Emmett Tinley: Folk magic from the emerald isle

It’s no secret that the Irish hold a special corner in this world on the gift of magically weaving words into something more.

[By Rachel McFarland, photos courtesy Massmarketrecordings.com]

It’s no secret that the Irish hold a special corner in this world on the gift of magically weaving words into something more.  Ireland is known for its lyrical abundance in the written word, everyday speech, and in song.  Musically speaking, in recent decades the small island of only 4 million people has managed to produce some of the most prolific singer/songwriters in recent memory- artists such as Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, and a small band some may have heard of called U2.  Music that emanates from the emerald isle tends to hold truths in a certain light through acoustic-based musicality coupled with poetic lyrics that are woven together in a tapestry of soft yet poignant emotions.  Emmett Tinley, having been a part of this exclusive group for some time now, is further exploring these qualities on his recent self-titled solo album.

While Emmett’s sound clearly comes from the roots of the country he grew up in, Emmett is not one to stay close to home.  He was initially born in the US, but raised in Co. Wicklow in Ireland.  He has spent a solid amount of time living in places such as Dublin, New York, and Los Angeles during his time with popular Irish group The Prayer Group in the 1990’s.  After the last album by The Prayer Group (“Polichinelle”) was released, Emmett then moved to Denmark and began work on his debut solo effort, “Attic Faith”, an album with the lyrical poetry of his home island and an acoustic based pop sound.

His most recent self-titled solo album continues in this vein, but with more emphasis on the acoustic sound.  He continues to pull from the influences of other Irish singer-songwriters, but manages to do it in a way that sounds unique to him.  It is delicate, with melancholic folk sounds and yet a hopeful heartbeat.  For someone looking for something soft and calming that won’t just blend into the background, this album is for you. Emmett’s silvery, crystal clear vocals break through the guitar strumming, making it impossible to not pay close attention to the lyrics.   On this album, Emmett continues carrying the tradition of Irish storytelling, singing with a raw emotion that somehow the Irish capture best.

Tracks like “Marvelous Day” create a clear canvas of time and space, making the listener feel as though they are in the experience with him. Then there are tracks that break through the slow vibe, such as “Nothing In Between” and “In My Life” offering a more upbeat tempo with a stronger energy and a catchy chorus.  For those looking for something more wistful (in the vein of Damien Rice), tracks like “Same Bright Heaven” and “Floating Out” will satisfy with their affecting lyrics.  “Same Bright Heaven” is backed up with soft piano, and “Floating Out” creates a swaying sensation, like sitting on a dock or a boat on a lazy lake.

Emmett’s storied music history and travels add to the complexity of the tunes- take a listen to his previous solo album “Attic Faith” and you can hear the wisdom in the decision to take away some instrumentation for this album.  That decision created a soft, strong, simple, and clear piece of work that continues carrying the torch for the Irish singer-songwriter. ~

 For more, visit Emmett-Tinley.com

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