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Sinnott adapting to frontman role

"THIS isn't a very formal affair," says Declan Sinnott, tuning his guitar. The Wexford musician asks if we're cold.

Apparently, it's chilly enough on stage for Sinnott to consider wearing a pair of gloves left behind by the support act. If the 62-year-old was any more laid-back about this, his first gig of 2014, he'd be asleep.

A founding member of Horslips and Moving Hearts, Sinnott is still getting used to this solo lark. For more than a decade, the guitarist and producer steered Mary Black's career. And then there's his work with Christy Moore. But a solo album (I Love the Noise it Makes) on which Sinnott could sing his own songs didn't arrive until 2012. Now, it looks like there may be a follow-up later this year. Time to test the material.

Long, grey hair, bushy beard, faded shirt – Sinnott isn't fussy about his appearance.

The same goes for stage presence. It's just two artists (Sinnott's collaborator, the sublime Vickie Keating on backing vocals) seated comfortably, performing for each other and, more importantly, for us.

The leading man talks of nerves, but It's Just the Noise it Makes – the first taste of blues tonight – does away with that. An amusing storyteller, Sinnott talks about his dream to sell a song (All the Way Back) to Taylor Swift (so he can retire) and makes jokes involving sheep, Facebook and Townes Van Zandt.

enthralling

He's also getting over a cold, so we'll have to excuse the odd splutter. Sure, he occasionally loses the run of himself (novelty T-shirt conversations are awkward, and sucking on a lozenge during a gig is not cool, Declan) but there's little wrong with the song selection (a warm cover of Bob Dylan's One More Cup of Coffee included). That lovely, soft voice of his is in good shape, too.

Sweet and enthralling, Blood is Rushing Through These Veins shows just what this man can do with his famed instrument.

As a guitarist, he's unrivalled. As a composer of dimly-lit, twin-vocal folk numbers, Sinnott doesn't re-write rules, but he is, nonetheless, a player worthy of attention.

Granted, he'd be doing well to straighten up and to remember that modesty isn't always a virtue. You sense he's more looking forward to getting back to the aforementioned Christy Moore (they play Dublin tonight). But he's quite good out in front. That second album sounds promising – let's hear it in full. HHHII


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