Artist: Christy Moore.
History: Named as a hero and influence by members of U2 and the Pogues, singer-guitarist Moore has been at the front of two revolutions in Irish folk music. He was already an established figure on the English and Irish pub circuit when sessions for his second album, "Prosperous," led to his formation of Planxty with Uillean pipes player Liam O'Flynn, mandolinist Andy Irvine and multi-instrumentalist/producer Donal Lunny in 1971. Planxty reshaped Irish acoustic music with unique mixtures of traditional and modern instruments and styles, opening the way for such other folk innovators as the Bothy Band (which also included Lunny) and Clannad. After three Planxty albums, Moore left the band, but has participated in several reunion projects. Returning to solo performing, Moore developed a passionate, often politically fueled approach (he is a strong supporter of the Irish Republican Army and of a united Ireland), recording several albums with Lunny producing. In 1981 he formed Moving Hearts, an electric band whose repertoire ranged from traditional tunes to Jackson Browne's "After the Deluge," and which had nearly as much impact on Irish music as did Planxty. After two albums with this group, Moore again returned to his solo career. Today, the 41-year-old native of Newbridge, County Kildare ranks as a true superstar in his home country.
Sound: Sometimes called the Irish Woody Guthrie, Moore offers bittersweet vocals and pointed views that make him a contrast to such happy-go-lucky leprechauns as the Irish Rovers. His solo albums are characterized by a subdued, seething anger at injustices in Irish and global politics. "Ride On," his most recent album, features two songs written by Bobby Sands, the IRA leader who fasted to death in prison in 1981, and one by Irish poet W. B. Yeats, among songs by Moore and other contemporary writers. Over the years Moore and Lunny have devised increasingly inventive settings for Moore's rich, clear voice and the generally tradition-based melodies. Some recent material has sounded almost like a scaled-down folk version of U2. In the solo acoustic format of his Southern California debut, expect a panoply of styles with no emotional or political punches pulled.
Shows: Robert Frost Auditorium in Culver City, Friday.