Updates from Moya Brennan, Kyle Carey, The Ballyfermot Rakes and Jennifer Licko!

Updates from Moya Brennan, Kyle Carey, The Ballyfermot Rakes and Jennifer Licko!

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Moya Brennan

Album progress 

Moya Brennan has the spirit of rock n roll. Maybe not overtly as one would expect but it is there. As a longtime fan of Clannad, and have researched  the band’s history, I’d say it is only fitting that she would shine on her own. She might not be as hyper as Icelandic singer Bjork or outspoken as Tori Amos but the need for constant challenge and restlessness is there.She is also prolific and has an amazing body of work to boast!

Innovation is always part of her evolution as an artist. You can hear it in her melodies and arrangements. She does not shy away from collaborating with other big artists. Her associations with Schiller and Chicane brought forth good results. It exposed her voice to the younger audience who were not born yet when Clannad’s first UK top 40 hit “A Theme From Harry’s Game” shot into the mainstream.

Provisionally titled River of Songs, she picked her children to work with her in this album. I have heard a few snippets via Paul Jarvis’ Snapchat posts and I can say they are amazing! There is no shortage of experimentation there. And although 10 seconds cannot reveal everything, I sort of get the idea what it’s going to be. It is bold, big and contemporary. It will definitely appeal to the younger ears while still enchanting and captivating original Clannad fans.

Her son Paul Jarvis is doing interesting things with the guitar and some experimentation with other musical instruments(including technology). Aisling Jarvis(apart from making a name for herself as a singer-songwriter/ sound engineer) is manning the sonic landscape. She was also hired by Clannad for the same job with their recent album Nádúr.

Apart from her ability to play many musical instruments along with the harp, she is also a philanthropist and a mom. And we all know, moms are awesome!

The new Moya album will be released early next year and I am so excited!

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Kyle Carey…

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Kyle Carey combines Gaelic tunes and artfully crafted songwriting.

Have you been following the Kickstarter Project of singer-songwriter Kyle Carey? She has one week to go to fulfill her campaign in order to record a new album. Check it out The Art of Forgetting here:

I’d say she’s one of a kind. A true gift to the Celtic music community. Supporting her art means preserving the musical culture that we really love.

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From Dublin…

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The Ballyfermot Rakes

For those who love Irish folk in its true sense can now bask under the artistry of The Ballyfermot Rakes. A little bit about the guys:

The Ballyfermot Rakes are a folk duo who formed following many great sessions together in the vibrant Dublin traditional music scene.
Their intuitive ability to entertain pub crowds with folk songs and lively traditional dance music has already taken them around the country this summer, exciting audiences at festivals and venues.
They have quickly honed an exciting, dynamic set which draws influence from some of the great Irish folk groups such as Sweeney’s Men, The Dubliners and the Fureys.
As the name suggests, this duo of Darren Lynch (bouzouki, vocals) and Derek Copley (banjo) are natives of Ballyfermot in Dublin, and both take great pride and influence from the rich musical connection of the celebrated Furey and Keenan families, as well as from singers like Liam Weldon and Paddy Sweeney to name a few.Darren Lynch’s keen ear for a song, along with intricate bouzouki work, adds a rich, diverse layer to this folk outfit. The bouzouki is also the perfect compliment to the driving melodies of Derek Copley’s tenor banjo playing, which ranges from haunting airs to wild, foot-stomping jigs and reels.
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Christmas in in the air…
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The Lights of Christmas by Jennifer Licko featuring Patrick Mangan from Riverdance. 
I did a review of Sing by Jennifer Licko so I am sure you have an idea what she is capable of in musical terms. Glad she is releasing aholiday album called The Lights of Christmas. Here’s a snippet of what to expect from the new recording:

Album Information: 

Celtic Album of the Year winner (Celtic Music Radio), Jennifer Licko releases her first Christmas Album – The Lights of Christmas – via Sabas Records. The album features the Jennifer Licko band which is comprised of Riverdance Star, Patrick Mangan on fiddle and award winning Irish guitarist, Patsy O’Brien. The backbone of the band is Jennifer’s long time British producer, arranger and keyboardist; Bob Noble.  He has produced five of Jennifer’s seven albums including this release ‘The Lights of Christmas’ .  Vocal production took place at Remidi studios in Florida as well as Estudio Cajueira in Brazil with Grammy award winning sound engineer, Mauricio Cajueiro. 

“A true reminder of what the Christmas season means” says one music fan.  ’The Lights of Christmas’ is a follow up to The Jennifer Licko band’s extremely successful annual Celtic Christmas tour hailed by critics as one of the best Christmas traditions of the year. The album continues the theme with favorite Christmas carols, given the unique special celtic touch, and some traditional Irish Christmas songs that share traditions and stories of Celtic lands.

The Jennifer Licko band will be touring the Southeastern United States from Dec 8 – Dec 18th with their ‘Celtic Christmas’ concert in support of ‘The Lights of Christmas’ album. For more information and tour dates, please visit www.jenniferlicko.com 

Track List

1. Pat a Pan

2. The First Noel

3. Brightest and Best

4. Soilse na Nollag

5. The Holly and The Ivy

6. There is a Star

7. Children’s Winter

8. Silver Bells

9. Bread and Fishes

10. O Little Town Of Bethlehem/Hark The Herald Angels Sing 

11. Rebel Jesus

Awesome. Will be reviewing this as soon as I get a copy. Cheers!

Ten Years of Áthas Plus Rant Maggie Rant and Celtic Twist.

Ten Years of Áthas Plus Rant Maggie Rant and Celtic Twist.

