Recording information: Windmill Lane Studio, Dublin.
After Renaud reestablished himself with Boucan d'Enfer (2002) and Rouge Sang (2006), a pair of critically acclaimed, chart-topping albums released after a long battle with depression and alcoholism that put his career on hold for several years, he took the chance to record Molly Malone: Balade Irlandaise, a collection of Irish folk songs adapted to French. A longtime fan of Irish music, Renaud had wanted to record an album like this for years. In fact, one of his greatest hits, "La Ballade Nord-Irlandaise," is an Irish folk song, and in some ways, this album builds upon that performance. Molly Malone: Balade Irlandaise is impressively authentic, including Irish standards such as the traditional "Molly Malone" and the more recent "Willie McBride" (aka "The Green Fields of France"), along with quite a few obscurities and a new version of "La Ballade Nord-Irlandaise." Best of all, the musical instrumentation is Celtic in style. The opening song, "Vagabonds," is an instance of the album at its finest. Renaud sings in French but adopts something of an Irish accent, singing these songs as a true Irishman might sing them. ~ Jason Birchmeier