Jimmy Crowley has been a leading light in Irish folk scene since the release in 1977 of his debut album “The Boys of Fairhill”. He and his band Stokers Lodge presented the street ballads of Cork city along with ornate folk songs of the rural hinterland of Cork and Kerry in an exciting orchestration of uilleann pipes, concertina, autoharp, harmonium, mandolin, bouzouki and guitar in their native accent. After their second album, Camphouse Ballads the band started performing at folk festivals and on TV in Ireland, Britain and America.
When not recording and writing his own songs, Jimmy visited the rich Gaelic hinterland of Munster learning his profession as a bard loving the Irish language. Songs he learnt in the Irish speaking parts of Munster found their way onto his first Irish language album, Jimí Mo Mhíle Stór, produced by Dónal Lunny for Gael Linn records.
Crowley has a fascination with the theatre in particular musical drama which culminated in writing a ballad opera called ‘Red Patriots’, which was well-received and ran successfully at the Triskil Arts Centre in Cork City.
Jimmy Crowley had established as a stylish songwriter. The song he wrote about the sailing ship Asgard, My Love is a Tall Ship, was used in the documentary film on the Tall Ships’ Race made by R.T.É.
His made his first live solo album, Uncorked and at the same time the setup of his own record company, Freestate Records. The Coast of Malibar endorsed both his love for the sea and his affection for the double-string instruments. His new album, Irish Eyes, is a swing-jazz version of John Mc Cormack, Bing Crosby and Flanaghan Brothers Irish-American sentimental songs which Jimmy feels are part of Irish song. Here he breathes fresh life into songs like Danny Boy and When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.
Almost all of Crowley’s older vinyl albums have now been digitally remastered and Freestate Records present an excellent catalogue of his recorded work. – Damien Brett