succession of R’n B / Soul bands covering the songs of Ray Charles, James Brown, Junior Walker, Ike and Tina Turner and blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry.
The 60’s in Dublin saw the renewal of interest in Irish traditional music and Irish ballad groups like The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, Sweeney’s Men and The Johnstons. Soon Paul became swept up in this current and joined The Johnstons with whom he recorded seven albums.
Moving with The Johnstons in Jan ’69 to live in London and later in ’72 to New York City, he returned to Dublin in 1974 to join Planxty, the premier Irish folk band of the early ’70’s. From ’76 to ’78 he played as a duo with Andy Irvine. Never one to stand still for long, Paul had a succession of collaborations with other musicians over the ensuing decades.
Paul Brady continues to push out the boundaries not only of his own talent but of Irish contemporary music in the new millennium.