Raise your glasses to a rip-roaring new album from Cheers!

Band: Cheers!

Album: Daily Bread

Release date: May 2017

Snarling, swirling, raging, roaring vocals and electric guitar tempered by fairground accordion arpeggios, whistles and flutes.

‘Chances’ – the opening track on the new album ‘Daily Bread’ from Cheers!

Cheers! was born in a whiskey and Guinness-fuelled frenzy in Pilsen, Czech Republic in 2011 and the first single was released in November the same year. Their debut album ‘Wrong and Right’ was recorded in a 10 hour marathon live session and released in 2013. They are touring almost constantly, playing clubs and festivals, and took their music to Italy in 2015 and 2017. ‘Daily Bread’ is their second album, and unlike their first, this one was made in the studio over a period of weeks, but still keeps a gritty, powerful live sound.

Call me old- fashioned, but I still like my music (if I can’t get it live) to come in CD-sized packages – downloading just doesn’t do it for me, and I put a lot of store in first impressions. A mighty handsome looking CD this is with a work-soiled, heartbroken figure on the front, ironically plastered with the jolly name of the band, and then in sombre, tombstone gothic font, the album title ‘Daily Bread’. According to the band, ‘daily bread’ means several things both in Czech and English, including ‘hunger for what you deserve or daily routine misery, this is what drives the lives of us all…’

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When I first heard this lot live five years ago, I thought ‘here’s a breath of fresh air on the Czech music scene’ – in fact I was blown away by them then and even more so now. Their debut album was rough and ready, but the energy was definitely there. ‘Daily Bread’ really is a mature piece of work and a labour of love – independently released by the band. The new album is very nicely produced and mixed and all the instruments, even the quieter whistles, fiddle and accordion, keep their character within the melee of driving sounds. Pick me up off the floor guys- I’m knackered just listening to this- but in a good way. My ears are still ringing with the joyful collision of electric guitars and acoustic whistles, the reverberation of accordion and uilleann pipes and Pavel’s distinctive and passionate vocals holding it all together.

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Pavel (vocals, acoustic guitar) very kindly took some time out of the band’s busy schedule to answer a few questions about the album.

How long did ‘Daily Bread’ take to record compared to the first album? 

Pavel: Ten times more I think. The first album took 10 hours to record and a couple of days of mixing. We started working on ‘Daily Bread’ this January and recorded it in, like, two months or so. Mixing and mastering took 3 months. It’s plenty in comparison with the first record, but not that much on an LP studio album really.

Influences on your sound?

Pavel: Each band tries to preserve its unique sound or at least that’s what they say. But one way or another, it’s necessary to have a fixed point. In this case, those would be The Dreadnoughts and Dropkick Murphys. I think the sound is overrated though. I know too many bands whose records suck, but rule on stage.

How do you feel about the new album? 

Pavel: Bored of it already. We got to make another (laughs).

What message (if any) are you trying to put across in the songs?

Pavel: Hard to say. Each song’s got it’s own. But overall the usual – love, hatred, people, feelings, politics, etc. That’s what the genre does, don’t you think?

Guards of the Poor (2014)

Where/How can we buy your CD? 

Pavel: It will be available on Itunes, Spotify and other servers in digital format. Physical CD on Amazon or Czech band merchandise e-shops. Or you can contact us directly. Right now we’re trying to spread it over so it’ll take some time before it reaches the counters.

What’s the true story behind ‘Mr. Batter’? 

Pavel: True story? That’s it. We got busted on the streets for stealing copper sheets from a theatre by local police and the night guard pointed us out even though we had no idea. Coming to that, do you need any copper?

What are your favourite songs on the album?

Pavel: For me personally, that would be ‘Dagger’ and ‘Misery’. ‘Misery’ is an old piece and we’ve been playing it since I can remember, and still I get goose bumps when it gets to some parts. We picked the title of the album from its lyrics and I’m glad we did. ‘Dagger’ is a much younger song and was made for the album. Simplicity and straight meaning is sometimes hard to follow, unless the muse kisses you on the cheeks and that happened with ‘Dagger’, I guess. So it makes me feel free every time we play it.

So, prepare to hang on to your seats for an angst-filled 48 minutes and 23 seconds of Celtic folk-punk brewed in Pilsen…

Cheers! on Facebook

Cheers! on YouTube

Cheers! on Bandzone

 

 

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Craving for new sound? Get Windmills in the Sky by Coast.

Craving for new sound? Get Windmills in the Sky by Coast.