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To be together for ten years is worth celebrating. I remember we spend only few years in school and then we part. Years later we see each other, this time with families and kids. Things are no longer the same. But to be in a musical group and to have that time (to not just support each other creatively but also as friends) is a gift! This happened to the band áthas and they marked their tenth anniversary with an album called 10 for 10.

According to their website:

May of 2015 marked 10 years of us together as áthas. To celebrate and as a way to say thanks to our fans and supporters, we decided to put together some live tracks and radio appearances from the past several years. We hope you enjoy this stroll down memory lane! 

I say it is a great way to release an album. You can listen to the tracks, stream it or buy it; in any way you can as long as you continue to support independent Celtic music is a blessing! Listen to the music here.

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New record by 

Rant Maggie Rant coming up!

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Make way for this amazing Canadian band as they unleash new songs for eager ears. Just dropped by their Twitter page out of curiosity and found their latest tweet. Thank you so much Twitter for making my life colorful. At least I don’t have to go back to Facebook for a while to know what’s new in music. I can stay here and still be informed.

So yes they have a new album called Latitude and I was able to listen to their previous tunes and I’d say they will never disappoint you. Take a peek and hear snippets by going to their official site.

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Celtic Twist

2011 onwards were strange years for me. So many things happened. Some were so delightful I go over them in my mind when I have the time. There were also sad times which I never bothered to really address.But sometimes regret can open doors. Sometimes anger can pave way to possibilities and opportunities. Resentment can be a powerful tool when you know how to use it-by diffusing the rage and take brave steps to the other side…

I think it’s the same year that I got to know Phil Holland. She made me listen to her albums plus her new project, Celtic Twist(with Dave  Palmley). For a while we had fun sharing music and ideas through Facebook. She has this powerful voice and I was delighted with the things she did to the voice, the experimentation and all. But Facebook was not really their playground. They removed their page.

For a few years I kept wondering what happened to them. I recently got in touched with them through Twitter(again Twitter you are awesome!) and so the thread continues. We might no longer share the same luxury of communicating due to our schedules but it is good to see them healthy and making great music!

More Updates Plus Upcoming Album By Moya Brennan.

More Updates Plus Upcoming Album By Moya Brennan.

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Music comes from the most unexpected places! Ok, I just ripped off Jose Feliciano’s “Love Comes from The Most Unexpected Places.” I do love that song. It’s been a regular part of my childhood playlist especially when we take our afternoon siesta listening to the radio.

But I say unexpected because many artists love to experiment. I think we see the rise of cultural exploration, how it has really taken off in the past ten years. That is why you can now hear Celtic music in many parts of the globe. And yours truly is a Filipino blogger living in a quiet town in Asia. Would you believe?! I love doing this(when not working) and I think I will be doing this for the rest of my life. Nothing like the itch of writing and discovering new music!

Shamrocks.

It is past 3 in the morning while I write this entry. I am listening to this high energy band called Shamrocks. They’re from the Ukraine. According to lead man Anatoliy:” We play Celtic Punk / Stout Rock – our signature mixture of Irish, Finnish and other types of folk music with a variety of rock and metal styles.” But there’s more. They have a good degree of finesse when it comes to recording craft. They sound like they’ve rehearsed a couple of times before going to the studio. I like it. There is that raw punk energy in their songs coupled with clean delivery, so you get something that will last for many seasons.

They are releasing a new album in the middle of this month so watch out for that. More details here: https://www.facebook.com/ShamRocksBand/

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Scéal.

If you are a big fan of Irish folklore then this game will be a treat! Game Skinny already reviewed this:

Sceal, which is developed by Joint Custody and recently released on Steam, is a magnificent mini Irish folklore adventure game. Players take on the role of this young girl spirit who is trying to recover her memories before the day ends.

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Upcoming album by Moya Brennan.
Moya Brennan is releasing a new album next year. This news made buzz in the Celtic community after she posted this update on her Facebook page. She is joined by her children Aisling and Paul on music/production chores.Moya Brennan wrote:

*New Solo Studio Album – Due February 2017*

I am delighted to say that I have been working on my brand new solo album, provisionally titled “River of Songs”. I can’t believe it has been 10 years since the release of Signature, my last studio album, and I can’t wait to share this new music with you all.

To add to the excitement, it is very much a family affair here in the studio! I have been writing songs non-stop with my son, daughter and husband over the past few weeks. My daughter, Aisling Jarvis, is engineering and mixing the album, with some help from my son, Paul Jarvis. And it will be a co-production between all of us! So I am hoping that you will enjoy the old Moya sound coming together with the new modern styles of my kids, while still keeping the Celtic vibe that I know you all love so well.

With the release of the new album, I will be touring throughout Europe early next year. Tour dates are posted on my website here:
www.moyabrennan.com

I will keep you all updated with the progress of the album in the coming weeks!

You can view pictures from the recording session plus a cute shot with their dog!

 

November Updates!Realta, Cookeilidh and Many More!

November Updates!Realta, Cookeilidh and Many More!

 

 

(Réalta – Asturian Set – Clear Skies (Saltón de Meres – Pasacáis del Xarreru)

Promotional video for the Irish Traditional band Réalta – the opening track from their second album Clear Skies (2016).

Clear Skies is available from iTunes, Bandcamp and the band’s own website:

http://www.realtamusic.com/shop/

https://realtamusic.bandcamp.com/albu

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/cle…

For more information about Réalta, check out

http://www.realtamusic.com

http://www.facebook.com/realtamusic

Realta just released their second album Clear Skies and judging from the video it will be better than their first. Apart from their great stage presence and youth, I really like their style of music. They remind me of those great trad bands in the 70s and the newer hip bands that proliferate our Celtic airwaves. They always come up with fresh ideas plus a musical chemistry that really works!

