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Paul Joseph Brady (born 19 May 1947, Strabanemarker, County Tyrone, Northern Irelandmarker) is an Irish singer-songwriter, whose work straddles folk and pop. He was into a wide variety of music from an early age. During his career he has passed through several major bands and on to a successful solo phase.


Brady was born in the small town of Strabanemarker in County Tyrone, on the border with County Donegalmarker. Raised a Roman Catholic, he learnt many traditional Irish songs and by the age of eleven he had begun to play guitar, spending hours of his school holidays learning every tune the Shadows and The Ventures recorded, and was also strongly influenced by Chuck Berry. In 1963, Brady began performing as a hotel piano player in Bundoranmarker, Donegalmarker. He attended University College Dublinmarker in 1965 and performed with a string of RnB groups, covering songs by the likes of Ray Charles and James Brown.

Musical career

1960s and 1970s

During his time at college in Dublinmarker, the country saw a huge rise in interest in traditional Irish music. Brady joined the popular Irish band The Johnstons when Michael Johnston left. They moved to Londonmarker, UKmarker in 1969 and subsequently to New York Citymarker in 1972 to expand their audience. Despite some success, Brady returned to Irelandmarker in 1974 to join the Irish group Planxty. This was the band that was to launch the solo careers of Andy Irvine, Liam O'Flynn, Dónal Lunny and Christy Moore. Planxty dissolved and from 1976 to 1978 he played as a duo with Andy Irvine, a relationship which produced Andy Irvine and Paul Brady. The album was hugely successful and garnered much critical acclaim. The next few years saw him establish his popularity and reputation as one of Irelandmarker's best interpreters of traditional songs. His versions of ballads like Arthur McBride and The Lakes of Pontchartrain were considered definitive and are still popular at concerts today.

Solo career

In 1978, Brady released his first solo album, Welcome Here Kind Stranger. It won him critical acclaim and it was awarded the Melody Maker Folk Album of the Year, however, it would prove to be Brady's last album with traditional material. He decided to delve into pop and rock music, and released his first album of this genre in 1981, Hard Station. The completely self-penned record received mixed reviews, some fans of his older traditional material were not convinced, while the majority recognised his great talent of writing rock music. Brady released a number of successful solo albums throughout the 1980s, True For You (1983), Back to the Centre (1985), Primitive Dance (1987). By the end of the decade, Brady was recognised and accepted as a respected performer and songwriter. His songs were being covered by a number of other artists, including Santana and Dave Edmunds. He wrote "Paradise Is Here" especially for Tina Turner's Break Every Rule album of 1986 and was a favourite songwriter among such artists as Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt, who would do a duet with Brady on his 1991 LP, Trick or Treat. Brady, in turn, wrote a couple of songs for Raitt's album Luck of the Draw, including the title track.

Brady released two albums in the 1990s Trick or Treat and Spirits Colliding. They were met with critical acclaim. Trick or Treat was not his first solo album, but it was his first for a major label, Fontana/Mercury Records, and received a lot of promotion. As a result, most critics considered it his debut and noted that the record benefited from the expertise of experienced studio musicians as well as producer Gary Katz, who worked with the rock group Steely Dan. Rolling Stone, after praising Brady's earlier but little-known solo efforts, called Trick or Treat Brady's "most compelling collection."

Brady went on to record several other albums and collaborated with Bonnie Raitt and Richard Thompson. In 2006 he collaborated with Cara Dillon on the track The Streets of Derry from her album After the Morning. He has also worked with Fiachra Trench.

He performed Gaelic songs as a character in the 2002 Matthew Barney film Cremaster 3.


In 2009 Brady received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Ulster in recognition of his services to traditional Irish music and songwriting.

Solo discography

With Andy Irvine

  • Andy Irvine and Paul Brady (1976)


  • The Transatlantic Sessions Series 3 (2007) (various artists)
  • The Paul Brady Songbook (2002)

External links


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