River is one of the catchiest Celtic rock songs I have heard in ages. There is no comparison because the style is original. Perhaps I would  mention a little bit of Dougie MacLean, Luka Bloom and Simple Minds for reference but I mean when I say that they’re quite unique and captivating. The song (River) starts with a banging of (alsmost gated) drums. The chorus “Take me down to the river..’ is so well-written and recorded that it makes me sing along! It is taken from their new album Windmills in the Sky, consisting of ten songs reflecting their Scottish roots but with modern appeal.

COAST Windmills in the Sky cd cover HIGH RES

New album: Windmills in the Sky

There are five people in the band with Paul Eastham ( Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano)
Chris Barnes( Percussion and Vocals), Finlay Wells (Electric & Acoustic Guitars and Vocals)
‘Mop’ Youngson ( Drums) and Dave Williamson (Bass and additional Vocals). Here’s a brief background from their website:

COAST is a world class, UK based professional rockband started by brothers Paul Eastham and Chris Barnes in 2009.

Paul is an outstanding songwriter, vocalist, performer, producer and virtuoso pianist with an extensive industry CV which includes credits and collaborations with some of the most highly regarded international artists, songwriters and producers.
Having spent many of their childhood years on the Island of Benbecula in Scotlands’ Western Isles, the musical work of COAST has a character and style which is shaped and coloured by the dramatic landscapes and cultural aspects of the region.
With two albums, three EPs and many UK, European and Scandanavian festival appearances behind them, COAST continue with what has been a rapid rise to international acclaim with a new album launching in early 2017 followed by extensive touring of their new high energy show.

Their songs touch various topics and one has such historical content like the ballad “1884.” At times, their music approaches a cinematic scope like the soaring and frisky “Old Atlantic Sky.”  Like their Irish cousins Clannad (who ventured into soundtracking), they’re able to come up with a haunting instrumental piece called “You’re So Beautiful To Me.” I think this track will get Celtic music aficionados (like me) to put them in the elite category of the musical culture. They know how to make a grand close with the title track which showcases their propensity for a grand sound.

Windmills in the Sky is now available for purchase through their website. You can also pre-order CD and vinyl versions.

All About the Celtic Woman USA tour

All About the Celtic Woman USA tour

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 3.56.28 PMIf you’ve been keeping track of Celtic Woman this month, then you know that there have been changes.In fact there is a lengthy article about it in the Chicago Tribune. A harp has also been added to their list of instruments in studio and live. Voices of Angels is the new album that they are promoting in their current US tour. The album was also nominated for the recent Grammys in the category of Best World Music Album. It also entered the Billboard Classical chart at #1. Quite a feat for a group that has undergone so many changes and continues to be a force Irish music internationally.

They will be performing in many places across the United States from this month up to June. So if you haven’t bought your tickets then it is time to do it! Celtic Woman is such a phenomenon like Riverdance. The current lineup are: Susan McFadden, Mairéad Carlin, Éabha McMahon and introduces the breathtaking new Celtic violinist Tara McNeill.

