CD Review – Mike Donaghy “I Wish You Well”
In the grand tradition of historic UK folksingers and songwriters, Mike Donaghy presents I Wish You Well, an excellent album of modern folk-rock that borrows from the masters – Christy Moore, Ralph McTell, etc. – without ever resorting to imitation.
Like the aforementioned pair and others, Donaghy has been influenced as much by the traditional tunes and passions of his Northern Irish roots (Clancy Brothers, Tommy Sands) as by such song-crafters as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, John Prine.
This set of 15 tunes (two are considered “hidden tracks,” more about them shortly) covers electric and folk, from the political Snowballin’ to the moving love ballad, The Fern Tree, without sacrificing his craft to cliche. The traditional sound of O’Freja and the modern references of Deleted Scenes (The Facebook Song) – a comical commentary on modern media – blend into a unified whole, serving notice that Donaghy is a man who understands both where he’s been and where the world currently resides.
No one can challenge this man’s dedication to help make the world a better place through his music. Brighter Days, one of the album’s standout tracks, was used a United Nations peace song in 2011; Mike performed at the World Peace Concert in Dublin last December, and will perform at the 2012 Rome World Peace concert as well.
In addition, the earnings from the sale of the album going to the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
The album’s “hidden tracks” – Peace Begins With Me and I Am Not Afraid – are not hidden because they’re merely leftovers; these two songs are, arguably, the disc’s most powerful statements. The first is a rousing call to peace, and to the understanding we all have to power to achieve it; the latter is a song of understanding and acceptance needed to make those first steps towards it. But don’t take my word for it – click on the names of the songs and you will hear, and understand, this man’s capacity to move you with his music.
In an age of superficiality, Donaghy is making music that matters, music that will last. His message is at once universal and deeply personal, and I Wish You Well should be heard. – Mike Clark
Cross posted from ninety-nine.