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I’ve been following the posts by Cookeilidh on Instagram. The platform enabled me to discover new music. It is also a great way to advertise this blog. This video proves that their sense of cool is always there be it musical or fashion-wise!

About the band:

Cookeilidh ( Cook – Kay – Lee )

Cookeilidh is a 4 member Celtic band from Victoria, BC, comprised of 12-string guitar, fiddle, wooden Irish flute, electric bass, bodhran, and vocals.

Noted for our high energy performance, we play a variety of Irish & Scottish Trad tunes, with a good dollop of Canadian East Coast and West Coast flavours, along with some tasty originals. Driven by a passion for the timeless and traditional Celtic music of past generations, we enjoy weaving our own special blend of “Trad with Attitude”.

Website: http://www.cookeilidh.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/COOKEILIDH

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How was your Halloween? With so much work load it is hard for me to take time and post an update but I am trying my best because work will never go away as long as we live. So what’s up? There are great releases before the year ends. I wrote bout Kyle Carey’s Kickstarted venture and looking forward to the new album that she’s making.

Here we go with the music. First is an update from Daly Communications:

2 amazing Indie Irish rock acts from Dublin in NYC -THE STUNNING + JAMES VINCENT MC MORROW/ Scottish Play comes to the McKittrick Hotel sponsored by THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND

The Stunning Live!

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The legendary Irish band’s long-awaited return to US this November – 
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 5th ~ CONNOLLY’S, KLUB 45, TIMES SQ, NYC
James Vincent McMorrow:
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HE IS IN NYC on 11/7 @ Webster Hall go to his website for tickets before it sells out! http://jamesvmcmorrow.com/
 
E McKITTRICK HOTEL AND THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND
PRESENT THE NEW YORK PREMIERE OF
THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART
 
PREVIEWS BEGIN NOVEMBER 16, 2016    OPENING NIGHT TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13LIMITED HOLIDAY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH JANUARY 8, 2017
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So there you go. Happy listening and I will catch up with you soon.
 
‘The Art of Forgetting’ – Kyle Carey’s New Album Kickstarter Campaign Has Launched!

‘The Art of Forgetting’ – Kyle Carey’s New Album Kickstarter Campaign Has Launched!

 

So it begins! Gaelic-Americana singer-songwriter Kyle Carey has launched her Kickstarter campaign with a lot in store for music lovers. This is going to be exciting. Given her track record, you will not be disappointed!

As you might have noticed, I mentioned this in my previous post. I am highly supportive of her music. If you have been following my posts you know that it goes back to her first album.

As evident in the video above, Carey only surrounds herself with the best in the industry. Sios Dhan An Abhainn was performed in the 2016 Celtic Connections. That video is an example of her evolution as an artist and it will be further showcased in ‘The Art of Forgetting.’

Here’s an exerpt of the project:

Now that I’ve carved out a niche for my transatlantic sound, I’m ready to add a new element, and so I’ll be heading down to Louisiana in January to record my third album The Art of Forgetting with seasoned and acclaimed producer Dirk Powell – who I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to work with.

Dirk and I have already discussed the ways in which we can present ‘Gaelic Americana’ with a slight Acadian twist, which includes conscripting the aid of veteran guitarist Sam Broussard of ‘Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys’ – an expert Cajun and alternate-tuning guitarist.

We’ll be laying the basic tracks in Dirk’s beautiful home-studio known as the ‘Cypress House’ and then through the winter – adding accompaniment from the finest Celtic and American musicians from both sides of the Atlantic.

With a wonderful graphic designer (Heidi Pitre!), exemplary backing musicians, mastering services already secured and a team of talented promoters to spread the word – I’m confident that this album will be some of my finest work, and make an even bigger splashthan its predecessors.

You can read more about the campaign by clicking the link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kylecarey/the-art-of-forgetting-kyle-careys-new-album

http://kck.st/2evLZcc

I am posting the pictures which are all approved by the artist.

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Time to Play The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’ Leary

Time to Play The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’ Leary

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Looking for a winter album to jam to? I am going to talk about The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’Leary. I wrote about it last Christmas and even did an interview with the artist.

I just feel it is timely to discuss about holiday albums at this point because when you go out there to look for your kind of music(Traditional Scottish,Irish etc), it is really hard these days with so many choices around, and so many mainstream artists releasing their own holiday albums.

Check out the press release:

THE WEXFORD CAROLS featuring Tom Jones, Rosanne Cash & Rhiannon Giddens

Starring the celebrated Irish singer Caitríona O’Leary and featuring Grammy winners Sir Tom JonesRosanne Cash and Rhiannon GiddensThe Wexford Carols presents Ireland’s greatest Christmas music (much of it for the first time) in a recording that magically blends a diversity of folk styles including traditional Irish, Americana, Blues and Gospel.

With lyrics by Luke Waddinge and William Devereux and set to popular tunes of the day, these musically sublime, spiritually rich, and emotionally powerful carols from the 17th and 18th centuries will give listeners an entirely new and compelling way to experience the story of Christmas.

The Wexford Carols was produced by four-time Grammy winner Joe Henry.

It also has an interesting background:

Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

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Clanú are back with a new album Long Way Round. This is a strong follow-up to their 2012 album Ancient Walls. The reason why I got so excited in reviewing this is because of the evolution of their sound. The tracks are more diverse and they have lots of influences in this new album, from  bluegrass, Irish folk, Irish traditional, Americana and country.