2017 VOICES OF ANGELS NORTH AMERICAN ITINERARY
3/2
Lakeland, FL
Lakeland Center
3/3
Orlando, FL
Bob Carr PAC
3/4
West Palm Beach, FL
Kravis Center
3/5
Tampa, FL
Straz Center
3/7
Fort Myers, FL
Barbara B Mann Hall
3/8
Melbourne, FL
King Center
3/9
Gainesville, FL
Philips Center
3/10
Jacksonville, FL
Times Union
3/11
Charleston, SC
Gaillard Center
3/14
Savannah, GA
Johnny Mercer Theater
3/16
Columbus, GA
River Center
3/17
Greenville, SC
Peace Center
3/18
Augusta, GA
Bell Auditorium
3/19
Charlotte, NC
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
3/21
Salisbury, MD
Wicomico Youth & Civic Center
3/22
Asheville, NC
Thomas Wolfe PAC
3/23
Durham, NC
DPAC
3/24
Baltimore, MD
France Merrick PAC
3/25
Roanoke, VA
Berglund Center
3/26
Newport News, VA
Ferguson Center
3/30
Indiana, PA
Kovalchick Convocation Center
3/31
Lancaster, PA
American Music Theater
4/1
Lancaster, PA
American Music Theater
4/2
Binghamton, NY
Forum Theatre
4/4
Kitchener, ONT
Centre in the Square
4/5
Albany, NY
Palace Theatre
4/6
Providence, RI
PPAC
4/7
Hartford, CT
Bushnell
4/8
Greenvale, NY
Tilles Center
4/9
Portland, ME
Merill Auditorium
4/11
Worcester, MA
Hanover Theatre
4/12
Bangor, ME
Collins Center
4/13
Manchester, NH
SNHU Arena
4/14
Philadelphia, PA
Academy of Music
4/15
Rochester, NY
Auditorium Theater
4/18
Buffalo, NY
Shea’s PAC
4/19
Erie, PA
Warner Theatre
4/20
Cincinnati, OH
Aronoff Center
4/21
Dayton, OH
Schuster PAC
4/22
Columbus, OH
Palace Theater
4/23
Cleveland, OH
State Theater
4/25
Toledo, OH
Stranahan Theatre
4/28
Rockford, IL
Coronado PAC
4/29
Dubuque, IA
Five Flags Center Arena
4/30
Peoria, IL
Peoria Civic Center
5/2
Topeka, KS
Topeka PAC
5/3
Tulsa, OK
Mabee Center
5/4
Memphis, TN
Orpheum
5/5
Cape Girardeau, MO
Show Me Center
5/6
Richmond, KY
EKU Center
5/7
Louisville, KY
Louisville Palace
5/9
Huntsville, AL
Von Braun PAC
5/11
Pensacola, FL
Saenger
5/12
Montgomery, AL
Montgomery PAC
5/13
Bossier City, LA
Horseshoe Casino
5/14
Biloxi, MS
Belcher Center
5/17
Little Rock, AR
Robinson Center
5/18
Lake Charles, LA
Rosa Hart Theatre
5/19
Grand Prairie, TX
Verizon Theatre
5/20
Houston, TX
Smart Financial Center
5/21
San Antonio, TX
Majestic Theatre
5/23
Mesa, AZ
Mesa Arts Center
5/24
San Bernardino, CA
California Theater
5/25
San Diego, CA
Civic Theatre
5/26
Costa Mesa, CA
Sagerstrom Center for the Arts
5/27
Thousand Oaks, CA
Civic Arts Plaza
5/30
Fresno, CA
Saroyan Theatre
5/31
San Jose, CA
Center for the Performing Arts
6/1
Sacramento, CA
Community Center Theater
6/2
Reno, NV
Reno Events Center
6/3
Boise, ID
Morrison Center
6/9
Des Moines, IA
Civic Center
6/10
Green Bay, WI
Weidner Center
6/11
Rochester, MN
Mayo Arena
6/13
Minneapolis, MN
Orpheum
6/14
Kansas City, MO
Kaufman Center
6/15
Springfield, MO
Hammons Hall
6/16
St. Louis, MO
Fox
6/17
Springfield, IL
Sangamon Auditorium
6/18
E. Lansing, MI
Wharton Center
6/21
Syracuse, NY
Crouse Hinds
6/23
Elmira, NY
Clemens Center
6/24
Springfield, MA
Mass-Mutual Center
6/25
Lynn, MA
Lynn Auditorium
Some Music and Dancing this Month

Some Music and Dancing this Month

Ahoy! How are the people of the page? It’s been a while since my last post because of some changes that will always happen as long as we live 😛

Instead of struggling to find something worthy to feature, I found myself looking for ‘news’ bits from Google which is a great way to know what’s going on in our cultural community. This is when I discovered some action happening in Boston this month. If you are a huge fan of The Tannahill Weavers then you will love this news:

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Celtic Music, Dance Calendar for April

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The Song A Day Project is an interesting channel. This artist by the name of Zachary Scot Johnson loves uploading his tunes and also adding a brief background about them. This talented singer/ songwriter has already shared the stage with Shawn Colvin, Keb’ Mo’, Kevin Costner & Modern West, Don Williams, Jane Siberry, The Be Good Tanyas, Rita Wilson, Steve Forbert, The Verve Pipe etc. Expect variety when you tune in to his uploads.
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  …And do pick up the new album by the amazing Moya Brennan now available via Amazon and other outlets. The cover art is her own painting. According to her press release, she went back to painting only recently. This also happens to be a family album in a sense that she is joined by her children Aisling and Paul Jarvis. If you haven’t yet picked up the recording of Aisling then I can assure you that she has a strong voice with the musical intensity of Patti Smith. As for Paul, he’s getting good with his guitar and this is his first professional project playing various instruments and also adding some technological input to the record.
Celtic Woman new video and more new music!

Celtic Woman new video and more new music!

