Christy O'Leary - vocals, uilleann pipes, whistles
Bert Deivert - DADGAD guitar, bozouki, backup vocals
Paul Kelly: mandolin, fiddle
Eva Deivert. Fiddle on Josef's March
Martin O'Hare. Bodhran, Bones
Gunnar Backman. Fretted and fretless virtual guitar, loops, bass.
Jonny Wartel. soprano saxophone
The Slave's Lament:
Song's Sweet Caress:
- Green Grows the Laurel
- Farewell to Whisky
- Bembring / Up Downey
- Green Fields of Gweedore
- Josef's March / Lady Montgomery
- The Slave's Lament
- The Watchtower Set
- Song's Sweet Caress
- The Dear Irish Boy
- Bonny Light Horseman
- The Miller of Drohan / The Ormond Sound
The Living Tradition Jan/Feb 2004
The CD begins with a performance of 'Green Grows The Laurel' in which Christy races through the verses with barely a pause for breath. When I first heard this I thought I was going to be disappointed with the album — it seemed to lack soul. But then in 'Farewell To Whiskey' he multitracks pipes and whistles, Bert Deivert providing a solid, no-nonsense backing, as he does throughout the album.
Then the master-stroke. On the set 'Bembring/ Up Downey', Christy just multitracks whistles, the sum of which is very much more than their parts. You never get the sense that this is just done for effect. Melody and rhythm are always master, the player just a man in total control of his instruments. But now you get harmony and counterpoint as well - and on such great tunes.
It just keeps getting better from here on. Whether singing, as on 'Green Fields of Gweedore' and 'Bonny Light Horseman', or playing sets of tunes, Christy and Bert deliver assured performances on a well-balanced variety of songs and instrumentals. The other accompanists on the CD - Paul Kelly, Eva Deivert and Martin O'Hare - also provide solid support.
The Slave's Lament' is beautifully sung to the haunting soprano sax of Jonny Wartel in a jazz arrangement, which I understand has had purists spluttering into their poteen. It is their loss. With the title track of the album, Bert Deivert has managed to write one of those lyrics that sounds just like traditional song.
And just to keep the old guard happy, The Dear Irish Boy' is an unadorned slow air, but no less beautiful for that.
Bert provides the perfect accompaniment, whether Chris is singing, piping or whistling, and they have put together a thoughtful programme of music. A word though for Gunnar Backman who co-produced and recorded the album and who provides such delicacies as "fretless virtual guitar" and "loops". Delicacies is the right word because his distinctly contemporary contributions always fit seamlessly into what is after all supposed to be traditional fare. Long may they continue playing and recording together. Graham Gurrin
Folkworld Music Web Site
An album from Sweden, even though both musicians are not of Swedish origin. Christy O Leary from Kerry, Ireland, became famous on the Celtic scene as long term member of the Boys of the Lough. Bert Deivert is a guitarist with US American background.
Both musicians are currently resident in Sweden, and have started to play together. "Song's Sweet Caress" is the result of this collaboration.
Christy has a beautiful, warm and calm voice, singing traditional Irish songs. He is also an extraordinary uilleann piper and whistle player. Bert accompanies him on guitars and bouzouki.
The album presents a beautiful collection of mainly traditional Irish songs and tunes, played by two highly skilled musicians.
And for those who are more collecting records than CDs: Song's Sweet Caress is the first CD by a major Irish traditional artist completely recorded and produced in Sweden. Michael Moll
Taplas, The Welsh Folk Magazine. Oct/ Nov 2003
A long awaited follow up to A Northern Bridge, his 1997 album with guitar ace Chris Newman, emphatically demonstrates that Christy O'Leary has lost none of his charm as a singer and neither his immense talents as uilleann piper and whistle player.
The former De Dannan and Boys of the Lough member has now teamed up with the excellent guitar and bouzouki player, American Bert Deivert, who, like O'Leary, lives in Sweden. Like the former opus, Song's Sweet Caress continues to make links between Ireland and Scandinavia, this time also bringing in transatlantic influences, most notably on the lesser-known Burns song, The Slave's Lament.
O'Leary's voice is a strange mixture of fragility and strength. He kicks off with the familiar Green Grows the Laurel, taken at a
slightly faster tempo than usual, and closes with a gorgeously dreamy William 0. The title track is a lyric from Deivert, set to music by Christy and the remaining song from the repertoire of Clannad.
Just as his singing is in fine form, so are his instrumental talents, with splendid whistle and pipes on Niel Gow's Farewell to Whisky and the achingly beautiful slow pipe air The Dear Irish Boy, learned from the playing of Leo Rowsome.
