Tying Up The Loose Ends

Richard Gilpin has a new album and new vigour, writes Brian Murray

With Cherrie McIlwane as compère and Ursula Burns as the opening act, many think this will be an evening of easy listening, or even alternative folk.

But not tonight. Lisburn man Richard Gilpin, based in Donegal after spending some years training in the renowned Falcara Traditional Music School, is here to introduce his third album Loose Ends.

Already starting to make waves, McIlwane lauds Gilpin's storytelling prowess and the imagery he conjures with his songs.

Although Gilpin's music is modest and pure in its content, he exudes something reminiscent of Lou Reid's menace as he glares through 'General Munro'.

A stylistic rollercoaster, Gilpin takes us from folksy ballads to new reggae classic 'Soul Searching'. It's hard to classify the singer, but his set is possibly best described as 'music for the heart'.

For followers of Gilpin's career, his singular thread in him has stayed true. You need only to hear his voice once to recognise him again.

His is one of few voices from Northern Irish shores who manages to play music outside of the rigid confines of folk while keeping his native accent.

Gilpin has shared stages with Kila and Sean Keane, but throughout Loose Ends one can easily hear slivers of Neil Young, and catchy licks that would stand up next to anything recorded by The Police.

The album sounds like one Gilpin has had the ability to make for years, elements of which can be heard on previous works Beautiful Mistake and 33.

This time lush production, previously only heard in parts on previous records, shines. 'Put Your Hand In Mine', a song that could easily have sneaked onto Bob Dylan's Saved.

After ten years in the business, Gilpin shows no signs of giving up the fight.