 

The great thing about the human voice is that it can be honed to stretch its register or to improve its quality. An instrument (a saxophone for instance) can be singular in its quality. You know it’s a saxophone because of its characteristic. But a human voice can have many variations even in the same register. For example, it can be a fuller, bright or powerful soprano. It can be a soft, throaty or smoky contralto.

This is the musical romance that is showcased in the latest recording of Celtic Woman, a new version of Danny Boy. What’s stunning is the utilization of Capitol Records’ Studio A.

Studio A is our largest recording space. Originally built in 1956, Studio A has more than 1500 sq ft of floor space with over 50 years of audio recording heritage. Not only one of the best sounding orchestra rooms in the world, Studio A holds up to 50 musicians comfortably. The combination of timeless history and modern technology is a special feature of this room. Studio A has a variable decay time that can be tailored to your needs, this is accomplished by adjusting the louvered wall panels. Studios A and B can be combined by removing the retractable wall separating the two. The studio additionally features two isolation booths. Ideal for both acoustic and electric instruments, Artists have their choice of a Yamaha C9 or New York Steinway “B” piano. It also has a large private artist lounge above the control room.-Capitol Studios website.

More about the song below:

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Press Release from CELTIC WOMAN
Record “DANNY BOY” for the series, 1 mic 1 take, at the Iconic Capitol Records’ Building

The GRAMMY-NOMINATED GROUP is currently on a 91 city tour of the US
CELTIC WOMAN have recorded a stunning new version of the classic Celtic ballad “Danny Boy ” at the Capitol Records’ Studio A in Hollywood.  Utilizing Frank Sinatra’s microphone and Nat King Cole’s piano it was taped when the multi-platinum international music sensations were in Los Angeles for the Grammy Awards.  The track features Celtic Woman’s exciting new line up of Susan McFadden, Mairéad Carlin, Éabha McMahon and violinist Tara McNeill. The song and accompanying video are the latest in the 1 mic 1 take series recorded at Studio A. The series is described as “what happens when you take one artist, one mic, one iconic recording studio and give them one chance to show their raw talent.”  Previous artists who’ve recorded 1 mic 1 take sessions include Niall Horan, Gregory Porter, Emeli Sandé, Calum Scott, Halsey, Pete Yorn, Broods, and A Fine Frenzy.  Check out the 1 mic 1 take video, https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=_7RdcZFYx-U&feature=youtu.be
CELTIC WOMAN are currently out on their extensive US Voices Of Angels Tour in support of their latest album of the same name.  They are accompanied by an ensemble of Irish dancers, bagpipers and a full band playing an array of traditional Irish instruments. The 91-city trek kicked off March 2 in Lakeland, FL and will take Celtic Woman across the country before wrapping June 25 in Lynn, MA. VOICES OF ANGELS, on Manhattan/ Caroline Records, contains some of the most popular songs from the Celtic Woman repertoire, along with several previously unrecorded tracks, all with stunning new orchestral arrangements recorded with the 72-piece Orchestra of Ireland. Celtic Woman has a remarkable 12-year-legacy of introducing the most talented singers and musicians from Ireland onto the world stage.

ABOUT CELTIC WOMAN
Following its debut on PBS in 2005, Celtic Woman has achieved massive success encompassing twelve chart-topping albums, nine DVDs and nine public television specials leading to sales of over ten million albums, with platinum success in nine countries. Each of the twelve CDs–including 2016’s Voices of Angels–has reached #1 on Billboard’s World Albums chart. The group has been named Billboard Magazine’s #1 World Albums Artist six times.  Celtic Woman received its first-ever Grammy-nomination in the World Music category for its 2016 release Destiny. As a touring powerhouse, the group has performed for over four million fans across 23 countries and six continents, with an especially devoted following in America. Their shows are renowned as high quality entertainment with exceptional musical performances and stunning visual productions, enthralling audiences of all ages.

For full tour and more info go to www.celticwoman.com

Media Contact: Anita Daly / Daly Communications /2127720852 / anitadaly@yahoo.com
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The Crazy Rogues – Fleet (EP teaser)

 

Check this band out! They are from Hungary and they admire the music of Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, Paddy and the Rats, Firkin and Dubliners. Their unique style is heavily influenced by Irish punk and celtic punk music, as well as country and other folk music.They also like heavy metal and rock music.

They are happy doing concerts in Hungary and also abroad.
“From small pubs to big venues, our own shows as well as festivals, public events.”