Long Way Round has twelve tracks including covers of Black is the Color and Siúil A Rún. They incorporate traditional and folk instruments. I am a big fan of  piano music and I think Diamond’s Relief is spectacular. It has that contemporary, New Agey feel reminiscent of Night Noise and Phil Coulter. High five  to them for adding this gem.

Like Clannad and The Corrs, Clanu are composed  mostly of family members: Dee McIlroy, Niall McIlroy, Damian McIlroy, Paul Conlon and Fiona McIlroy. The latter  possess and angelic voice. I would not be surprised if one day she will be embarking on a solo career as a singer/instrumentalist.

I think Dee and Fiona  did an amazing work with their vocal styles that are supple and expressive. They sing within their ranges and that’s what I want my music to be after a long day-relaxing but also diverse. The rest of the players did their part in holding the architectural soundscape of this album, not just in every track but also on how every track sticks to each other  in a cohesive way.

You Know My Love Is True has a distinct style. It calls to mind American music in the swinging era with traces of Bluegrass. I feel like I would jitterbug every time I hear this song.

Long Way Round is an album that will appeal to many listeners. Clanú are from Belfast but with a sound like that, it is likely they will conquer continental Europe.

Why Music? Why Breathing? The Allison Crowe Band CD!

Why Music? Why Breathing? The Allison Crowe Band CD!

The powerful voice and intrumental prowess will delight fans and new converts of Allison Crowe’s artistic genius. 

“Why music? Why breathing?” is a quote I got from the liner notes of the new Allison Crowe and band CD. These questions do reflect her artistry. She got into music at an early age and at 15, she was already performing professionally. I am new to her music and I was introduced to her albums perhaps around two years ago. They were studio recordings but her live renditions are something. It really gives you the idea of how powerful that voice is. I have not heard of anyone who sings with the vulnerability or childhood innocence and the piercing intensity of Edith Piaf the way she does, well at least not in this lifetime. And that’s what this double CD present to us.

Introducing / Heirs + Grievances (2016)  are a double-album debut of Allison Crowe and Band comprising one live CD and one studio CD recording. Disc one contains her live recordings with her band and disc two contains her studio recordings which is actually her new album after Souling. I listened to disc two first in order to get the feel of her ‘natural’ recording style. Then I moved to disc one. I was surprised by her flexibility and power not only as a vocalist but also as an instrumentalist.

The double CD also contain a re-make of ‘Why’ originally by Annie Lennox(from her album Diva). Lennox is quite a challenge but Crowe maneuvered her way into the soulful road of the song and belted out like kingdom come on the last part of the track. It is quite amazing how she can do so many things with her voice. She’s a woman with a guitar who belts out like Aretha Franklin, a bodhran player with soul in her heart and yes a pianist with the grace of a classical performer.

All songs in the double album are originally composed by Allison Crowe except Chelsea Hotel No. 2-by Leonard Cohen,Foggy Shores of Home-Garry Driscoll, Tarry Trousers/Now I’m 64(Traditional). And you can see why this album is a must for all you music fans. It’s got everything. It’s got soul and power and most of all the unique style of Allison Crowe.

About the album:

  • When critics liken you to Edith Piaf, Elton John, Aretha Franklin and Modest Mussorgsky, it’s a good sign you’re truly one-of-a-kind. So it is with musical explorer Allison Crowe who, since creating her own record label in 2001, uniquely inhabits the world of song – continually adding breadth and depth to a richly expressive repertoire for piano, vocals, guitar and bodhran.

    Crowe’s “supernaturally agile and exquisite voice” is complemented ideally by her international touring band: Céline Greb (cello, vocal harmonies); Sarah White (mandolin, vocal harmonies); and Dave Baird (bass). Longtime friend, musician and photographer Billie Woods contributes guitar and vocal harmonies to the band’s recordings. The combo’s gorgeously thrilling hybrid of Canadiana, Celtic  more

    ships out within 2 daysa1474349875_10
Autumn Leaves Are Falling

Autumn Leaves Are Falling

I took the title of this blog from a Clannad song. It is a track taken off their late 90s album, Landmarks. It also happens to me one of their strongest albums in my opinion. 

Autumn is the time of the year when everything slows down. Everything becomes quite. People become more contemplative. And what better way to celebrate the month of October than to listen to new and upcoming albums from your favorite Celtic bands and solo artists!

Now for the list:

Kyle Carey id launching a kickstarter campaign ‘The Art of Forgetting’ – which will be released in the fall of 2017. The album will be produced by Dirk Powell and will feature some of the finest in Celtic and American music. 

This will be her third album following the critically acclaimed North Star. Her vocal style is unique. And she can sing in many languages. I am sure this upcoming album will be as strong as her previous ones.

 

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New album by Clanu out!

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From Belfast!

For fans of Bluegrass, Traditional Irish, folk and instrumental music, Clanu will be a welcomed released. We have seen and heard releases that are loud and fast and it is time to quiet down a bit with Long Way Round. The album art is not the only thing that’s beautiful in this album. Hint: use your ears 😉

Members are Dee McIlroy, Niall McIlroy, Damian McIlroy, Paul Conlon and Fiona McIlroy. Grab this album now while it is fresh from the recording studio!

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Famous Lead Vocalist of Goth/New Wave band The Bolshoi is now a Celtic Rocker with Rathkeltair

I am talking about Trevor Tanner. This came as a surprise because I was going to write a story about his former band for this Goth magazine that I also write for but further research pointed me to his new music. This is exciting because it shows that when a door closes, another door opens and that goes to any form of art. Music is fluid and it doesn’t matter what style you play, it is still music. Check out more videos of Rathkeltair via YouTube.

