With over 40 years in the music business so far, it's hard to believe that Paul Brady's name isn't more commonly mentioned as it is. His first band, a vocal harmony group called The Johnstons, had a limited run of success in the States including a hit cover version of Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now', before dissolving in the early '70s. His next band Planxty proved to be a springboard to recognition, not only for Brady but just about every key player in the folk genre - Christy Moore, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny to name but three.
But solo life beckoned when Planxty took a hiatus in 1978, prompting the Strabane singer to piece together his award-winning debut album, 'Welcome Here Kind Stranger'. Yet despite the traditionalism of the album, Brady nudged folk aside to make way for more straightforward, but ultimately more impressive and less generic, light-rock and pop.
Other songwriters have frequently queued up to cover Brady's work, including Santana, Tina Turner, Cher, Trisha Yearwood and Bonnie Raitt. His solo work, such as 'Primitive Dance', 'Trick or Treat' (his only Top 75 album in the UK) and 'Spirits Colliding', have stood the test of time as robust grown-up examples of Irish pop. Perhaps his most successful song of recent years has been 'The Long Goodbye', co-written with Ronan Keating. An unlikely combination perhaps, but Keating has himself proven to be a fairly lucrative writer for a while now.
After all these plaudits, it's probably time for another compilation of his best work. 'Dancer in the Fire' is a soul-searching and intimate selection, chosen by the man himself, not so much for their success, but more for their personal meaning and satisfaction. It's out at the end of April, at around the same time as Paul Brady embarks on a lengthy jaunt round the UK.
It stop is Leeds on 28th April, followed by Manchester, Leamington Spa, Gateshead and many more, including new dates in Cambridge, Bristol and others, until Salisbury on 12th May. Tickets are on sale now at various prices, averaging between £19.50 and £25.