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Album Review

Genesis flourished upon the exit of creative frontman Peter Gabriel. Runrig managed to continue despite losing their most identifiable member, lead singer Donnie Munro. Similarly, Paddy Goes to Holyhead, one of Germany's premier folk-rock bands, found themselves without their original lead singer and chief songwriter, Harald Schmidt. Questions arose, like: How will they continue? Will they even continue to be known by the same name? In addition to Schmidt, two other members of the previous lineup from Paddy Tales exited the band — multi-instrumentalist Helen Mannert and talented young bassist Mark Riese. Only drummer Kalle Spriestersbach remained, so under his auspices a completely new rendering of this longtime group was ushered in. The seemingly irreplaceable Schmidt was succeeded by Mark Patrick, whose more pure and pop-oriented voice is diametrically opposed to the gruff, weathered, and boozy voice of Harald Schmidt. Patrick also assumes the role of guitarist and contributing songwriter. Mannert's replacement was the equally talented Jens Kempgens, who plays fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, cello, and viola. He particularly shines on "Fiddler on the Rooftop" and "The House of the Rising Sun." Through all the changes, the band's style remains essentially unchanged — original folk-rock with Celtic touches coupled with traditional Irish/English folk songs. Lyrically this new installment of Paddy Goes to Holyhead sings of themes more obviously based in faith and optimism rather than the tales of drinking, roaming, and recklessness forwarded by Schmidt and his cohorts. Despite Red-Letter Days' satisfying results, longtime fans of this band might prescribe a few shots of whiskey and a rumpled shirt for Patrick before they completely welcome him with open arms.

Red-Letter Days, Paddy Goes To Holyhead Featuring Mark Patrick
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