Sometimes the pull of artistic creativity can prove too strong to resist. For Ray O’Callaghan, that was certainly the case. The respected Cork guitarist has been involved with various part-time bands right back to the early 1980s. But, for the past three years, Ray has been honing his craft as a songwriter and, this year, he finally decided that the only way to realise a dream is to really go for it full tilt.
For Ray O’Callaghan, that meant giving up the day job and devoting himself full-time to music. Having found and assembled three like-minded musicians in Mick O’Hagan, Barry Lawlor and Mark Geary, the group “Accidental Tourist” was born in June 2004, swiftly followed by a debut album in early summer.
The 12 O’Callaghan-penned songs on “friday afternoon” embrace a flowing range of styles: from acoustic folk, through blues and gentle Latin jazz colours, to strong pop, rock and rhythm’n’blues. O’Callaghan’s singing is clean and relaxed, sometimes just so laid back a la Chris Rea, sometimes more gritty but somehow retaining it’s distinctive graceful fluidity.
The common denominator within these songs is their fresh, feelgood approach, their easy-on-the-ear quality. In large part, their strong melodic content commands attention, even before one tunes in to the lyrics.
But when one does tune in, it’s a rewarding experience. There is clearly a lot to be said for waiting to savour life’s rich tapestry before rushing into songwriting.
Ray O’Callaghan’s expressive reflections on love, life, nature, and the pursuit of happiness, are elegantly-crafted, simply sophisticated, never pretentious. In no way are they intended to shake up our world - but they might just stimulate your soul.
The overall sensibility is one of optimistic originality, mature musings couched in a diversity of timeless musical frameworks, the most surprising thing being that such attractive self-assuredness is a first effort.
Some of these songs are just waiting to be covered, some could be mistaken for standards. Ray O’Callaghan and Accidental Tourist have done their bit, all we have to do is just sit back and enjoy.