Band members are:

Biermann Teo – flute |
Verrasztó László – lead vocals |
Fellegi Krisztián – banjo, mandolin, backing vocals |
Faragó Dániel – violin, backing vocals |
Fazekas Gábor – guitars, backing vocals |
Öcsi Levente – bass |
Nagy Ákos – drums |

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/TheCrazyRoguesBand

https://www.instagram.com/thecrazyrogues/

https://thecrazyrogues.bandcamp.com

 

 

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I Think I posted this video already but it is worth seeing and hearing again 🙂

Post St Patrick’s Day Hangover

Post St Patrick’s Day Hangover

I mean tunes not drink haha!

St Patrick’s has taught us that music is alive and well!

I admit it’s the first time I came across this YouTube vlogger by the name of Jack. Now I have to warn you. There are lots of expletives here. If you are like me who don’t care jumping from childlike innocence to morbidity in a split second then this is for you! Why? Because St. Paddy’s day covers everything under the sun!

Irish Time With Jack ► https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyZw-…

►Twitter : https://twitter.com/Jack_Septic_Eye
►Instagram: http://instagram.com/jacksepticeye
►Facebook : https://facebook.com/officialjacksept…
►Merchandise: http://jacksepticeye.fanfiber.com/

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Celtic Thunder Billboard St Patrick’s Day

I love these guys. They continue to make good music in the midst these dark times. Wonderful performance of Galway Girl and many more!

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So fitting for the times: And the Wasters are making music for the millennials!

This post originally appeared in http://www.spheremusic.me. I thought of sharing in here because I want more people to take notice.

Music is a substitute for caffeine. If you wake up in the morning and the music is right then the day is auspicious! I am always looking forward to releases from this group (Now called And the Wasters) as their subsequent albums have proven to be really good! Notice the change in the line-up(and name). Here’s a blurb from their site:Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 1.27.06 PM

2016 saw the band change name and take on a new lineup to play main stages at UK festivals such as Bearded Theory and Boomtown Fair, complete an extensive tour of Europe and bring global influences into their sound with their instrumental diversity of accordion, trumpet and violin.

They are the most hard-working group I’ve known and they get better every year in both their studio and live recordings. It is no brainer that everyone in the group has his or her own musical influence and the diversity makes And the Wasters appealing to all music lovers. There is also nuance and complexity I’ve noticed in their music as they strive for artistic growth:

Lyrically, the EP reflects on a sense of sadness, anxiety and uncertainty faced in the modern world, while also promoting an empowering message of solidarity, DIY culture and collective action in their rowdy Punk sound and spirit.

I think this is shown in their song Small Victories. I get that mournful tune on top of the ska-powered rhythm. It is fitting for the times. This contradicting forces are present in all songs. Notably in Reduce, Reuse, Rebel. The Wasters are showing us that the punk spirit is still alive. Despite the excesses and the entitlement that litter this generation, there are still those going against the flow. The production quality is noted here:

Recorded in 2016 across at Music Ape studios & Worse than Bad studio. Mixed and mastered by Matt Martin at Made of Ale (Pumpkin Records). Overdubs on ‘Intro Dub’ by Ian Upsettah.

So the album just dropped. Check out their awesome video below:

Give this band your two thumbs up and buy their albums! It’s a pay-as-you-fee download. Free if ya like 😉 Show your support by giving the world conscience through music!

Upcoming Shows For The NYC ST. Patrick’s Day!

Upcoming Shows For The NYC ST. Patrick’s Day!

Wow the year is moving so fast. I am reminded by two movies I watched today: Passengers and The Space Between Us. Although I have something to say about both films, this isn’t the right place! And hey Asa Butterfield reminds me of my  singer-songwriter friend Layne Greene.
Saint Patrick’s Day Season is just a few days away and Anita Daly (who runs the amazing Daly Communications) is involved with these shows. So if you are around NYC, check these wonderful artists.
I am a huge fan of The Chieftains for decades and it is great to know that they are touring again. Also, Canadian couple Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster will thrill their American fans with their own brand of Celtic music. I posted a review of their holiday album a few months ago and you can tell it was a great listening pleasure for me!
March 4th, the legendary Chieftains bring their 55th Anniversary Tour to Kupferberg Center at Queens College, Flushing NY @ 8:00pm 
 
