Paddy Dennehy | The Music Diary

Paddy Dennehy is a folk singer-songwriter, originally from Limerick, now based in Cork. He recently announced a new album ‘Love and Be Brave’, which will be released in the spring of 2023, and shared the first song, ‘Heaven Not Far’.

Stream the new single (Spotify):


As a child, Paddy Dennehy would rush to get a guitar or play the piano loudly in hopes you could hear him and ask for a song before he left. He was often asked to play more quietly or to stop “hitting” the piano. Another frequent suggestion was that shouting out the notes he found difficult to sing didn’t make them sound better. He was not imbued with a keen sense of subtlety or restraint but he has been working on it for years.

He always loved songwriting and was lucky enough to have a wonderful piano teacher who stayed late to listen to what he had written that week. He studied classical piano but it was the little extra at the end of the course he lived every Thursday for almost fifteen years. He learned music theory, the shape of songs, how a melody worked and didn’t work, why you had to learn your scales.

So it’s no surprise that Paddy followed his mentor into teaching. It sometimes requires late rehearsals, writing, or returning from a gig after finishing a day’s work – but it was worth every minute of lost sleep. There’s nothing like a five-year-old telling you, not asking you, to tie his shoes to keep you in line. There’s also nothing like the feeling of being connected with an audience.

Paddy’s musical influences have changed a lot over time. Boyzone does not retain the place they once held in his heart. He grew up listening to everything his parents, sisters and brother left unattended in the house. Her first real sense of connection to music was listening to Mick Flannery perform “Evening Train” on the “Late Late Show”. The next day he walked into HMV in Limerick with his walkman and bought this album. He listened to it all the way home and for weeks after, over and over again. From there there is a clear trajectory of influences – Mick Flannery led it to Tom Waits. Tom Waits led Paddy to Randy Newman who would lead to Nick Cave. Other influences would surface in later years, but Flannery, Waits, Newman and Cave formed the bedrock of Paddy’s music.

Paddy’s debut album “Little Light” was released in June 2020 to critical acclaim and a well-documented pandemic. He has received rave reviews from Hot Press Magazine in Ireland, Folk Radio UK, Rolling Stone France to name a few and has learned to teach children while wearing an FFP2 face mask. The songs on this album and its lucky stars allowed Paddy to share a stage with Mick Flannery, Glen Hansard, Imelda May and Lisa Hannigan.

‘Love and Be Brave’ is the title of his second album which will be released in the spring of 2023. When he started writing this album, Paddy was living alone on his father’s small farm in County Limerick. It was far from anywhere and gave him plenty of time to think, write and play with everything at full volume. It was both cathartic and empowering. By the time he had finished the last song that would go on to be on the album, Paddy was lucky enough to get engaged and move back to Cork. Her upcoming album is a collection of songs about what it means to fall in love, loneliness and finding hope.

NEXT LIVE DATES (with full band):

Monroe’s Galway – October 28
Upstairs Whelan’s – December 11
Upstairs Dolan’s – December 17