 

 

 

New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by Poitín

New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by Poitín

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Poitín are:

Jaroslav Macháček – fiddle and founder member

Jeremy King – bodhrán, vocals, Brighton-born

Jakub Siegl – guitar, vocals

Jan Brabec – bouzouki, banjo, whistles

Sasha Marešová – whistles, flutes

Tomáš Pergler – concertina, whistles

It is the start of Autumn and we got an auspicious release from Czech-based Celtic band Poitín. Simple Pleasure is the new album and it marks the continuation of their exploration into Celtic styles while retaining their distinctive sound.This is also their sixth studio album, spanning sixteen years of recording history.

Simple Pleasures has thirteen tracks (my lucky number) and you can hear instrumental as well as vocal tracks driven by their punchy and elegant delivery. The Jolly Beggarman, the opening track tells us what to expect in the album in terms of the overall atmosphere. Introduced by Jakub Siegl’s acoustic guitar strumming, the song was recorded by Planxty in 1973(other bands also recorded the song). And although I forgot the Planxty style, I love this version and arrangement. There’s the banjo extravaganza (featuring Jan Brabec) of Brendan’s Reels, the John Martyn pinned Spencer the Rover and many more.

Every band member has a moment. Last Beautiful Loneliness highlights the playing of Sasha Marešová and Jaroslav Macháček. O’puss No. 7 ( is one of my favorite tracks) features amazing variations and Tomáš Pergler’s concertina. Pleasant Month of May is perhaps Jeremy King’s most beautiful vocal performance. I wish it were longer though. Twenty Candles on Poitín’s Cake  is the right tune to wrap up the album because it goes out with a bang.

Everything you can expect with the group is in this album: attention to detail, excellent playing and great post-production technique. Sonically it is their slickest album to date. I also love the album liner notes featuring the photography of Vladislav Škach.

It is always an occasion for The Celtic Music Fan when a new Poitín album is out. It is a pleasure to watch their every release and that they continue to be a musical force as a band.

Band bio:

Poitín formed twenty years ago in Pilsen in the Czech Republic and have toured in Poland, France, Italy and Germany. All the members are Czech apart from the singer and bodhrán player who is originally from Brighton in the south of England. Their latest album Simple Pleasures (out September 2016) is Poitín’s sixth studio album. The 13 tracks are a mix of traditional Irish, English and Scottish songs, jigs and reels, but many of the sets also feature original tunes by the band. Poitín play concertina, bouzouki, banjo, guitar, fiddle, whistles, flutes and bodhrán, and former band member and sax player Helena Marková returns as a special guest to add another interesting twist to this new album.

 

Lau, So Happy To Be Playing Live in the US (Q & A with Martin Green)

Lau, So Happy To Be Playing Live in the US (Q & A with Martin Green)

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The band members of Lau are in middle of their American tour. You can get the tickets here. Now is your chance to hear their epic recordings getting a live treatment. And if you are lucky enough, you might even get to interview band members. I am so happy to have my questions answered by Martin Green (accordion, wurlitzer, keys, electronics) courtesy of my friend Anita Daly.

1. You are starting  your US tour. Are you excited?
Always exciting to be in America, we have some good friends here and there is such remarkable music to enjoy.

2. Is this your first time performing in the US?
Lau have been in the US several times, but this is the longest tour to date, fantastic to get a chance to explore a bit more.

3. The Bell that Never Rang continues to receive positive reviews. How’s the recording process?
It was an extremely enjoyable process Joan Wasser came over from New York to record with us in Scotland, she has an amazing energy about her as a person and as a musician. We learned a lot from her during the recording.

4. The title track is an epic track that calls to mind British bands like Renaissance and Fairport Convention. What’s the story behind this song?
The Bell that Never Rang is part of the city of Glasgow’s coat of arms. The piece was commissioned by Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. It is a celebration of Glasgow (a place we love very much).

5. What have you learned collaborating with other bands and also maintaining Lau creatively?
Lau is a small band, and has never changed line-up (and never will) and so we find it hugely useful to collaborate with other musicians, it brings new ideas on and helps keep us open to new ways of thinking.

6. What’s your favorite song in the new album?
Death of the dining car, Kris sounds like Paul Simon, and I’m into that.

7. Your message to fans?
It’s great to be over here, hope you can make it out to one of the shows!
Cheers
Martin
The Beautiful Drama Unfolds:The Bell That Never Rang by Lau

The Beautiful Drama Unfolds:The Bell That Never Rang by Lau

 

Tracks:81u8jjyljll-_sl1425_

1 First Homecoming

2 The Death of the Dining Car

3 Back in Love Again

4 Tiger Hill (Armoured Man)

5 The Bell That Never Rang

6 Ghosts

 

A true audiophile loves traveling though the highways of sounds. And the new Lau album provides this opportunity. Partly experimental and partly rooted to British folk, The Bell that Never Rang is an exquisite aural experience that will please crowds on both ends of the spectrum.

Lau comprises  Martin Green (accordion, wurlitzer, keys, electronics), Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle) and Kris Drever (vocals, guitar).With their combined influences, they merge the world inhabited by the likes of Radiohead and the tradition of Fairport Convention. Which is also to say, that Lau continues to hold the sumptuous sounds of bands that came from the region before them.

The experimental nature of their sound is no accident. According to their bio, the three members have their involvement in so many different solo projects. This includes making records for other artists, and providing creative spark for their peers. Which is such a feat considering that they are still able to be consistent in releasing albums via Lau. It is a wonder that they can maintain that creative focus with so many choices and many musicians to collaborate with. But perhaps, like making a family, it all boils to decision. And they have decided to stick to their own kind of sound and band.

