Reviews

"Brian Kay moved effortlessly from classical poise to boisterous rumpus, depending on what constellation of performers was in play. His versatility seems limitless, with no drop in intensity from one style to the next. He is also a rare force: a singer equally strong as a player of plucked instruments. He was able to sing convincingly aside Harrison and Player in a sea shanty, while taking quieter solo moments elsewhere with poise."

-Seen & Heard International

 

"The impact of Brian Kay on the group's sound can't be overestimated, considering that his vocals are so central. His fresh, youthful tenor does much to give the group its contemporary character and lays to rest any doubt as to its vitality...Elevated by a characteristically strong vocal by Kay, Barley Moon opens with a robust take on “John Barleycorn,” which listeners of a certain age might already know from the version Traffic included on its 1970 album John Barleycorn Must Die. A gentler side to the group emerges thereafter in the 17th-century ballad “In A Garden So Green,” where Kay's vocal, faithful to the song's lyrical tone, bears some resemblance to the singing of Fun's Nate Ruess, a detail that in itself testifies to the contemporary nature of Ayreheart's persona. At the darker end of the emotional spectrum lies Dowland's sorrowful dirge “Fortune My Foe”; his “Come Again,” on the other hand, fully captures the eagerness and excitement of romantic ardour, especially when conveyed so expressively by Kay's vocal."

-Textura.org

"One of the most enchanting aspects of this recording is the voice of Brian Kay. Singing in a countertenor voice, his singing has a sinewy otherworldness which is hard to describe on paper. At times he deviates from the text and tune to improvise with his own unique mouth music. His singing is equally good whether performing folk or art song and he is a master storyteller. His ability to convey a good storyline is best shown in Twa Corbies and the John Dowland song Come Again. "

-fROOTS Magazine

"Kay’s compelling, approachable delivery here is no different than his treatment of such folk songs as “John Barleycorn,” perhaps best known from the rock group Traffic, and “Nottamun Town,” covered by Bob Dylan. In fact, Kay’s rendition of Dowland’s “Come Again” is one of the most conversational recordings in recent memory, his voice catching ever so slightly in cognizance of the narrator’s lovelorn pining and pausing with an almost audible wink before the word “delay.”"

-Early Music America

"Brian Kay brings the weird tale of brewery to focus with his winsome voice."

 -Audiophile Audition

 

 

"From start to finish, Ayreheart breathed new life into each tune — in no small part due to vocalist Brian Kay’s incredible delivery of the texts. Singing with a pure, centered sound and impeccable diction, he’s a natural-born storyteller. At times a the lead vocalist of a rock band, at times an art-song singer, and at others a shy poet, he had you hanging onto his every word. Coupled with the excellent musicianship of McFarlane, Morris, and Rucht, his attributes made for a memorable listening experience."

 -Cleveland.com

 

 

"Brian Kay’s lead singing and lute playing in “If I were a blackbird” created more moments of emotional connection. His was a natural, heartfelt take on an old Scottish— or was it American? —folk tune."  

-The Boston Musical Intelligencer

 

 

"Although the two fine trained singers were never less than outstanding, the most affecting vocal performance was "Nottamun Town," sung by Brian Kay, who accompanied himself on the primitive long-necked dulcimer and made the song's nonsensical words seem sinister and tragic." 

-The Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

 

"Singing became the program's highlight, along with Kay doing a masterful improvisation on his oud" 

-Nuvo Indianapolis

 

 

"Brian Kay was outstanding in a Toccata (dubbed "del Giorno" by Sorrell) by Giovanni Kapsberger. Kay and Simms melded well together in a Ciaccona for two guitars by Francesco Corbetto."

-Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

 

"Guitarist Brian Kay served up a toccata by Giovanni Kapsberger with a sound and approach reminiscent of contemporary banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck."

-BachTrack

 

 

"The balance of instrumental and vocal numbers was expertly sustained. The panache of the main featured instrumentalists — lutenist Brian Kay, recorder player Justin Godoy, and viol players Jeffrey Grabelle and Niccolo Seligmann — was continually in evidence. This was idiomatic playing that veered into an almost offhand virtuosity from time to time." 

-Jay Harvey Upstage

 

 

 "A Sephardic song, Quando el rey Nimrod, was introduced by Brian Kay’s brilliant oud playing"

-Cleveland Classical Review

 

 

 "An far-ranging oud solo and an exciting improvisation"

-Cleveland Classical Review

 

 

"Instrumental guests also stood out, including Brian Kay, who was a real artist on the oud, a Middle Eastern cousin of the lute."

-The Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

 

Hesperus' The Hunchback of Notre Dame named one of the top classical concerts of the year by the Dispatch!

"Hesperus, Nov. 7, Drexel Theatre: The group’s performance of its early-music score for The Hunchback of Notre Dame was full of clever repertoire choices and brilliant playing."

-The Dispatch

 

 

"The medieval English and Appalachian ballad Nottamun Town (arr. Brian Kay) features the long neck dulcimer of Brian Kay to which he also provides the vocals,  bringing a more American (or rather Appalachian) feel to this mediaeval English ballad with much fine fire and passion showing what a skilled instrumentalist he is."

-theclassicalreviewer.blogspot.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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© 2018 by Brian Kay