Paddy Casey Amen (So Be It)

The genre of Irish soul/folk singers has a spotty history at best. Of course, there's Van Morrison and the Waterboys' Mike Scott, both of whom have as many valleys as they do peaks. Most practitioners, however, simply yelp and try to imply emotion rather than expressing it - Hothouse Flowers, anyone? Young pup Paddy Casey steers clear of those shortcomings and boldly steps to the plate on his debut album, already a multi-award winner in his native land. He has a great voice that simply is, and doesn't overextend himself trying to prove his soul cred. The music itself is stirring and acoustic-based, and even his predictable forays into electronic ornamentation - inevitably including transparent turntablism - sound complimentary rather than a cloying attempt to be contemporary. Amen sustains a captivating mood throughout, one that sounds unique and extremely promising. (Sony)