The Bell that Never Rang is a joy to listen to. At the center of the new album lies the epic seventeen-minute, collaborative title track, with The Elysian Quartet. This track is so massive and dense that its gravity seems to pull the songs around it to its core. It’s almost a religious experience!

I enjoyed this album and I hope you discover the same experience as you journey through their sound, which is also a journey to your heart.

Don’t miss their US tour by visiting their Gigs section: http://www.lau-music.co.uk/gigs/

What a Treat! Spencer Murray & Pipeslinger

What a Treat! Spencer Murray & Pipeslinger

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If you are a fan of Celtic music then the name Spencer Murray is no stranger to you. Yes it is the first time I got hold of his full-length album but I am familiar with his videos for years, via YouTube. The album in question is called Sound and Fury. It has twelve tunes with alternating vocal and instrumental leads.

According to his bio, he has already (quote) performed with Grammy winner Carlos Nunez, Scottish fiddler Bruce MacGregor of Blazin’ Fiddles on his Canadian tour and with the Barr Brothers on the mainstage of the 2016 Edmonton Folk Music Festival. In 2015, Spencer became the first ever Canadian to win the senior flute competition at the New York Fleadh, the biggest Irish music competition in North America and went on to represent Canada at the All Ireland Championships in Sligo, Ireland.

Sound & Fury is a rich musical tapestry encompassing modern and traditional tunes from Scotland, Ireland and various Celtic nations. His bagpipes are mellifluous and he weaves his performance like a master yarn artist. Each melodic line weaves a story that resonates around our ancient souls.

There are bombastic and gentle moments in this album. For instance, in Strong Ciders, a gentle piano melody introduces the track and builds up gradually into complex rhythmic structure, yet maintaining that intimate and wispy feel- as introduced by the guitar. The album features his favorite musicians:  Jake Charron on guitar and piano, Shane Cook on fiddle, Daniel Stadnicki on percussion, Elliot Thomas on banjo and vocals, Keith Rempel on upright bass and Spencer Murray on Irish flute, tin whistle, Scottish borderpipes and Uilleann pipes.

The album showcases each of the musician’s talents as the recording introduces that breath of space between instruments, clarity that keeps us on the loop of who’s playing and what instrument. Sound & Fury closes with Clawhammer Reels that will surely keep enthusiasts tapping their feet! Spencer Murray is also part of The Log Drivers.

Released August 24, 2016

Spencer Murray – borderpipes, uilleann pipes, flute, whistles

Jake Charron – guitar, piano

Elliot Thomas – vocals, banjo

Keith Rempel – bass

Daniel Stadnicki – drums

Shane Cook – fiddle

Daniel Gervais – fiddle

Loretto Reid – concertina

Dana Wylie – vocals

Eric Wright – electronic production

Recorded and Mixed by Harry Gregg at The Audio Department & Riverdale Recorders in Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Mastered by Phil Demetro

Art by Kat Gomboc  www.katgomboc.com

 

Van Morrison Keeps Our Souls Singing Along

Van Morrison Keeps Our Souls Singing Along

 

Tracks

  1. Let It Rhymepackshot
  2. Every Time I See a River
  3. Keep Me Singing
  4. Out in the Cold Again
  5. Memory Lane
  6. The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword
  7. Holy Guardian Angel
  8. Share Your Love With Me
  9. In Tiburon
  10. Look Behind the Hill
  11. Going Down to Bangor
  12. Too Late
  13. Caledonia Swing

Keep Me Singing, the much-anticipated album by  Northern Irish musical legend Van Morrison got its release this September. Finally, it is great to be treated to an exquisite musical experience with this album. Morrison has established his name in the music world with Astral Weeks among his other great albums.

My introduction to his music began with his contribution to The Long Black Veil by The Chieftains in the mid-90s. It was also the time when his Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison topped the jazz charts all over the world. His eclecticism is his asset. It is through that vision that he continues to collaborate successfully with notable artists from different genres while influencing them at the same time.

Keep Me Singing has thirteen songs. All of them are classic Morrison with touches of folk, jazz, soft rock and traditional Irish. The timeless sound transcend  decades. Listening to songs like The Pen is Mightier than the Sword calls to mind his earlier albums. The feel of the songs are warm and rich which calls to mind those live recordings from bygone days before the introduction of computers. So for people who love the taste of nostalgia, this album is for them.

The string arrangement feels cinematic and this is expressed in songs like Let it Rhyme, Every Time I See A River, Memory Lane and others. Too Late is the first single off the album and it is an upbeat song. Too Late is the single off the new album. It is an upbeat track that will surely catch your attention. Keep Me Singing is another musical treasure to keep. And the good feeling keeps coming!

 

Also available from
iTunes – http://po.st/KeepMeSingingiTunes
Amazon – http://po.st/KeepMeSingingAmz
HMV – http://po.st/KeepMeSingingHMV

Follow Van Morrison online at:

http://www.vanmorrison.com
http://po.st/VanMorrisonFacebook
http://po.st/VanMorrisonTwitter
http://po.st/VanMorrisonYouTube
http://po.st/VanMorrisonSpotify
http://po.st/VanMorrisoniTunes
https://itun.es/gb/g79

Wow! The Led Farmers @ Arlene’s Grocery 9/2 and LAU @ Rockwood Music Hall 9/15

Wow! The Led Farmers @ Arlene’s Grocery 9/2 and LAU @ Rockwood Music Hall 9/15

Hey! Hey! Hey! one of the coolest Irish bands of the decade is performing. I am talking about The Led Farmers. I love their sense of humor and I admire their musical skills! Now if you haven’t noticed yet, they are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theledfarmers/

As with Lau I recently wrote a piece about Kris Drever so you know what to expect 😉

