Former member of the Dublin Gospel Choir Padraig Rushe has released his debut album Greyworld on Loud Child Records. Blending soul with rock and folk with soaring vocals over the top, Rushe has inevitably drawn comparisons with Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley.
With three albums under his belt, Rushe left the Dublin Gospel Choir in January 2008 to pursue his yearnings for a solo career. After working with some music legends including James Brown, Damien Rice and Nitin Sawhney, he started to make waves for himself as a solo artist in his own right, notably appearing on MTV’s -Get Seen, Get Seen:The Contenders’ in May last year.
Produced by Pat Donne, Greyworld features the current single -Gonna Be A Change’ alongside ten other subtly emotional yet highly charged numbers. The aforementioned single is light and wonderfully evocative despite being relatively understated. In fact, Greyworld as a whole is an understated piece of work, devoid of gimmickry or the clichÃ©s that have now come to define this particular blend of bluesy rock. -Free Now’ is gospel infused, with Rushe’s strong vocals backed by a choir singing of salvation. -Broken Man’ sees the frontman go into Brian Kennedy mode complete with crooning before managing to pull himself back from the depths despite this not being the strongest track on the record and one that goes on much too long. -Wandering Man’ is a moody, brooding ballad which showcases Padraig Rushe’s vocal range while being quietly beautiful. The aptly titled -Catcher in the Rye’ is more upbeat than its accompanying songs as it features a chanting memorable chorus backed once more by a triumphant choir. The title song borders a little on ’80s cheese, with the female backing vocals sounding distinctly alien to the male lead vocals, which is a pity because of the powerful musical co-ordination and lyrics.
-Lord My Lover & Me’ is the most overtly gospel and folk influenced track contained here, with a hefty chorus leaping out to successfully back up the lyrical muscle. Songs like these illustrate how Rushe adapts easily to more demanding vocal duties as well as to the more delicate tunes. On -Old Beginnings’ he has apparently met his match, with Michelle Delmar’s lush backing vocals layering with his own to make quite an unremarkable song profound. Eighth track -Sleeping Boy’ is a hymn-like tune which is carried by the sincerity of Rushe’s vocal range and by the lilting keyboards which fit perfectly into a song about such an emotional subject matter as death. -New House Rising’ continues where its predecessor left off, with an infectious chorus dominating the song along with a notable beat in the backdrop. Wisely choosing -Peacefully’ as the closing song, Rushe puts his best assets forward in this Jeff Buckley-esque lullaby. Despite containing sparse lyrics, the words are provocative enough to paint an ample picture.
With many artists doing the rock and soul combo and an even scarier number doing their best Buckley impression, there’s no reason why an album like Greyworld should stand out from the pack. Padraig Rushe has managed to leap over the stumbling block of many of his peers by carving an overdone genre into his own and making music that is both solid and often beautiful. Greyworld has made Rushe and his backing band an increasingly must-see live act on these shores.