Blair Dunlop on Style, Legacy and the Horizon Award (Interview)

Blair Dunlop

I am a big fan of The Fairport Convention. To talk to someone like Blair Dunlop who is genetically linked to the musical greats, is such an amazing thing. He has crafted his own artistic identity through the release of his solo album Blight and Blossom(Rooksmere Records).  Get to know him more through this interview.

Breton singer/songwriter Dom Duff introduced me to Blair Dunlop. “He met me in Midlands airport last September.” Dom added that Blair’s new album is now out and that his father’s the founding member of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and Albion Band. Another interesting trivia: Blair appeared in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the young Johnny Depp.  So Dom offered Blair’s contact information and I took it from there. See how blogging connects people?

So I got in touch with the singer/songwriter and we introduced one another before launching this interview. He provided his phone number in case I want to do it by phone by I suggested doing an email interview would be easier for both of us. And it gives us more time to think what to write each other.

Your hands are full between promoting The Albion band and your solo album. It must be a good start of the year for you.

Yeah it’s a busy time, but it’s exciting. I like to push myself
musically, so to have different projects on the go feels right for me.
They’re very different projects too, so that keeps me stretched as a
musician. Which I like.

How do you describe the sound on your solo project compared to The Albion band which I believe has a more Celtic sounding style?

The sounds are very different. The Albion Band sound is definitely
fuller and rockier. Not really Celtic though, it’s English folk rock
based on traditional English tunes and traditions as opposed to Irish
or Scottish. My solo stuff is far more stripped back and showcases
more of my songwriting and acoustic guitar playing. In short, it’s
more acoustic.

What’s the feeling  after bagging the prestigious BBC folk award?

Winning the Horizon Award was great. It was a great night and I met
some great people, but to be acknowledged by the BBC was special. It’s
an organization that has a reputation all over the world, so the award
has a certain weight. It was a welcome start to the year.

What are these projects you hinted on the first question and can you expound on them for the benefit of our readers?

I have my solo work (I now go out solo, as a trio and as a band)
doing my personal material; the Albion Band which is a more folk/rock
outfit; and an EP and some gigs in April with 2 American songwriting
sisters, the Lovell sisters of Larkin Poe.

How do you describe your smooth singing style and who are your vocal influences growing?

It’s easier for me to cite guitar and writing influences as opposed
to singing influences… Hmm, good question. My biggest singing would
probably be Jim Moray (who I have a gig with tonight, actually!)
because he treats traditional material in a very modern way, we have
similar voices naturally and I can see some of myself in him.

 How does it feel to be part of the family that made the legendary band Fairport Convention?

It’s normal for me I guess, so it’s hard to answer. It’s a great
family of people and musicians and it’s been a big part of my growing
up, especially Cropredy Festival. The traditional music is inside me,
and that’s probably largely to do with Fairport.

Blair Dunlop is currently promoting his album Blight and Blossom all over UK. You can catch him through these venues by visiting


‘Blight & Blossom’ is now out on 180g Vinyl. Available at all good retailers and direct from


Blair Dunlop is 20-years old, a captivating vocalist, and has rapidly emerged as one of the finest of singer-songwriters. His vocals have a paradoxically light and raunchy feel, a very much ’once heard, never forgotten’ sound. On guitar, he is forging a style of his own which is quite breathtaking and featured recently in Acoustic magazine purely as an up-and-coming guitarist. Listen to the beautifully crafted lyric of Blight and Blossom (title track) to understand then song-crafting beyond his young years. This coupled with contributions from, friend, Richard Thompson who has given Blair one of his own previously unrecorded compositions -Seven Brothers – to début on his new album. The full-bloodied sound on the album is created by Blair interacting with a wonderfully cohesive, intuitive and sympathetic group of musicians. Among the latter are Larkin Poe, Joan Wasser (Joan As Policewoman), the legendary Ashley Hutchings, Pete Zorn, Tim Harries, Mark Hutchinson, Guy Fletcher and a string quartet. Blight & Blossom is truly an adventurous and unique affair. In performance, Blair has confidence and a very real stage presence. Certainly, having started out as a young actor, appearing on TV and in the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton movie ’Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’, will have helped in this regard. Yet when it comes to discussing his own songs, Blair can be quite modest and happy to let critics and the listeners decide what they think of them. After a little coaxing, however, he talked a little about their genesis and the context from which each grew.




Hello beautiful people of the page. Yes, I am currently featuring Blair Dunlop. In a span of a week, you will be getting news from him . Our  Huzzah is getting to be a great source of  buzz where you can get fresh music and gig news. So make it a habit to spread The Celtic Music Fan.

LES DOIGTS DE L’HOMME – GET A GRIP. It’s the first time I heard of this group but all members are fascinating. Check this video out:

Goitse perform for the Ojai Concert Series. My big thanks to Jeremy King of Poitin for sharing the link to this terrific performance! Here’s the video:

Enda Seery is currently shooting a video for Síocháin na Tuaithe.

Live show for Deep is the Well coming this May!

Hear the complete new album – Live!

Join Kevin O’Donnell for a rare live performance of Deep is the Well, along with a bit of storytelling.  The shows will feature many guest artists from the album, including: Maurice Lennon, Jim DeWan, Larry Gray, John Rice, John Williams, and more…

Be among the first to purchase a copy of Deep Is The Well – and join Kevin for a pint at the pub.

Only two Chicagoland performances, so don’t miss out:

Sunday, May 5th  –  1pm-5pm  –  Peggy Kinnane’s Irish Restaurant and Pub

8 N. Vail Avenue

Arlington Heights, IL 60004

(847) 577-7733

Album promotion time!

Ok I am going to renew, my album recommendations.

Ghosts Of Our Past – Biblecode Sundays

The BibleCode Sundays: Always a joy to listen to. Never boring, always energetic and totally amazing melodies! Ghosts Of Our Past is released in 2006 by this London-based celtic rock band. Their music is a lively mixture of traditional Irish folk music and contemporary rock music.

Listen and buy the tracks by following the link below.

Barleyjuice:Skulduggery Street

To quench your rockaholic Celtic thirst is the album called Skulduggery Street  by Barleyjuice. 14 tracks filled with Celtic rock music, comedy and poetry. I reviewed this album around 2010 and got a  nice response.

” Nice review and this looks like a really cool group. I can definitely see what you mean about the catchiness. I’ve only played the video once and it’s already sticking in my head.

It also looks like they have enough spirits on that table to keep their fest going for quite some time!”-

Get this album through the band’s website:

Aisling na nGael (An Irish Dream)

People love their Celtic music to rock, some to haunt but there are those who want a more operatic approach. This is where Irish singer Emma Kate Tobia rises to the occasion. Co-produced by Frank Buckley, Niall “Herbie” Macken and Emma Kate, was recorded in St Multose Church in Kinsale and the lofty acoustics fit perfectly with Buckley’s arrangements.

“Aisling na nGael introduces traditional Irish Songs to the world as rich orchestral and choral masterpieces,” says Emma-Kate.


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