Check out the press release of the concert below . They are performing with Lau:

THE LED FARMERS – @ Arlene’s Grocery, Friday Sept. 2nd 10PM
The Led Farmers are an Indie Irish Folk/Rock Band from Ireland that grew up steeped in the Irish music tradition and have garnered a reputation for excellence by combining their rich heritage with modern Ireland to create a fresh new energy. The Led Farmers 
are launching their brand new album “Katie” on September 1stand will be on tour in the US this August and September. While they love to play the Irish folk classics it is their own songs and fresh new arrangements of folk music that has seen them get attention of late. The group boasts a two-time All Ireland Music champion and many of its’ members have studied music at University level. They have toured the US and Europe and are becoming one of Ireland’s best loved live acts. In 2015 they played 87 shows and 2016 looks to be similar. The band keeps the tradition while moving it forward.
THE LED FARMERS @ Arlene’s Grocery, Friday Sept. 2nd 10PM http://www.arlenesgrocery.net/
LAU – Scottish Folk band, LAU, releases ‘THE BELL THAT NEVER RANG’ In NYC 
@ Rockwood Music Hall September 19th sponsored by WFUV
The intuitive and often beautiful interplay of accordion, fiddle and guitar glides to a new level as instrumental virtuosity blends easily with tasteful electronics.”  Mojo
Scottish Folk group, LAU, redefine how a trio can sound, arming themselves with both highly original repertoire and superb takes on traditional material. Their latest release, ‘The Bell That Never Rang’ has been nominated for Scottish Album of The Year award 2016. The Bell That Never Rang is their fourth studio album,  released last year in the UK on Reveal Records. Brilliant musicians, thrilling performers and free-thinking visionaries small wonder Lau are regarded as the epicentre of the new folk boom. And they’ve got shelves groaning with awards (BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARD WINNERS, BEST BAND, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015 THE HERALD), a forest’s worth of ecstatic reviews and breathless plaudits from excited audiences in various outposts of the world ringing in their ears to prove it.
LAU @ Rockwood Music Hall Sept. 19th tickets @ http://www.rockwoodmusichall.com/ 8:30PM
 

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Hello everyone,

Good news! Our new album has arrived! Say hello to Katie. We are very happy with this CD and I hope you will be too.

To all the people who supported the making of our album, we will get your rewards to you as soon as we can. We’re off to America in 36 hrs but after that we will get to work on all the CDs, t shirts, poems, sketches, Irish lessons and signed photos for all you fine people. Thanks again 😁👍

If you would like a copy you can purchase online at www.theledfarmers.com

All the best,
The Led Farmers.

 

Video premiere of new Van Morrison album!

Video premiere of new Van Morrison album!

Van Morrison will release his brand new album ‘Keep Me Singing’ on September 30th on CD, Gatefold Vinyl & download. You can pre-order the album on CD/Vinyl + Lithograph from the official store here:http://po.st/KeepMeSingingStore

Hooray! The legend is releasing a new album next month and this video is a teaser of what’s to come. I admire the simplicity of the music video. No frills. Just the singer-songwriter backed by other musicians in the studio. Too Late is the first single off the upcoming apbum ‘Keep me Singing. It has the eclectic elements that Morrison is known for.

I never got into his music until the mid-nineties when The Chieftains released The Long Black Veil (feat. other artists like Sinead O’Connor, Tom Jones and Sting among others) and I noticed the beauty of his voice. It is a very expressive, bleeding instrument. Watch out for Keep Me Singing at the end of September and I am sure fans will be showered by the greatness of his talents once more!

Tradition at its Finest:Roots by Andrew Finn Magill

Tradition at its Finest:Roots by Andrew Finn Magill

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Irish music was already dominant in the life Andrew Finn Magill while growing up and spending every summer at the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops. He learned to play the fiddle with the help from some of the finest folk musicians in the world.

By age 16, he already accomplished the following:

-As a two-time finalist at the All-Ireland Championships.

-He has toured France with the popular Celtic music & dance revue, Celtic Dances( under the musical direction of Liz Knowles & Kieran O’Hare).

-Produced a Fulbright-MtvU- funded concept album, Mau a Malawi( about those affected by AIDS with Malawian Afro-vibes artist Peter Mawanga).

I am currently enjoying his first in the series of concept albums. This one is called Roots. Why the title Roots? Well, I noticed that it is perhaps the most Traditional Irish I got my hands on this year. The tracks are familiar and they are rendered in a way they are supposed to-with emphasis on the style of music itself.

I once had this conversation with a friend while listening to traditional tunes. I just got my hands on a bodhran courtesy of my friend in England. So I was trying to learn my ear and these are songs from Lunasa, Chieftains and other bands who are into hardcore trad music. This is also the time when exploring the technical aspect of the music can be an enjoyable experience. And this love for traditional music gave way to many blog posts in this site.

?So what’s the story behind Roots? According to his press release:

Roots is the first disc in a concept album series which charts Magill’s musical progression in Irish music, featuring the tunes and players that defined his earliest years playing the fiddle: John Doyle, Cillian Vallely (Lúnasa), Sean Earnest (The Yanks), Duncan Wickel and Vincent Fogarty (The Red Wellies). Recorded in three studios on two continents, the music is ‘pure drop’ Irish with sparse instrumentation and innovative arrangements.
From the lively set of reels that opens the album, the listener is treated to brilliant and respectful renditions of much-loved jigs, hornpipes & reels, as well as some rarely-heard gems such as a beautiful setting of the set dance, “The Blackbird” the slow air, “Roisin Dubh,” and Carolan’s “Maurice O’Connor’s Third Air.” The album ends with a rolling, powerhouse set of reels sure to get any Irish music fan’s blood pumping.
In fall 2016, Magill will release Branches, the sequel to Roots, which integrates Finn’s traditional Irish musical foundations with his many other influences in ten original compositions.

