*Editor's Note: Welcome to season two of Mike Farragher's "TAYSHT" series, his column and podcast exploring Irish America's culture and food. You can read the previous installment here.
By any measure, this has been a banner year for Larry Kirwan.
After more than a decade of workshopping a musical, his “Paradise Square” made its debut on Broadway. Though the show has since closed, it was nominated for 10 Tony awards and snagged one.
“It’s great to see an idea you had from way back, to see everyone come on board creatively, emotionally, was great. It’s also draining as well,” Kirwan says of the experience in our TAYSHT podcast conversation. “There was a discipline required to put 'Paradise Square' together that I grew tired of because I am more of an improv person. I was very proud of the message and the reaction of the show.”
Anyone who is familiar with the former co-founder of Black 47 knows that he shuns sentimentality and looking back, which is why the remastering of "Absolutely and Completely," his late 70s collaboration with fellow native Pierce Turner, is so special.
Turner and Kirwan of Wexford was a collaboration that hatched a cornucopia of musical styles and textures. “The Girl Next Door,” the first hit single about lesbianism, is classic Larry Kirwan storytelling; his character-driven lyrics in his songs read more like mini-novels. You can find elements of Celtic folk, prog rock, and glam as well. One can hear the influences of Bowie and Bolan on some tracks, and the indulgent 11-minute concept pieces like “Travellin’ People” and “Father Reilly” call to mind Genesis binging on Horslips.
You can order "Absolutely and Completely" online here.
I interviewed Pierce Turner last week about the re-release, and we continue our deep dive on this fascinating album with Larry Kirwan.
I also talk to Kirwan about what 2023 looks like; he has no less than three theatrical pieces in the works, all while juggling his weekly SiriusXM show “Celtic Crush," celebrating its 17th year.
And of course, no year would be complete without a guided tour of Ireland. Catch up with all things Larry Kirwan on his Facebook page.
Check out the latest TAYSHT podcast, featuring Larry Kirwan, here and over on Spotify: