Áine Burns Releases New Single

Áine Burns is well aware of the power musical tradition holds. Her upbringing in an intensely musical Irish family taught the Bundoran native early about the deep rewards that her homeland’s folk song traditions offer singers and musicians alike. Her take on the classic Irish folk song “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” defies the years and breathes new life into this venerable composition. She doesn’t let the fact that it’s a relatively familiar tune with countless earlier versions inhibit her from putting her stamp on the performance.


The connections between Celtic music and the bluegrass idiom are well-established and often discussed. There’s no need to rehash them here. The seamless transition of “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” into a contemporary bluegrass format comes through from the first. Burns and her husband/collaborator Danny Burns develop the track in a patient and thoughtful fashion. Lavishing great care on the progression and entwining of the song’s limited instrumentation weaves a delicate spell from the outset, and Burns’ effortless vocals are the crowning touch on the cut’s arrangement.

She sings from the point of view of a pretentious landlord bragging about his holdings with light and slightly boozy charm. It’s never strident despite the lyrical bluster. The contrast between her phrasing and the song’s contents helps create an intimate mood for the listeners that the playing further accentuates. Fiddle is her predominant instrumental foil throughout this performance, and its pre-eminence in the mix has the effect of a second vocalist accompanying her throughout the song. They counterpoint each other with graceful melodicism.

The production sounds like they are performing for you alone. This near-hush and close quality of the recording increases our focus on Burns’ singing. She occupies a comfortable upper register, and her Irish accent comes through enough that it enhances the purist strengths of the performance. Despite those strengths, “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” is accessible to anyone who appreciates excellent songcraft.

It has untouchable construction. Songs such as this unfold with satisfying predictability. Seasoned music listeners will sense each change coming and feel gratified at the skillful hands guiding this performance. You know what’s coming and can’t help but admire how well they pull it off. It’s another memorable achievement of this song that Burns’ interpretation doesn’t leave listeners disliking the narrator. She renders the speaker as a self-centered but ultimately harmless rogue with a whiff of sadness underlying all of his pronouncements.


It’s the secret of the song’s success. Áine and Danny Burns invoke an audible sense of melancholy from this hoary ditty that refurbishes the track for a new generation of listeners. It’s a thoroughly fulfilling outing for this Irish native and announces her as an artistic force to reckon with over the coming years. “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” is an excellent choice for a singer that you don’t hear often – one who completely disappears into the track’s role, makes you believe, and leaves you wanting more.

Troy Johnstone

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