It was the late 80’s when I first discovered the music of Paul Brady. Having grown up himself not far from where I lived, he became someone I totally respected and admired in the music business. His song ‘The Island’ is one of those timeless love songs one can never fall out of love with. Well I certainly can’t!
When I got the opportunity to speak with Paul earlier today about this current album, Unfinished Business, and his forthcoming visit to Derry later this month, I really was a little star struck.
Paul Brady is bringing his electric band to the city’s Millennium Forum on Monday 20th November for what promises to be an amazing night. Brady is no stranger to the city and grew up not far away in neighbouring Strabane.
The appeal of Paul Brady’s music is cleverly explored in this, his new compilation of music, Unfnished Business. I was very looking forward to talking with Brady about this recent work as the title was bugging me. Why Unfinished Business? I wasn’t long finding out.
As I sat during my break from work at Ulster University in Derry this morning, I had coffee in the canteen and spoke with Paul Brady over that coffee. Unfinished Business was first and foremost on my mind. “It’s the title of a song and my wife suggested it,” Brady told me. So nice that after such a long musical career his wife has such input, was my immediate reaction. And this wasn’t to change over the duration of our chat. Family is very much at the fore for Paul Brady. Something I value very much.
Paul Brady’s career has spanned over five decades, produced 15 solo albums, and he’s collaborated with some of the worlds greatest musicians. He is as skilled a song writer, singer and musician as you get. His work has transcended the technological music age. His work has survived and risen above the spotify, the itunes, and beyond. Holding a copy of his Unfinished Business CD in my hand today before playing in my car CD player, was special. We handle so little hard copies of music today, so Brady brought me back a little in time with our chat.
“The music business has fundamentally changed over the years”, Brady admits. “People download their music now. It’s harder to make albums now. I’m still really enjoying making music and making albums. I really wouldn’t want to be just starting out now.”
Just chatting with Paul Brady allows one to perceive that he really does still possess that passion for what he does. It illuminates from him. It’s there in every word and every phrase.
As he turns 70, this year, just why is he still doing this? Why hasn’t he retired? “My wife keeps telling me to retire. I still love what I do. I’m still enjoying it. My energy is limitless and people still want to hear my music.” That’s definitely reason enough to continue. And I for one, am certainly glad he’s still very much at the heart of the music world.
Brady engineered this new album himself. He co-wrote three of the songs with New York based Irish poet Paul Muldoon, and five with Nashville songwriter and producer Sharon Vaughn.
The album opens with the title track, and is a smooth opening that sets us up for what’s to come after. This is a collection of music by Paul Brady at his best. Unfinished Business encompasses all that Brady still wants to write and play. He says there’s more music he wants to play and for that it will always be ‘unfinished’. Having chatted to himself, I’m guessing this legendary’s work will always be ‘unfinished’. There’s certainly NO end in sight.
Paul Brady brings his band and his music to Derry’s Millennium Forum on Monday 20th November. Paul says, “The Derry audience is always very welcoming. I went to school in the city and I still know some people there. They like my folk music but this is different. This time I’m bringing my electric band. I’m looking forward to that.”
Before I finished my coffee and chat with Paul Brady I asked him what he has yet to achieve. His reply made me love him and his music even more. Honesty and sincerity were there at the fore just as it was when we first started chatting: “I’ve been very lucky. I’m very happy with my family and my health. I have what’s important to me. I’m fortunate. Family is everything to me.”
On that note, I’m an even bigger fan than ever before. My chat with Paul Brady was complete.
Tickets are still available for the Derry gig and can be purchased from Millennium Forum or by calling the box office on 02871264455.