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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Review: The Rye - The Rye

The Rye – The Rye
2006, The Rye

Galway, Ireland is home to one of the more impressive and energetic Celtic acts you’re likely to come across. The Rye take the energy (and to a degree, the sound) of The Pogues and combine it with the lyrical acuity of Tom Waits. Add in some of the tightest, most impressive ensemble play on the West Coast of Ireland and you have not just a band but a musical experience. The Rye’s debut EP, The Rye, was released in 2006, but unless you’re a denizen of the pubs of Ireland you’ve likely not heard of The Rye. It’s too bad, but it’s not too late. Trust me; you want to add The Rye to your library.

The Rye opens with Banana Song, with lead vocalist Kevin Melly sounding like Shane McGowan, complete with nearly indecipherable lyrics. It’s a great tune, and lively; I just wish I could make out much of what he’s singing here. Square Peig is a wonderfully complex reel that will have you up and dancing. Lonely Mary is a sad but sweet love song full of loss and the fear of loss. Polcat Blues is a great acoustic Blues/Rock hybrid that will get your toes tapping and that you’ll be humming for days. The Rye closes out with the memorable instrumental Katie Lie Over.

Melly is a memorable and distinctive vocalist, and fans of The Pogues really will do a double take when they hear him. Anna Falkenau plays the meanest Irish fiddle since Ashley Mac Isaac’s quart-a-show days. The rest of the band, Alan Walsh (guitar, banjo, vox); Barry Wallace (bass, banjo) and Dessie Harrington (drums) are top notch. I finished up listening to The Rye wishing for more, and also that they’d be playing a date here in Buffalo very soon. The CD is great listening, but this is a band with the potential to own an audience. They just need the opportunity.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about The Rye at You can purchase a copy of The Rye at

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