Seán Tyrrell

The Orchard

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AllMusic Review by

The Orchard is a remarkably consistent four-song EP by Irish folk singer Sean Tyrrell. The selections hang together very well both thematically and musically, expressing a distinctively Irish blend of melancholy and nostalgia. The title track is a wistful Kevin Evans reflection on a man's lifelong history with an apple orchard; it's arranged beautifully for acoustic guitar, harmonica, fiddle, and flute. The second track, "The Lights of Little Christmas," echoes the same paradoxical celebration of -- and disappointment with -- the ephemeral nature of simple life. It memorably creates the image of a woman putting "pictures in an album labled 'Those Were Better Times'." The last two songs stick to the same thematic territory but branch out in musical influence. The traditional Irish folk song, "Red River Valley," is given a fiddle and acoustic and steel guitar arrangement that bears a surprising quantity of country western twang, and the closing "One Eye Open" mates Tyrrell's mellifluous Irish brogue and Celtic-flavored background vocals with a Middle Eastern-sounding guitar and tenor sax treatment. It is a very dark and challenging take on the song; consequently, it's not as listener friendly as the rest of the EP. It does, however, fit in nicely with the recurrent themes focused on the difficult effects of the passage of time. This release should generate interest in Tyrrell's full-length efforts.