“55 years, wow, where have they gone as we’re still going strong”, says Paddy Moloney, leader of the six-time Grammy Award winners, The Chieftains.  The Chieftains have been highly recognized for reinventing traditional Irish music on a contemporary and International scale.  The Chieftains were formed in Ireland in 1962 by Paddy Moloney, one of the top traditional folk musicians in Ireland and around the world. Their ability to transcend musical boundaries to blend tradition with modern music has notably hailed them as one of the most renowned and revered musical groups to this day. After more than fifty five years of making some of the most beautiful music in the world, The Chieftains’ music remains as fresh and relevant as when they first began.  Paddy Moloney says, “This tour will have all the musical force of what we’ve accumulated and achieved over the last 55 years, with a few extra gems thrown in for good measure”.
For Tickets Visit: www.ticketmaster.com  Discount Code CHIEFS
March 17Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy bring their family of fiddlers to Webster Hall, NYC for a special ST. PATRICK’S DAY performance of their ‘From Ireland to Cape Breton & Beyond’ tour @8:00pm
 
The first family of Celtic fiddlers, The husband and wife duo, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, command the stage with an explosive celebration of raw energy and passion that infuses their traditional heritage with their taste for the contemporary. With this show Natalie and Donnell will blend the legendary musical traditions of Ireland with that of their hometowns of Lakefield Ontario and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The show is a family affair including special performances with their children and highlights the unique talents, influences and stories of this amazing, growing clan through dancing, singing and, of course, world-class music making.  The couple is touring after their recent album release of ‘ONE’, possibly the best fiddle album ever recorded. 
 
For Tickets Visit: http://www.websterhall.com/
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I love instrumental music! I feel that… it just goes into your subconscious smoothly. Without the distraction of the lyrics, there is no room for intellectualized things. You just go for the cheese in the sandwich right away. Check this dude out. He’s based in Wales and he plays a hot guitar! I attached the link below where you can listen to his music. His name is Bedwyr Morgan.

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Have you heard of  McPEAKE ? www.facebook.com/mcpeakemusic and they have just released a new EP – Gypsies in the Wood. They put a fresh contemporary spin to traditional songs. For instance, Wild Mountain has that pop vibe with an almost R & B rendering. But it still manages to evoke that traditional vibe.
Their songs can be heard via their website: http://www.mcpeakemusic.com

A brief bio I got from their website:

Ask Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, or Bono about the roots of Irish Music, and they will point you to the McPeake Family!

The four generations of the McPeake Family are one of those rare Irish gems that have been whispered as ‘folk-royalty.’  Their beloved song “Wild Mountain Thyme” has been on the lips of music lovers across the globe – in Irish pubs, concert halls, and music festivals worldwide – since it was first performed in the late 1940s.  This hauntingly beautiful folk anthem has been covered by music superstars such as Glen Frey (The Eagles), Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins, to name but a very few.

Francis McPeake I penned “Wild Mountain Thyme;” Francis McPeake II influenced Van Morrison, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan; Francis McPeake III taught John Lennon the Uilleann Pipes; and now Francis McPeake IV – who has worked with iconic Hollywood film companies, such as Walden Media, and Academy Award-winning actors – has formed the vibrant new band McPEAKE.

Figuring prominently in the EMMY Award-winning PBS Special “Music of Ireland,” McPEAKE is now taking the world of Celtic music by storm with its own contemporary brand of self-penned songs and compositions. Since their initial tour of USA in 2009, McPEAKE are now on the main stages of the USA festival circuit, performing regularly to audiences in excess 10,000 people. The new generation of this legendary family has developed a distinctive sound that is totally immersed in the popular culture of today, while maintaining a firm anchor in the influences of past generations.

McPEAKE’s unique blend of Indie, Country, Folk and Irish music attracts widely diverse audiences that might not otherwise commingle. Fans consistently use superlatives such as fresh, authentic, original, and dazzling to describe the experience that is – McPEAKE!

“Songs From Before” by Fionnuala Sherry and Other Music.

“Songs From Before” by Fionnuala Sherry and Other Music.

Secret Garden’s Fionnuala Sherry stands on her own in Songs from Before

That distinctive  John Edward Betts violin from 1790 is Fionnuala Sherry’s instrument of choice in both live and studio sessions. And like her choice of instrument, the style of most songs in her album Songs from Before (released in 2011 by  Hearts of Space Records) never stray far away from  the subtle mood of Secret Garden-with notable exceptions in some tracks. I am talking about the stunning rhythmic drum work in Lark in Clear Air and the experimental/ambient style of My Lagan Love. screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-8-19-30-pm

Songs from Before is clearly a nod to Irish traditional music but with modern arrangements, and sans the neo-classical style of Secret Garden. Perhaps there will always be challenges in projects like this one. Will be some of the parts be any lesser than the whole? Will her musical efforts get noticed away from the shadow of million-selling duo that are Secret Garden? But many have ventured this path: Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance, Moya Brennan of Clannad and even Karen Matheson of Capercaillie, among others. I think her strength is in her classical discipline. Couple that with her pop sensibilities and you get a modern album that is also timeless due to its traditional spirit.

