Label: Stockfisch SFLP 8080 Heavy Weight High Quality 180g Vinyl Direct Metal
Master LP! Mastering by Hans-Jorg Maucksch at Pauler Acoustics – Pressed in Germany Like all of the Stockfisch releases
Like all of the Stockfisch releases, Gunter Pauler’s audio engineering is exceptional. The delicate tonal quality of the instruments is captured with pristine clarity and rich tones. Guitars, dobros and fretless basses are rendered with dulcet texture. O’Brien’s baritone sounds mellifluous – Audiophile Audition.
Paul O’Brien is a songwriter with deep roots and broad horizons. An English-born child of Irish immigrants, he cut his teeth on Irish music. A natural story teller, Paul O’Brien has developed an eclectic folk style that is broadly appealing and not easily categorized.
“A working class poet from British Columbia with a knack for straightforward language held aloft by a sweet gift of melody … ” – Boulevard Magazine
The second studio album from Stockfisch records is an album of Canadian classics plus a brand new song written by Paul. On this album Paul O’Brien is joined (among others) by master Canadian guitar player and composer Don Ross. On the album there are songs written by Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen to name but a few.
There’s something which connects all the songs on this album: all are by Canadian composers. This is much more than a mere collection of hits – thanks to the poetic, strong and never sentimental interpretations of Paul O’Brien.
Canada is often not taken so seriously – particularly in Europe it is often regarded as a mere extension of the USA, a secret 51st federal state, at the most a paradise for sled dogs and canoe enthusiasts. Paul O’Brien breaks with these clichés on his album “Long May You Sing” and opens up a whole new perspective. He openly admits to have felt like a child in a sweet shop, picking out these songs by the great Canadian composers.
Paul O’Brien about this recording: “This collection of songs is the audio equivalent of the “big kid in the candy store”. To be able to choose my favourite songs written by Canadian writers was one of the most enjoyable experiences I as a singer could have. On the other hand however, it was the most frustrating because there were so many songs I could have, and perhaps should have chosen. I have a feeling this will be but Volume 1 of a long labour of love.
“All of these songs have in some way touched me more than the fact they are amazing pieces of art. It was not simply cherry picking (although when I look now at the track list it looks just like cherry picking). I have taken a few artistic liberties with these tunes, and I truly hope I do not offend anyone, but it seemed to me that I had to try at least to add a little of me to the performances.”
Paul O’Brien was brought up in England, received an Irish-Catholic education and formed his own musical identity in pubs and at festivals, with the inevitable mixture of positive & strengthening, but also negative and sobering experiences. In 2004, enough was enough – he shut his guitar away in its case and moved with his family to Canada, settling high up in the North-West – a barren landscape, the beauty of which he often documents with photos on Facebook (including pics of the beloved family Labrador “Dooley”).
Even at the risk of sounding sentimental: this country and this landscape changed him – changed the musician within – in a very positive and creative sense. He took the banished guitar out of its case and the music flowed. This artistic output reached new heights on his album for Stockfisch Records “Walk Back Home”. The more recent album, “Long May You Sing”, could even top that – it is a hymn to his new way of life.
All songs are by Canadian writers – from Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot and Paul O’Brien right up to Neil Young, whose long “Long May You Run” inspired the title of the album. The original impulse for this project is not a secret. The idea came while thinking about doing something for Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday. As a tribute Paul decided to record a version of “Big Yellow Taxi”.
A big part in this production was played by Canadian master-guitarist and composer Don Ross, who also contributed two solo instrumental pieces. One particular piece just had to be on the album, for all those who wish to celebrate Canada’s independent musical integrity: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. All these songs move Paul emotionally – in his own words “more than just in their function as fantastic works of art”. This project is for him a mixture of thankfulness, fascination and positive energy from the heart of a very special country. the album has the greatness, the potential and the chance as “volume one of a long labour of love’ to go to the top of Paul’s personal hit-parade.