In the month of October 2001 I did twenty-three gigs in the great Dublin venue, Vicar St. Sometimes you plan it, and it works out as hoped for. Sometimes the unexpected happens and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Blessed as I was to have been recognised over the years by so many artists that I respected, those closest to me convinced me that to invite them to perform with me in a series of concerts was a good idea. I was overwhelmed by the response and enthusiasm that I got. A wonderful array of artists from around the globe all agreed to come and take part including Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler, Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, Ronan Keating, Curtis Stigers, Gavin Friday & Maurice Seezer, Eleanor McEvoy, Moya Brennan, Mary Black, Maura O’Connell, to name but a few.
We had intended from the outset to record all of the concerts, which featured my band and me with a different guest artist every night and sometimes several on the same night. It was undoubtedly the most intense, demanding, exciting and rewarding episode in my career to that point and in hindsight remains a major highlight on my musical journey.
I knew that we had captured something special. It was as if everyone met at a crossroads to share his or her talents just at the right time. Sometimes it was surreal and I got that emotional lift-off that we all get when something comes together and exceeds our best expectations. At times I was a spectator in my own show as my guests, my friends, took the roof off Vicar Street.
Much has happened since then, many more songs written, several more albums released. But that month of October in 2001 was always there on the periphery of my consciousness. There came a morning some months ago when, after a couple of weeks listening to it all again and being thrilled to find the reality matched my memory, I knew that it was time to bring these recordings into the public arena. With so much material it was a difficult task to make choices. What to include, what to leave out? We eventually decided to have a series of releases over the next while. The icing on the cake has been to get the enthusiastic thumbs-up from all the guests for this first selection.
So! Here now is Volume 1 of ‘The Vicar St Sessions’. Enjoy!
Paul Brady, Dublin February 2015