Buddy Mondlock @ Whelan’s - 6th September 2013

On a return trip to Dublin, this talented artist and song writer talks about the special community of musicians, touring his songs and living it from the heart. A view that pretty much sums up the special vibe that is created at a Buddy Mondlock gig, with the connection between musicians and audience creating a warm feeling that lingers long after the show has ended.

A regular visitor to these shores over the years, Buddy Mondlock displays the writing sensitivity of a true poet and the self- effacing humour of a gentle spirit who smiles, both broadly and often, in sharing his gift of song writing and playing with a very appreciative audience.

We are introduced to Mark Lindaur on vocal harmonies and a fretless, five string Bass, playing an understated and impressive accompaniment to these vignettes of life and love. We learn that this talented musician is a schoolboy friend of Buddy Mondlock and has played side by side with him through a lifetime of various experiences.

It is in the telling of the stores surrounding the songs that we gain a true insight into of the pedigree of Buddy Mondlock  as he speaks of collaborating with Guy Clark, Garth Brooks, and Tom Kimmel, Jim Tullio, Nanci Griffith and others, in a way that is not meant to boast but rather just telling it like it is.

The songs are truly captivating, displaying humorous, empathetic and wry observations on life and an understanding in the fragility of humankind as we try to rise above the daily challenge.

We are treated to songs such as The Holes You Leave, Coming Down in the Rain, No Choice, The Kid, I Count You My Friend, The Cats at the Coliseum, Poetic Justice, Magnolia Street, Nobody Knows Nothing, Fence in a Storm... No end to the quality of the words and music.

It is all very understated in a ‘less is more way’ and the new recording, The Memory Wall gets a decent airing with new songs like The Ugly One, What Do I Know,  Some Kind of Hope and Central Park, a song shared with his Dad in the writing.

A Canary’s Song is prefaced by a story of sharing the same manager as Garth Brooks and the vagaries of the music industry that have seen one artist rise to the top of the commercial tree while the other continues in smaller venues, in service of the eternal flame of creativity.

Who is the poorer I ask myself at the end of it all -especially when it is all about the heart – right?

For all the years served in the trenches and all the shows where his constant good humour and supremely honed songs and words have taken flight, I applaud Buddy Mondlock and urge you to check him out when he is next in your neighbourhood.

Just a final word for local artist Josh Johnston who opened for Buddy and played  brief but heartfelt set on keyboards, displaying a fine talent with his personal songs and view of life and relationships. It is always good to see local talent given an opportunity and Buddy Mondlock was very generous in inviting Josh up on stage to sit in on one of the encores.

All told, this was a special evening of music, stories and song.

Review and photo by Paul McGee