Kilkenny-based singer-songwriter JP Ryan second album ‘Take A Walk With Me’ is due for release on February 28th 2014, and is attempting to replicate that instantly recognizable Nashville country sound, but with his own brand of Irish folk thrown into the mix. His latest album ‘Take a Walk With Me’ is no different – unfortunately – featuring ten nostalgia-tinged tunes about family, hope for the future, and “northern girls and southern boys.”
While country isn’t exactly a genre known for being ground-breaking, it would be nice to hear something different being brought to the table every now and again, both musically and lyrically. A lot of songs end up sounding too similar, and the they all end up as something of a collective blur like something you’d hear at the back end of a pub down the country. Ryan pulls out every heartbroken metaphorical cliché in the book; sinking ships, stormy seas, ex-lovers taking different roads, etc. It leads one to think that perhaps Ryan has become a bit too inspired by his adult contemporary counterparts across the pond.
That’s not to undermine the instrumentation on ‘Take a Walk With Me,’ however. There are nice melodies, intricate guitar, soft piano… It’s all expected, sure, but that isn’t to say it’s not pleasant and something you could envision yourself tapping your feet along to. That said, country hasn’t been embraced in Ireland in the way the younger generations have in America. Songs like This Heart of Mine and Tell Me Where You’re Going are all great examples showcasing that ‘Take a Walk With Me’ has some fine, catchy songs, but there’s too much comfort in the conventions of the genre to keep things interesting all the way through.