Review by Bobby Green

Paul Byrne has been a figure in the Irish music scene since 1979 where he was a drummer for a ‘New Wave’ band called ‘Deaf Actor’ who were a well rated post punk band from Dublin. But it wasn’t until 1983 where he really made his mark as a founding member of In Tua Nua.

It was from here that he established himself firmly into the hearts of the Irish music scene and the players within, working with Irish Rock Royalty such as Shane MacGowan and Sinead O’Connor to name a few. If you were to look into Ireland’s musical family tree you’ll see Paul Byrne’s roots intertwined with so many artists from 1979 to this present day, and for someone who has given so much to the scene it’s surprising that Cruel & Tender Ways is only his debut LP.

On first listen it’s obvious why people want to work with him. The quality in his voice and structure of his song writing is exemplary and the production is world class. As albums go Cruel & Tender Ways is pretty faultless, even the pay what you want option for the albums download leaves you tipping your cap to a man whose talents have enriched the tapestry of the Irish music scene throughout the years.

As 2014 draws to a close and I look back on all of the music that has been coming from Ireland this year it’s easy to point at some of the obvious big hitters and cool indie groovers and say it’s been a great year for music in Ireland. Cruel & Tender Ways adds depth and class to this year’s offerings, I just hope this isn’t a one off from Paul Byrne. For a man who’s spent a lot of his career helping others, this isn’t someone who’s coming out of the shadows, Cruel & Tender Ways is an honest display of warmth, beauty and humour by a man whose talents have helped sculpture the rich musical landscape in Ireland and helped give it a touch of class.

Download it here.