Theatre Royal, 12th August 2022, 8.30pm

Paul J. Bolger has not rested on his laurels since releasing his self-titled album on Canadian label Wolfe Island Records in the summer of 2020. He’s back with a collection of 10 fiery, emotional and vaguely personal songs which were recorded in Ireland under the guiding eyes and ears of producer / guitar maestro Dave Molloy. Paul wanted to widen his musical approach but work with a smaller group of musicians and Molloy has helped him do just that. Recorded The Cellar Club, Newry in between other creative projects Paul found himself knee deep in, Hard Truth was a slow grower.

Four of the ten songs were previously released on a limited-edition EP in 2018 and the new remixed and remastered versions on here feature the wonderful vocals of Della Mannion. The album also showcases the mighty talents of Ron O’Flynn (bass), Michael Black (drums / percussion) and pianist Cathleen Flynn creating a blend of Irish vibe and rootsy rock and roll that give PJB’s songs a fresh urgency and ambition. “I wanted to widen my sound on Hard Truth with a smaller band,” says Paul. “As my last effort was a big team, yet intimate, Canadian / Irish / American affair, I wanted to see how far I could push these songs with fewer people performing. If my first record was a slightly keyboard driven whisper, then Hard Truth is an audacious guitar led shout.” Special guests on the album are Horslip’s Barry Devlin on vocals and Rónán Ó Snodaigh from Kíla on bodhrán.

·        €15, 051 874402

The Theatre Royal, The Mall Waterford.

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