Paul J. Bolger has not rested on his laurels since releasing his self-titled album on Canadian label Wolfe Island Records in the summer of 2020. He’s back with a collection of 10 fiery, emotional and vaguely personal songs which were recorded in Ireland under the guiding eyes and ears of producer / guitar maestro Dave Molloy. Paul wanted to widen his musical approach but work with a smaller group of musicians and Molloy has helped him do just that. Recorded The Cellar Club, Newry in between other creative projects Paul found himself knee deep in, Hard Truth was a slow grower.
Four of the ten songs were previously released on a limited-edition EP in 2018 and the new remixed and remastered versions on here feature the wonderful vocals of Della Mannion. The album also showcases the mighty talents of Ron O’Flynn (bass), Michael Black (drums / percussion) and pianist Cathleen Flynn creating a blend of Irish vibe and rootsy rock and roll that give PJB’s songs a fresh urgency and ambition. “I wanted to widen my sound on Hard Truth with a smaller band,” says Paul. “As my last effort was a big team, yet intimate, Canadian / Irish / American affair, I wanted to see how far I could push these songs with fewer people performing. If my first record was a slightly keyboard driven whisper, then Hard Truth is an audacious guitar led shout.” Special guests on the album are Horslip’s Barry Devlin on vocals and Rónán Ó Snodaigh from Kila on bodhrán.
“In my collection, it’s going to sit on the shelf with Paul Weller, Bryan Adams and Lucinda Williams…. and I think it will be very comfortable there.” (The Rocking Magpie Blog)
2022 is looking like a busy year ahead for Paul as he is planning some showcase gigs around Ireland, the UK and further afield. There will also be a string of singles from the album leading up to and a little beyond the album release date – all with accompanying promo videos made by Paul and his creative team in Ireland. These will be interspersed with a run of sporadically release live jam videos released to give some of Paul’s songs, and a few well-heeled covers, a semi acoustic spin. He also has a tome of a graphic novel coming out from Dark Horse Comics in March. Titled HOUND, it retells the life and times of mythical Irish warrior Cú Chulainn. Paul illustrated the book and co-wrote it with his creative brother from another mother, Barry Devlin of Celtic Rock heroes Horslips.
Paul J Bolger is what some might call a ‘Renaissance Man’, even if mentioning that makes him feel a tad self-conscious. Everything Paul has done since entering the entertainment industry in the late 1980s has been from the heart. Whether it was lending his drawing, directing and design skills to films, books and graphic novels, the visual arts or writing, recording and performing his songs, Paul J. Bolger is a consummate creator.
“The rave reviews for Hard Truth are well deserved. Paul Bolger has put together a brilliant rock album. Do yourself a favour…play it and play it loud…” Barry Devlin, Horslips
Paul J. Bolger’s New LP, Hard Truth, available now on all Digital and Physical Formats.
Stream the Hard Truth album here:
Backstage at the Royal Theatre, Waterford, August 12th
The Phil Lynott Convention in The Well, Dublin August 20th