I remember one early morning while riding the bike. I was playing this album through my bluetooth speaker attached to my messenger bag. I stopped by a bridge just in time for Lark in Clear Air to play. And it was quite a musical moment.The sweeping view and the stately sound seemed to have created that synergy which was spiritual. I understand that her music is always rooted in nature. There is something organic and soothing about her style. It’s like being inclosed in a thick foliage. It is a private moment keeping the world at bay. Even if it’s just for a span of forty minutes. And it is good enough.

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Have you gotten your own copy of Canvas by Moya Brennan? Yes it is out now. Here’s the editorial review via Amazon:

CANVAS is the ninth solo album from the First Lady of Celtic Music, Moya Brennan. This collection of original songs is steeped in her Celtic roots – Moya comes from Donegal in the NW of Ireland. But, more than ever before, the album has a contemporary twist due in no small part to her co-writers/ composers, daughter Aisling and son Paul, both in their early twenties with strong ambient electronica and contemporary singer-songwriter influences. Moya s haunting, ethereal, vocals have been her unique hallmark both in her years with Celtic music pioneers, Clannad, and in her own solo recordings and film work. The album contains some songs in Moya s native language, Gaeilge, while other songs celebrate, for instance, elemental/environmental themes or lament the child victims of needless war and conflict. Musically the record unveils a spectrum from poignant, fragile beauty through to dramatic, symphonic peaks. The album title comes from Moya s rediscovery of her love for painting. She painted the cover and art featured throughout the CD package. Canvas combines the simplicity, depth and beauty of the extraordinary skills which makes Moya unique in her field. Grammy award winner Moya has sung on most of the world s great stages and has collaborated with many notable artists including Bono, The Chieftains, Bruce Hornsby and Robert Plant. Among her movie credits is her collaboration (and co-writing of the end title song) with Hans Zimmer on King Arthur.

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For Drum Fannatics!

This is interesting! As a percussion enthusiast this is a great find for me. Big thanks to Matthew Bell for pointing this out to me. More about this project from Contemporary Bodhran:

www.kitchatham.com
www.contemporarybodhran.com
Kit Chatham, Matthew Bell, Alex Kuldell, Josh Dukes, and Ryan Mullins play a variety of percussion and stringed instruments in a Genre-defying instrumental mashup. Features Mandolin, Banjo, Highland Bagpipes, Jaw Harp, Irish Flute, Guitar, Kanjira, Pipe Band Snare, Rope Tension Bass Drum, Rope Tension Snare Drum, Bodhrán, tabla, drumset, and programmed percussion.

There you have it for now.

Moving Up with Latitude-Rant Maggie Rant.

Moving Up with Latitude-Rant Maggie Rant.

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Lindsay Schindler (fiddle, vocals)

Glen Dias (lead vocals, recorder and incidental percussion)

Barry James Payne (acoustic guitar, bouzouki, harmonica, vocals)

Rob Larose (drums & percussion)

Steve Clarke (electric and upright bass)

Daev Clysdale (Irish Flute, whistles, accordion).

Additional musicians have also included Alberto Suarez (drums & percussion), Graham Hargrove (drums & percussion), Jay Rheil (drums & percussion), Loretto Reid (Irish Flute, whistles, concertina & button accordion), Dave Nuttall (Irish whistles and wind instruments) and Pat O’Gorman (pipes, Irish flute and whistles).

So happy to finally get my hands on the newest CD of Rant Maggie Rant called Latitude. They made a good buzz prior to the album’s release. Such things are always helpful. The packaging is amazing. The liner notes and artwork give the album a premium feel. You can really tell a lot of thinking went into the conception of Latitude.

I am a big fan of the recorder. In fact the first wind instrument that I picked up was a soprano recorder. The tenor recorder on the other hand has a mellow and mellifluous sound. In the hands of an expert like Glen Diaz, the instrument becomes a powerful tool of universal expression. The best moments are when it goes into duet with Lindsay Schindler’s fiddle. Perhaps other bands have already tried this combination but this is the first time for me. And if you think their recorded music is amazing, you should also see their live shows. They are highly entertaining.

