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Irish singer/songwriter Mundy is one of a number of artists to successfully make the transition from street busking in Dublin to international stardom during the '90s, a prestigious list that includes the Frames, the Hothouse Flowers, and, more recently, Paddy Casey and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Mundy's mainly acoustic, folk-based pop/rock has been compared to Damien Rice and Josh Ritter; however, his style is more upbeat and celebratory than either, and his jangle pop influence and tendency to experiment with unconventional sonic textures and beats (his debut album was overseen by acclaimed indie electronic producer Youth) further distinguishes him, a tendency that partly led to the breakdown of his relationship with his pop radio-oriented label.
Mundy was born Edmund Enright in the rural town of Birr, County Offaly, in 1976. At age 18, Mundy moved to Dublin and began performing on infamous busker haven Grafton Street, and at open-mike nights at the nearby International Bar. Less than two years later, Mundy signed with Sony subsidiary Epic Records, and released his debut single, "To You I Bestow," on New Year's Day 1996. The presence of Youth, founding bassist with post-punk pioneers Killing Joke, is notable in the Smiths-like bounce of the single, and he was an equally important influence upon the album that followed, the appropriately titled Jelly Legs. Shortly before the album was released in October 1996, "To You I Bestow" was licensed for inclusion on the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's Shakespeare adaptation Romeo + Juliet, alongside tracks by Radiohead and Garbage. The soundtrack went on to sell 11 million copies; Jelly Legs sold a respectable 50,000 worldwide.
Having toured both sides of the Atlantic, including support slots with Alanis Morissette and Neil Young, Mundy began working on his second album in 1999 with producer Tommy D. (Kylie Minogue, Catatonia). Upon hearing the album, and its perceived lack of hits, Epic dropped Mundy and shelved the record. Undeterred, Mundy used the royalties from the soundtrack deal to found his own label, Camcor Records, and began touring the U.K. in earnest with David Gray, whose White Ladder had recently exploded in Europe, and America with Paddy Casey. October 2000 saw the release of The Moon Is a Bullet Hole, an EP named for the rejected album, and April 2002 finally saw the second album released, albeit re-recorded and with new material. 24 Star Hotel yielded the Irish radio hits "July" and "Mexico," the former quickly becoming Mundy's best-known track in his home country.
24 Star Hotel outsold its predecessor, going double platinum in Ireland. The follow-up, 2004's Raining Down Arrows, was produced by Texan Mark Addison and debuted at number one in the Irish charts, achieving platinum status. In May of 2006, Mundy released his first live album, a CD/DVD combo entitled Live & Confused, featuring a duet on Steve Earle's "Galway Girl" with accordionist Sharon Shannon, which later charted as a single. Live & Confused was certified platinum in 2007. ~ Dave Donnelly
- Birr, County Offaly, Ireland
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