It may have been a long wait, but it's been worth every minute. Keith Hudson
Pay The Reckoning September 2003 Music Web Site
Christy O'Leary (vocals, pipes, whistles) and Bert Deivert (guitar, bouzouki, backing vocals) are joined by Paul Kelly (mandolin, fiddle), Eva Deivert (fiddle), Martin O'Hare (bodhran, bones), Gunnar Backman (fretted and fretless virtual guitar, loops, bass) and Jonny Wartel (soprano sax) to bring the listener one of the most thoughtful albums of recent years. Proof, if proof is needed, that musicians from different, but related, genres can work together to make music that is more than just an overlayering of forms, but a true blend.
O'Leary's understated vocals and subtle musicianship dovetail perfectly with Deivert's intelligent and sensitive playing. The undoubted core musicians of the CD, O'Leary and Deivert nevertheless allow their gifted collaborators room to unleash their talents.
Staples of the traditional song canon ("Green Grows The Laurel", "Bonny Light Horseman") provide an anchor for some lesser-known songs ("Green Fields of Gweedore") and their own "Songs Sweet Caress". In a similar fashion, well-known tunes such as "The Dear Irish Boy" and "Miller of Drohan/Ormond Sound" provide a base of timelessness against which newly-composed tunes "Bembring/Up Downey" (by Eva Deivert and Tola Custy respectively) and O'Leary's "Josef's March" (which he couples with "Lady Montgomery") are thrown into sympathetic relief.
In a classy, tasteful selection, the lads' version of "Farewell To Whiskey" nevertheless stands out as the track to which we returned time and again. The interplay between O'Leary and Deivert and the steady, measured pace highlight the beauty of a piece which, although it is a fine tune when played as a polka, loses a great deal of its lonesome grandeur in the process.
A laid-back listen whose charms grow each time it gets a spin! Available via the ever-tasteful Copperplate Distribution
www.folking.com music web site
Occasionally I come across a gem of a recording and I'm happy to say that "Song's Sweet Caress" is just such a case.
Mind you, it's not surprising when it features one of my favourite musician's. Christy O'Leary impressed me the first time I heard him in the Boys Of The Lough some years ago and his subsequent solo album was a blinder.
Like that album, this is very much a case of the iron behind the velvet. Now based in Sweden he is to be found in company with guitarist and bouzouki player Bert Deivert. The thing that I like about this recording is that the vocals sound so right - perhaps bringing to mind the first time I heard Micheal O'Domhnaill performing in the Bothy Band. Now, don't get me wrong I'm not trying to say their approach lacks balls, it doesn't. It's just that the whole process is taken at a reasonably leisurely pace and therefore you tend to pick up on every nuance.
Thanks to some neat doubling up of the Uilleann pipes and whistles you get a really full sound and it is this attention to detail in the overall production that sets the duo apart. Not only is it obvious they enjoy the music, they enjoy the whole recording process - they must do to create music this good - and they're not worried about crossing the boundaries by including Bert's laid back jazz treatment of Robert Burn's 'The Slave's Lament'. With the choice of material leaning heavy on the tradition including Christy's sublime interpretation of 'The Bonny Lighthorseman' where the mandolin accompaniment by Paul Kelly adds a further touch of class trust me when I say you will come away from this album with a real glow. Top notch! Pete Fyfe
The Canberra Times, Australia, August 2004
I have a very fond memory of a tour by the Boys of the Lough in the mid 80s when after the show, the musicians and a good proportion of the audience repaired to Sydney's main Irish pub where the concert effectively continued until well into the morning. With the band at that time was uillean piper and singer Christy O'Leary who struck me then as having one of the most marvellously melodic voices around as well as having a great ear for an beautiful melody.
Little has been heard of O'Leary since his days with the Boys of the Lough, so it was a pleasant surprise when this CD turned up from Sweden where O'Leary and American expatriate Bert Deivert now live. They have been working as a duo in that part of the world for some years and this is their first recording. It is mainly Irish with a little Scots and even a hint of a Swedish tune once or twice. O'Leary is still finding good songs, though a 40s jazz treatment of a Robert Burns poem about slavery is a little peculiar, but made up for a with a glorious reading of 'The Bonny Light Horseman' and some good tunes on pipes and whistles.
Deivert finds lots of interesting and sometimes unexpected chords to put behind O'Leary's songs and tunes. There are lots of of clever little harmonic elements in his guitar and bouzouki playing which supports and enhances O'Leary's melodies. A CD that is full of interest and some very good playing. - Graham McDonaldReal Irish Music - Made in Sweden!
Christy O'Leary, Irish singer and piper and Bert Deivert, American musician/songwriter from San Francisco, both currently reside in Sweden. They have just released a rare bird indeed, the first cd by a major Irish traditional artist, completely recorded and produced in Sweden. The cd contains both tradtional and original material. An unusual encounter between two amazing musicians in an unusual place.
Christy O'Leary, originally from Kenmare, Kerry, spent 12 years with the Boys of the Lough as their front man, singing, playing whistle and pipes. Christy has also worked with John Denver, Andy MacKay and Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music, Connie Dover, and with Swedish artists Bj