REVIEW: Paul Hayes, ‘pH Balance’, CD

It’s a clever title for this latest CD release from Llangolman based traditional folk singer and songwriter Paul Hayes.

It references the chemical balance between acidity and alkinity found in life, the unity of opposites – the ying and the yang – and also the balance found in the life of Paul Hayes (PH) himself.

In other words, it’s a sort of concept album, and I don’t use the term in a pejorative sense, for once again Paul has assembled an album that showcases his undoubted talent as a singer, a songwriter, and an instrumentalist to great effect. The album is both melancholy and uplifting as it mines the experiences of someone who “in his time plays many parts”.

What makes this album so endearing is that the lyrical content, which is obviously so particular to Paul’s own life, resonates generally with all of us folks.

As always with Paul’s work, he seemingly effortlessly marries the lyrics with the instrumental accompaniment, which on this occasion is all his own, and is recorded at his own Terrace Studio.

There are quite a few acoustic instruments in the mix, maybe the odd synthesiser, but ever present are Paul’s two favoured instruments – the banjo and the acoustic guitar. Paul seems to like a bright, plangent, ringing tone to the guitar which sits well with the banjo’s musical range.

There are seven self-penned songs on the album and two instrumentals.

The songs deal with Paul’s musings on his own life, those of family members, loneliness, nostalgia, and the idea of what constitutes ‘home’ – the title of one of the most powerful songs on the album in which Paul movingly addresses one of the big issues of our time, that of refugees.

The instrumentals are dedicated to Paul’s grandchildren. Its apt that there are no words for they have their lives before them, canvasses yet to be painted.

For more information visit

BB Skone