Little Light is the excellent and extremely assured debut album from Limerick native Paddy Dennehy. Having moved south to Cork, Dennehy has been working on an album for the past five years, while gaining a reputation as a live performer. The ten tracks on Little Light introduce a fine songwriter with passion and plenty to say.
Paddy Dennehy is billed as a folk singer. But if you are expecting a stereotypical Irish folk album full of fiddles, bodhran and songs of times gone by, then you’re mistaken. Rather, Dennehy is more a singer songwriter from the Tom Waits school, with a great line in tortured lyrics filled with doubt and pain, and delivered in a voice that cracks with emotion. His rasping tones may not be classically pure, but his rough edged delivery is perfectly suited to his powerful songs.
The album opens with its title track, a soaring, raw song with tortured vocals that sets an emotional tone from the start. The sense is of a man searching for peace, for understanding. Current single Painting Of A New Country starts with a more wistful feel, the piano melody below sweeping vocals evoking longing, yet there is also a sense of a new beginning. Slower track Strange Wings is no less stirring, as Dennehy displays the full range of his voice.
Snow Song, a previous single, is stark and the longing expressed is almost painful, the piano backed vocals cracking as they rise in a lament for love lost. Someone Else has a similar theme, this time strings giving depth beneath tormented vocals that tell of betrayal. Hard Times has more of a folk feel, before a gospel chorus joins in, creating a crescendo of emotion.
Feed The Full starts with acoustic guitar backing Dennehy’s vocal before growing into another lovelorn tale with a big chorus. The excellent closing track One Good Reason is another pain filled piano song, this one slower as betrayal racks vocals that drip with loss and regret.
Little Light has been several years in the making for Paddy Dennehy. Indeed he talks in interviews of having almost completed an album before throwing it away and starting over. The result is a very confident and mature debut album, full of quality and emotional depth. Dennehy is a fine songwriter and he has produced a debut album of real quality.
Release date: 12 June 2020