Paddy Nash is a Derry-born singer-songwriter, more often seen kicking out with his seven-piece band The Happy Enchiladas, here releases his new solo album which sees him largely return to his folk roots. Nash who started out with the Derry Band Whole Tribe Sings, often described as “the greatest Northern Irish band who never made it big”, but who came very close after signing a US album deal and having their song “Happy” feature in Harp Lager’s US advertising campaign. However, “Gate Fever” finds Nash in a more reflective mode and this has enabled him to construct a fine body of work.
We see traces of Nash’s experience in the wistful album opener Conor as he shares the crucial advice “always be polite, ignore the put downs, don’t believe the hype”. There is a definite air of world weariness which continues into Gate Fever but this contrasts with the sharp description of the unsavoury Thomas The Troll.
Sink Like Stones is an achingly beautiful track while we could all do worse than listen to the words of You and Me Both, “we all are guilty here, we all are victims here”. Bonfire Night is a rite of passage song, with just a pleasant nod towards “Mr Bojangles” to these ears while Meanwhile on the Golf Course is a caustic comment on the evils of vested interest.
With a voice as rich and satisfying as a pint of stout, Nash has an easy lyrical turn of phrase and melodies to spare and this is possibly best demonstrated on the excellent We Are The Dead.
If Paddy Nash is not already known to you, then you probably won’t discover a finer singer-song-writer all year. A true Irish gem!