There’s something universally uplifting and forever appealing about the prospect of traditional Irish folk music. For most of us it brings feelings of positivity, stories of real life presented in a joyful, totally energizing way. It’s the music that completes any New Year’s Eve or just about any get together and it’s one of the main things most people look forward to when venturing over to the beautiful place that is Ireland. In reality though, it’s not all that often you get to enjoy an authentic Irish folk band – that unique sound seems all too distant these days. Fortunately, here to relight that fire for fans of this style of music across the globe, Dreams Of Freedom are a band whose songs bring with them the immediately satisfying vibrancy, organic beauty, and story telling that is the essence of this genre, and it’s an absolute pleasure to stumble upon them.
Songs For Our Heroes is a mighty album to introduce the Dreams Of Freedom sound and to remind you of all that Ireland has been through. The album holds tight to your attention throughout with its stories, and this is quite precisely the sort of music that makes you crave a live performance from those involved. The day this Irish ballad band make their way to your home town is a night to remember.
Irish Soldier Laddie kicks off the project and feels immediately familiar yet excitingly fresh and beautifully raw, offering that story telling and that genuine touch of Irish history and culture that draws intrigue from listeners far and wide. The vocal harmonies, the togetherness, the superb and energetic musicianship – it all feels like the bona fide musical experience you’d hope for. Kevin Barry follows and mellows things out a little, Richard O Brien’s leading voice is laid out more smoothly and presents a gorgeously captivating level of emotion here – alongside of yet another colorful display of traditional Irish musicality. The blessing of this music is that even when the stories feature such darkness as this, you want to listen, you’re not unsettled – rather, strangely comforted – to hear it all unfolding. The music is calming in this case, which works well within the journey of the complete playlist.
“It is nothing, to give one’s life for Ireland. I’m not the first and maybe I won’t be the last. What’s my life compared with the cause?” – Kevin Barry.
Traditional Irish instrumentation is recognisable and enjoyable to most, though without skillfully impress musicianship, the effect lacks perhaps that expressive precision to really entrance an audience. With Dreams Of Freedom, the talent and effort and energy of the musical performances and compositions is incredible, ever impressive – always in keeping with the mood of the song at hand, but always holding close to that authentic Irish feel. The album’s title track is a bold reminder of all of this, but things continue to shine throughout.
None of the stories on the album are interchangeable, a few that stand out though, for their totally hypnotic presentation and unimaginable realness, are The Birmingham Six and The Men Behind The Wire. A calming emotional connection pours through with songs like Provos Lullaby and The Fields Of Athenry, the pace falls away a little, and the acoustic softness really captivates. Elsewhere on the project, that authentic Irish folk energy continues to seduce and impress in a beautiful way. Nothing can quite compare to the live experience, by all accounts, but this album makes about as a strong an effort as possible to emulate that for you.
Dreams Of Freedom represent Irish pride in the most uplifting and compelling fashion. You can’t question the realness on this project and the only remaining desire is that live show, that up front performance to remind you in the present moment of the dedication, energy, considerate writing and passion that has gone into the music. The stories are truthful and loaded with Irish history and unforgettable strength. Dreams Of Freedom present the sound and the beauty of Ireland and the country’s past in a gorgeously real, powerful way. An absolute must-hear.
“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.” – The 1916 Proclamation.