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Mikey Kenney - The Reverie Road (Penny Fiddle Records)

Star rating: 

Mikey Kenney is a musician and balladeer from Liverpool. THE REVERIE ROAD is his third album and is released on  Penny Fiddle Records. Tracks like the opener Bacca Pipes a dreamy variation of the tune Greensleeves, show he is a fine interpreter of both English and Irish music, while The Path I Walk Upon shows him to be a distinctive writer, adding rich material to the tradition. The Path I Walk Upon also features an affirming lyric about always searching and moving forwards, delivered in Kenney’s evocative, hypnotic vocal. Listen too, to the beautiful un-named chorus behind Mikey on Napoli or Kitty Wilkinson.

The album is described as a solo album, but is not solo recordings, the instruments and vocal are gently layered and subtly overlayed in a way that is atmospheric and enveloping rather than showy and ostentatious virtuosic. The sleeve notes, tastefully between photos and drawings, act like a compelling Sketchbook, showing how moments, places and experiences are filtered by Mikey and used to create music. I am particularly by Kenney's voice, it is real and effecting, with a little of the fragility and quaver of an Ivor Cutler. Add a few crackles of history on the utterly sublime Montagna Di Menta and it starts like a  shellac 78 voice from history, building to something beautiful and hypnotic.

Solo, like on The Golden Castle / The Broken Pledge  or Brigid's Jigs, written for the Irish god of fire, Mikey is a compelling musician as you can close your eyes and get lost in the beautiful shape of the melody and the grace and power of his player. Winder's Hornpipe contrasts, while flowing straight from the previous tune, showing his skill over accompaniment and some fine percussion. Closing track Soggy Desert is a glorious mashup between European early 60s film music and a love song to The Lune Estuary in Lancashire. The lyric finds a romance in its savage beauty while the music that swirls around is a Western Swing, Romany fiddle music, film strings, Bluegrass miasma. An upbeat, smile on the face end to an interesting album 

Marc Higgins 
Northern Sky