Album Review | Independent Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson
There’s a simplicity in Karen Tweed’s cover sketch, yet there’s nothing simple about Paul Ruane’s playing. Known for uttering the one syllable word “Sound” for anything he approved of, Paul was a fiddle player of note, inspiring many with his knowledge of music and enthusiasm for passing it on to young people. Opening the gatefold sleeve, we see a smiling Paul with the neck of his fiddle gripped tight, while on the opposite side, we see an array of additional musical instruments used to further enhance the eleven instrumental pieces on the album, some of which were recorded after Paul’s untimely passing in 2016.
What could have been a mournful musical statement in view of the circumstances, has actually become nothing short of a celebration, where it’s almost impossible to do anything but smile, just like Paul in the picture, when we hear these delightful tunes. With Paul’s family helping out, notably his wife Dee on button accordion, who plays pretty much throughout the album, together with daughters Celia and Eva joining in on whistle and fiddle respectively on “Stool of Repentance / The Cow That Ate the Blanket / The Gallant Boys of Tipperary”, and whose joyful playing bounces out of the speakers, complementing dad’s informed playing. The Leeds-born musician, whose family heritage is set very much in County Mayo, began this project back in 2012 and with the help of family and friends, including Louis Bingham, Dave Wood and Norman Holmes, leaves us with something very personal and expressive to remember him by.