Castle Cottage - 2004 - 50 minutes

The last few years have seen a new generation of Irish acts doing well for themselves and, on the strength of his brilliant debut album, Donegal man Seán Needham deserves a large helping of that success.

A seasoned performer, having appeared with the likes of The Hothouse Flowers, Tracy Chapman and Diana Krall, Needham sounds wonderfully relaxed and confident as the album opens with 'Throw It To The Wind', but he is also sincere. You immediately get the sense that there is nothing manufactured about this artist.

The subject matter is universal and easy to identify with. Themes of love, religion and addiction are explored with sensitivity and understanding and tracks like 'Province Without A Soul', 'Mother Mary' and 'Not Your Doctor' feel as though they come from the heart.

Needham seamlessly melds haunting Irish airs with elements of rock and country. The result is a collection that should please traditionalists as well as a more mainstream audience.

With this offering, Needham has proved that he is a singer-songwriter to watch. Definitely a rising star.

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: Throw It To The Wind - Province Without A Soul - Hey Juliet - Give Praise - Shame On You - Paying For Your Loving - Tired Sleeping - Mother Mary - Not Your Doctor - Refugee - Dearest You - Let Me Take You Back