Dublin born singer Paul Carroll is a wandering troubadour, a musician who has lived and performed in Ireland, Australia and now settled in his adopted home in the USA.
He's one of those rare singers who can bring an audience to a halt, engaging everyone in the room with his tales of Dublin streets, ballads of freedom, songs of revolution, unrequited love and heartache.
Paul grew up in Dublin during the ballad boom of the sixties where the pubs were packed with folk singers and ballad groups. It is there that he found a love for the music and songs that were to be part of his life.
He credits his mother for giving him the gift of song. She was a fine singer in her own right and he remembers fondly the “hooleys” in the house.
Paul emigrated to Australia in the early 70’s but he never strayed very far from the music, singing in the folk clubs of Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. During his time in Melbourne he was a founding member of the Celtic band, Poteen, who were Australia’s premiere Celtic band, sharing the stage with icons like Eric Bogle, The Dubliners, The Furey’s and Boys of the Lough.
Paul made his home in New Hampshire, USA, for nearly 29 years and in recent times has relocated to Phoenix, Arizona.
The singer’s place:
There were times when the singer's place at the session table was assured. Order amongst the musicians was easily obtained; the seemingly endless stream of reels, jigs, hornpipes, mazurkas, slip jigs, schottisches, waltzes and god know what else were momentarily suspended whilst the singer's stories took centre stage. There's silence among the company, allowing perhaps some brief interludes of contemplation.
Good singers will always make those moments special and memorable, good singers' voices will always penetrate the circle and seep into the outer bar of endless chatter, and sure enough, if you're good enough, there's some special attention given.
Good singers will always be given that recognition, lesser beings, perhaps not quite so. My good old mate Paul Carroll is one such singer. He never failed to stop the pub, or the hall, or the festivals.
Of course this was in the good old days when we were hitting our straps, well we were younger anyway. Paul Carroll and I first met when we played together in a Melbourne Irish band called Poteen; Melbourne was our oyster, and Carroll was our singer. It was the late seventies/early eighties, and traditional music was a consuming passion among our ragtag multinational band of tricksters.
But Paul was the real singer; the ghosts of Dublin streets, he had ballads of freedom and of union struggle, songs of revolution, bush songs and tales of sentiment and heartache, unrequited love and murder. Enough to say, the singer's place in Poteen was never in doubt.
But that was before he left behind good times and many sad friends in the search for a new life in the U.S. of A. And Paul's wanderlust was over, family and kin, cementing the shoes to the streets of Boston.
And now, all these years later, here he is, still in the singer's place, on a compact disc no less, still performing these great songs with style and panache. There's a wonderful selection of material here, a few are new to me and many are not, they're beautifully presented and produced, with an exceptionally sympathetic group of musicians on the crew and the captain himself in exceptional form. It's a pleasure indeed to hear that marvellous voice again, a rare treat and an honour to supply some few words to launch this bold and brave endeavour. Good luck.
- John McAuslan