It was June of 2016 when I first came across the music of Ailbhe Reddy as the No Encore podcast featured her single, Distrust, as a singer to watch out for in the coming years. The song instantly sounded like something special, a simplistic guitar riff opens the song before Reddy’s distinctive voice begins to talk to the listener about a relationship that is slowly starting to fall apart. Reddy pulls no punches with her songwriting and the imagery created leaves us in no doubt as to the affect that the relationship is having on Reddy. The single was accompanied with a minimalist video of Reddy standing in a decrepid room that is slowly falling apart, a perfect accompaniment to the sentiments of the song.
This single would proceed the release of the Hollowed Out Sea EP by Reddy in late June 2016, a release that was greeted by critical acclaim on its release, and it was easy to see why. The EP consisted of six expertly crafted pieces of music each charting different complications that can arise from the relationships in our lives. Keepsake was the track on this EP that had the strongest effect on this writer. The song reflects on the feeling as a relationship is ending when you desperately hope that you are after having a lasting impression on the other person and that they will want to hold on to some part of you as they move on. Reddy’s lyrics are, again, raw and the instrumentation simply creates an atmosphere of loss and sadness.
The release of this EP was followed up by, in the opinion of this commentator, the best song from Ailbhe Reddy so far, the single Relent. Released in early January of this year, Reddy sings to us about the effects of a failed relationship with a fragility and isolation that is extremely compelling listening, and when this track was performed to a packed out Ruby Sessions just a few days after its release the room wasleft entranced. It was this release that signalled Reddy as one of the standout acts in Irish music at present.
Clearly, this commentator was not the only one to sit up and take notice of the music being created as a date in the prestigious Sugar Club venue in Dublin on 22 February 2017 sold out in advance. Being at the show, it was clear to see why. Reddy can often cut a diminitive figure on stage as she surrounds herself with her incredibly talented band, but there is a charisma about her as she performs that keeps all the eyes in the audience transfixed on a performer who seems to be spilling the contents of her soul on the stage. Between songs, Reddy’s dry wit helps to further bring the audience on board with her as she recounts humorous anecdotes about her songwriting process and mercilessly embarasses her friends and family in the audience who have come to support her.
The Attached to Memory EP released in May 2017, after being premiered the previous April, was again a sign of the quality of song writing that Reddy is capable of with the lead single, Fingertips, again demonstrating the ability of Reddy to talk with emotion in her music, this time looking at the subject of female sexuality.
Ailbhe Reddy continues her musical journey with a host of live dates across the country throughout the summer months, including numerous festival performances such Glastonbury, Body & Soul, and Kilkenny Alternative Arts Festival, to name but a few (full dates can be found on her website). Make sure to get to a live show if you can, you are sure to not be disappointed…