TOMMY KEYES – BACKGROUND AND REVIEWS
Tommy Keyes was a stalwart on the Dublin rock scene in the ‘70s, as keyboardist and songwriter in several prominent bands, then disappeared to an entirely different career for almost 40 years. Since returning to music in 2015 he has drawn on his network of stellar musicians to aid him in producing albums which hark back to the classic era of songwriting. Asked to describe his music, he says “it’s 1970s singer-songwriter music because that’s what I am”.
Ageing With Attitude, released on 12 October, is his fifth album and his best to date. Keyes is a storyteller and, like any good story, the album is organised into a beginning, a middle and an end. Using a variety of styles ranging through pop, rock, blues, rock’n’roll and even a bit of music-hall swing, he brings us back to teenage romance, the hopes and dreams of young musicians, middle-age disillusionment and the ups and downs of declining years. His lyrics are in turn humorous and perceptive, while the arrangements make sublime use of the likes of Richie Buckley (sax), Dick Farrelly (guitar) and a string quartet directed by Rob Molumby.
Some tracks to draw particular attention to:
Ageing With Attitude – a boisterous take on growing old disgracefully
Go With You - received substantial radio play on its release as a single in May
Walk Away – hit no 1 in Irish iTunes singer-songwriter chart on release as a single in September
Listen To the Rain - featuring backing vocals arranged and performed by Thomas Walsh of Pugwash
Grafton St 1979 – a love letter to Dublin as it was in the era of “The Man On The Bridge”
Some reviews of earlier albums:
Just as there’s a lived-in quality to Keyes’ voice there’s an appealing sense of reality about songs that, taken collectively, serve as a virtual narrative for the growing pains of the modern Irish rock scene – 8/10 (Hot Press review of An Irish Life)
Team Dublin’s finest, Richie Buckley, Dave Fleming, Dick Farrelly, with a man who exudes a classic Seventies songwriting style and you get a sophisticated set that, as US radio bosses say, “Suits all day parts” (Evening Herald review of Temptation Once Again)
Tommy Keyes may well have been around the music scene for a while but for me he is a “new discovery”. Well-crafted, interesting original songs, inspired by life, love and living. (Niall Toner RTE – Temptation Once Again)