Irish music legend Paul Brady has had a long and distinguished career, and if the title of his new album is anything to go by, he plans to have many more years to come.
‘Unfinished Business’, which was released in September, is Paul’s first record of new songs since the release of ‘Hooba Dooba’ back in 2010. “Yeah, I think that the title indicates that I’m not hanging up my boots just yet” laughed the music legend when I asked were there more albums to come.
The new release was one which Paul states had been rattling around him for the past three or four years, and one which was recorded in his Dublin studio.
“I actually wasn’t really planning on making an album” said Paul. “I wasn’t sure whether or not albums were a thing of the past but nonetheless, I have still been writing songs and recording them and after a while it appeared that I had 11 or 12 songs that I thought I could put out as a record.”
Paul recognises that there has been a major shift in how people enjoy music today, he has even noticed a change within the past seven years since the release of his 2010 album ‘Hooba Dooba’.
“In the recording music world, hard copy cds are not selling as they used to, and the majority of people under a certain age are listening to music differently, such as streaming and downloading.
“Like anything where there’s a major shift, it takes time for it to settle down and properly monitored, regulated and monetised. So I think that it’s difficult for those who are trying to make records these days. But the shift doesn’t overly concern me to be honest. I’m very much enjoying my live work.
“I just get on with the business of making music and playing it to people. There’s not much I can do about it, so I try not to worry myself too much.
“I’d say it’s pretty difficult these days for young people to make a living [in music]. There seems to be no middle ground between the Ed Sheeran’s and people who are playing in the pub. The middle ground seems to have collapsed so it’s very hard for young artists to make any kind of national or global headway.
“Im lucky that over the decades I have gained an audience who have been very loyal to me and stuck with me through all my changes. I’m not complaining [about the shift in how people consume music today], but I’d hate to be starting out now.”
Paul Brady is well known for his versatile style, his songs flowing effortlessly across many genres. His recent album ‘Unfinished Business’ is a great example of such. When pressed about the secret to his success, Paul suspects that this could be one of the reasons.
“One of the things probably is the variety of my material. I have touched a lot of different areas over the decades, between the time I spent in traditional music in the 70s with bands like ‘Planxty’ and ‘The Johnstons’ and working with Andy Irvine.
“My songs have got around a lot too. A lot of other artists have recorded songs of mine which got my name about. I just kept at it. If you’re not at the bus stop when the bus comes in, you’re going to miss it” laughed Paul.
With some Unfinished Business to attend to, the Strabane native has been enjoying getting back into the practice room for his upcoming tour.
“This is the first tour I’ve done in three years with a band” explained Paul. “I had been doing quite a bit of solo stuff and even recently I was up in Derry with Andy Irvine when we did the 40th anniversary of the album which we put out in 1977, which has become an iconic album in the folk world.
“But this is a different thing for me, and I’m looking forward to it very much. To perform this new album and also a lot of material from the past. There used to be stand out tracks from my set which I no longer do anymore so I’m looking forward to revisiting some of the older ones.
And when pressed about how he approaches choosing which tracks to include, the folk legend jokes: “It’s a bit like choosing a football team from a squad of 30.”
“It depends really on how you’re feeling at the time. All my songs are extremely different from each other so they take me into very different territory. Like the new album, it is also widely varied in styles.”
Paul Brady and his band will be performing at the Millennium Forum on Monday 20th November at 8pm, with tickets priced at £36 Book Here His new album, Unfinished Business, is out now.