Looking forward to the release Branches and that will showcase how flexible and colorful Traditional Irish music has grown through the years.

Roots the album has ten tunes featuring  jigs, reels and hornpipes. I love his precision and perfect pitch. The album features John Doyle, Cillian Vallely & Colin Farrell of Lúnasa, among others. There’s also Duncan Wickel whose work I am familiar with. It also features the 10-string bouzouki of Vincent Forgarty. Now DAGAD fanatics will hear the strumming of Sean Ernest.

So what track is closest to my heart? It’s got to be The Green Fields of Glentown as part of the medley in the 10th track. If you meet someone asking about Traditional tunes then let him or her listen to this CD as it will ‘teach’ everything there is to know about the music. And hopefully it will influence younger audience to learn the style for future musical generations to come.

I really enjoy Roots. I take it with me when I ride the bike. I listen to it when I am stressed and I want to keep focused. But most of all I just listen to it for its musical richness. And it should be part of your growing collection.

 

Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

I have to admit, writing about the new musical venture of Cathy Maguire was a challenge. How do you start writing about something totally different from what you are used to? I reviewed bands, I blogged about musicians and their albums,or even wrote about musicals but posting about a TV show was a challenge. But then again this is no ordinary TV show. It is about music and the Irish musicians that perform them.So where do I start? Of course, the music. The music will guide you through.

Sunnyside Sessions is an exciting venture that Irish singer-songwriter launched recently and it showcases talents based in the East Coast United States-the expats. Now I remember posting a video of HamsandwicH on my Facebook status and that’s  why the show’s title sounds familiar. I saw them perform in the Sunnyside Sessions with the rest of the talented people. My first impression: great location and set design.

I exchanged emails with Cathy Maguire and I discovered more about why everyone should check out Sunnyside Sessions. Here’s an excerpt from Irish Echo written by Sean Devlin:

Cathy Maguire is no stranger to new opportunities. In possession of a career decorated with accomplishments, including television appearances and multiple album releases, she has rubbed elbows with some of the best talent the country music industry has to offer. With “The Sunnyside Sessions,” she’s been branching out into a new TV venture, and embracing all the stops along the way.

With many amazing performers I am sure Sunnyside Sessions will continue to attrack audiences eom different demographics. Here’s an info I got from the press release as to what this show is all about:

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I think this is a fascinating show that everyone should support. We need more artists like hose that appeared in her show. May the force be with her!

Padraig Duggan-The Spirit of His Music Will Always Live in our Hearts.

Padraig Duggan-The Spirit of His Music Will Always Live in our Hearts.

 

August 9. Moya Brennan posted a photo of Padraig Duggan with this caption: My dear uncle and fellow Clannad member, Padraig Duggan, passed away peacefully this morning. Rest in Peace Padraig and thanks for all your music over the years

***

Today, we reflect and remember Padraig Duggan of Clannad.He passed away this week due to a recurring illness. It was  a shocked because he was only 67 and this is so unexpected. For lovers of Irish music, The Duggans are a duo that I am sure you are familiar with. I am currently listening to their music via YouTube and these are songs from their 2005 album Rubicon.

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Padraig Duggan.

You can feel the passion of the brothers as they are joined by special guests: Moya Brennan on vocals, Bridin Brennan, Deirdre Brennan, Andrew Roberts, and Ciaran Byrne on backing vocals, Maire Breathnach on viola, David James on cello, Peter Jack on bass, Ingolf Kurkowski on drums, Ian Parker on piano and keyboards, and Ian Melrose in guitars, whistle, dobro and backing vocals.

According to Noel and Padraig Duggan:

The Rubicon is the point of no return. It is the place at which someone must continue on their present course of action. For us, the Rubicon is very significant. Musically, we felt that this album was the only direction that we could take at this time. The night was approaching and we could hear the wind rise. We now feel that we have crossed the Rubicon. Clannad-Banba-Frontal

Duggan played guitar, mandola, mandolin and provided vocals for Clannad. I think his most memorable contribution was with Banba. It’s the album that introduced me to the Clannad discography and I just fell in love with their sound. His mandolin playing was highlighted especially in tracks like The Other Side and Sunset Dreams.

Apart from the Duggans, Padraig was also a member of Norland Wind with his nephew Ciaran Brennan.

His contribution to music will never be forgotten and peers mourn for his passing.

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The Led Farmers: They have a likability that is instant. The music is full of vigour and wonderful melodies.

The Led Farmers’ website says they are touring around Europe but they will start their North American tour in the last part of August. There is no doubt they will fill venues with their energetic sound and a style that is homegrown as it is punk with its rebelliousness.

Katie is the latest album that landed on my speakers from Ireland. Caution: Their music encourages you to get up and move. . So who are they? The band is comprise of the following:Brendan ‘Dog’ Walsh: Banjos. Ross O’Farrell: Bass. Glenn Malone: Drums. Shay Long: Guitar.

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Share the Wealth is the latest single off the album. The music video shows the band playing in what appears to be a living room. There is an alternate scene(acted by the band members) of what looks like a money-lender making deals over the phone. First client comes in and signs a contract. He hands it back to the man who tears it up and laughs at his face while smoking a cigar.Then another appears, same thing happens but this time he puts an X on the paper to the dismay of the other guy. Third guy gets his paper crumpled. In the end he receives a termination letter. He packs his stuff and walks out of his office. