video Ceol Review: Barry Jay Hughes – Tried and Treasured

Barry Jay Hughes releases second EP ‘Tried and Treasured’

Barry_Jay_Hughes

Barry Jay Hughes is set to release his second EP ‘Tried and Treasured‘ this weekend, marking what has been an outstanding year for the musician.

The past twelve months have been busy to say the least for Barry Jay, who released his debut EP ‘This Way Up’ in April 2015. From there on in it’s been a whirlwind of learning and adventure which has brought this new EP to the fore.

While This Way Up was greeted with some mixed reviews, Barry Jay received a strong following and loyal fan base at home and overseas.

The opening track is the first single from the EP. While ‘One Petal Down‘ was written a year ago, and previously released as a live video, it has been reworked with the addition of Kevin Meehan on flute to add a haunting traditional celtic feel. One Petal Down was inspired by the equality referendum as a reminder that in the end, we all end up the same way. What stands out most about this song is the in depth description and use of colour to tell the story.

If you’re familiar with Barry Jay on the live scene, you will recognise these songs. Crying Shame is the second offering on the EP and one which is a regular in his set. It’s interesting to hear the rearrangement for recording, but without taking away from the powerful performances he has become so well-known for. While not my favourite of his, the emotion behind the song is compelling and the beat uplifting despite the message in the song.

Full Circle is a completely new offering from Barry Jay and is immediately breathtaking. From the offset it’s evident; this is where his talent lies. The simple melodies and beautiful lyrics are his strong point. Much like ‘Falling Moon’ from his first EP, these soft serenades really evoke emotion and emphasise his talent as a singer-songwriter. Full Circle is a biographic of Barry Jay’s year, indicating his advancement musically. Joined by Lousie Byrne with backing vocal, Full Circle is my favourite song of his to date. It puts Barry alongside Gavin James and Damien Rice as one of the most promising male singer songwriters in Ireland; with not far to go before reaching their heights.

Back to the big sounding ballad now with Medieval City, perfectly arranged at the beginning to sound right out of a court in a medieval castle. Medieval City was written about Kilkenny, and again reiterates Barry Jay’s talents at capturing the heart of his experiences through song. Another favourite, it belongs in an ad for Kilkenny Arts Festival; it’s a real festival stomper.

Finally, Ballad of a Troubadour is also a brand new track and one which totally takes by surprise. It’s another uplifting catchy number which is memorable and gratifying; one which stands out as a floor filler. It perfectly rounds off the EP.

Tried and Treasured is a testament to the journey Barry Jay Hughes has been on both literally and figuratively. Having travelled the length and breathe of the county, he’s taken in a lot along the way, learning on the road and transforming his experiences into song. The addition of the backing trad band adds another layer of life to his music. 2016 is sure to be another busy year for the musician, and we are surely excited about what the future holds in store for Mr Hughes.

Barry Jay Hughes Tried and Treasured will be launched in The Iontas Theatre Castleblayney on April 30th with a follow up gig in Whelans, Dublin on May 18th. All gig dates can be found on Breaking Tunes or on Barry’s Facebook Page.

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