John Wynne


With Every Breath


UPROS Music CD001; 49 minutes; 2000


This delicious album of flute music by Roscommon’s John Wynne, once of Providence, has been around for some five years now, but it was only a recent chance visit to a Kilkenny record store that saw a copy finally fall into this reviewer’s grubby hands. If you do not know John’s name, let it be said that he’s a natural wit, but a creative, not a flippant one and this solo album embodies such a quality in his approach  to a selection of tunes which are almost entirely traditional apart from the notable Pachabel’s Frolics (of Martin Hayes, Win Horan and  Eileen Ivers fame) which here takes the form of a slow reel.


There’s a purity and a clarity in John’s playing – listen to the Carolan piece George Brabazon for an example – which simply captures the freshness of mountain dew. However, in addition to that unsullied tone, With Every Breath throughout reveals a master musician at work, comfortable in the tune settings and fully conversant with their intricacies. The accompaniment is spot-on too and is provided by the likes of Paul Doyle (guitars, bouzouki and keyboards), Brian McGrath (piano) and Séamus O’Kane (bodhrán). The last-named also provides a completely apposite bones accompaniment to John’s whistled version of The Lansdowne Lassies.


If there has to be a stand-out track, then it’s probably the rolling, swaying, but never frenetic duet with Dervish’s fiddler, Tom Morrow, on the rambunctious polkas The Kerry Cow/John Walsh’s No. 1/Seán Hennigan’s and the album also offers the chance to here a combination of Martin Wynne’s reels, numbers 1, 2 and 3.


An utter gem, this is one of those independent releases which has probably run its distribution course, but fully merits re-release.


Geoff Wallis


13th August, 2005



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