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After 30 glorious years of leading worldwide, renowned Celtic punk rockers, The Mahones—who have shared stages and toured with the likes of Dropkick Murphys, Shane MacGowan, Stiff Little Fingers, Billy Bragg, The Buzzcocks, Sinead O’Connor, and The Damned to name a few—Finny McConnell decided that it was time to make an album for himself as he winds down and adjusts to his “Van Morrison years”, although I’m sure he has enough **** and vinegar left in him that he will not go quietly or gently into the night.
Produced by McConnell and engineered by Gene Hughes (who also mixed it) and assistant engineer Del Cowsill, The Dark Streets of Love was recorded “live off the floor” from March 15 to 17, 2021, in Toronto, Canada, and features beautiful cover art by Hannah Blu. The Dark Streets of Love opens with a superb cover of “Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen. There’s a beautiful, reflective vulnerability in Finny’s voice on this track and lyrically, it’s a terrific choice for a cover song. Kevin Hearn’s accordion is a wonderful addition to the mix, lending it Celtic flair, but it’s the loss, longing, and weariness in Finny’s interpretation that makes it a winner. I cannot imagine anyone bestowing a better tribute to this song, and that is coming from a lifelong Boss fan.
Finny thanks his musical mentors in the liner notes and the influence of artists such as Lou Reed, Joe Strummer, Shane MacGowan, Paul Westerberg, Pete Townshend, Tom Waits, and Bruce Springsteen is evident. This is his love letter to everyone important in his world and it should not be missed. For me, The Dark Streets of Love is Finny’s “Fisherman’s Blues”, a collection of his most stripped bare and personal lyrics that represent not only his truth but a truth that we can all recognize, offering us a reflection on loving, losing, grieving, and loving again — essentially what it means to be human.
You cannot take the Irish out of McConnell, nor would we ever want to. He is defined by his Celtic soul and his punk rock heart, which he wears on his sleeve here, and we love him more for it. The Dark Streets of Love is among the best, most honest, thoughtful music of his legendary, illustrious career, so look for its release in early September 2021 and buy it.