Huge appreciation goes Barry James Payne for providing the golden sound of the acoustic guitar and other instruments. Rob Larose kept everything lively and bombastic. And drums need the groovy bass of Steve Clark-and together they are incredible. Daev Clysdale on the other hand keeps that distinctive Irish feel. Check out the liner notes for details on additional musicians who appeared in this recording.

Their musical efforts did not go unnoticed. As a band, they already picked up the Australian Celtic Award  for International Artist of the Year in 2015. They also got the Jack Richardson Music Award for Traditional Folk/Roots and got nominated 9 times for Traditional Folk/Roots, World Music and Celtic Awards. Their eclectic music is the result of their individual artistic influences. Their website notes that their  sound is a fusion of Latin and Mediterranean rhythms, African hand drumming and percussion, blues/rock guitar backdrops, revved up tempos, unexpected time changes, and a unique rhythmic attack take their listeners on a journey to several cultural musical landmarks. 

The twelve tracks will satisfy your eclectic spirit. It’s like my experience drinking tea infused with different flavors. It always leaves you smiling. Latitude also arrived just  when I am rediscovering my love for World Music. Which reminds me that fans of Jazz and Latin music should get this album!

The Spinning Wheel: A Refreshing Acoustic Folk Album!

The Spinning Wheel: A Refreshing Acoustic Folk Album!

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The minimalist approach of Darren Lynch is comparable to a nice breathing room after the madness of the rush hour.  

Dublin born folk musician and writer Darren Lynch is full of surprises. According to his bio, he started off playing music after finishing a successful amateur boxing career with Crumlin Boxing Club. His first instrument was the banjo which progressed to mandolin and then mandola. I became familiar with his music after listening to his first musical project, The Feekers. They released Tarbolten in 2012. When The Feekers parted ways he continued to explore other creative avenues.

His first novel ‘Siltation’ was published in 2013. All the proceeds from this book are donated to The Irish Cancer Society. If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to do so. His prose is astounding, giving you a glimpse of Dublin through his character’s eyes. After the release of Siltation, he started performing around Dublin. The audience took note of his intricate bouzouki work with The Ballyfermot Rakes.

The Spinning Wheel.

Personel:

Darren Lynch: Bouzouki, Vocals

Derek Copley: Banjo, Mandolin

Ais Conway Keogh: Fiddle

Produced by: Darren Lynch

Recording Engineer: Gareth Desmond, Loop Studio’s

Photography: Joe Butler

From the sleeve notes:

This album is a collection of some of the songs I have sang over the past 15 years or more. Groups such as The Fureys, The Dubliners and Sweeney’s Men –  as well as singers like Pecker Dunne and Brendan Behan – did not merely perform these songs, but offered them to listeners as their own story. 

This is testament to the timeless quality of the art of the folk song and the stories of yesterday, which stand the test of time and filter into the future by their ability to resonate with every era. This is an album of my renditions of these timeless stories.

The Spinning Wheel is a testament to the enduring power of folk music. No technology or fad can destroy its spirit as the music of the people. He sings in the tradition of such greats as Luka Bloom, Andy Irvine and Christy Moore.

The bouzouki is an expressive instrument. It evokes that  ‘afternoon sunshine in the woods’ kind of feeling. There is something organic and sonorous about it especially when played with low chords. And of course there’s his vocal delivery which is timeless in its simplicity and its adherence to tradition. Both his voice and instrument deliver unparalleled expressive power.

Other artists  also appeared in the recording session, notably two virtuoso musicians: Banjo/mandolin player Derek Copeley and fiddler Ais Conway. Recording Engineer Gareth Desmond provided the clean and warm palette to the recording. I like his mixing method especially when it comes to the high-end  and low-end of the sonic spectrum. He takes us  to the surface of the sound, achieving this intimate and airy kind of recording  characteristic.

The rendition of The Wind That Shakes The Barley  (written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836–1883)is a refreshing take on this popular track already covered by diverse artists as Loreena McKennitt, Lisa Gerrard, Amanda Palmer, The Clancy Brothers among others.

Dance To Your Daddy showcases his eclectic choice of materials. For those unfamiliar, the track is actually a traditional English folk song that originated in North East England. According to Wikipedia, it was popularised as the theme tune to the 1970s BBC drama serial When The Boat Comes In in an arrangement by the composer David Fanshawe.

Overall, The Spinning Wheel is a satisfying album. It has a pace that moves forward regardless of the tempo. And it is a work of art in its simplicity.

The Spinning Wheel is a high achievement for a singer-songwriter  who performs with bloody passion and then, quietly leaving us with our senses on fire.

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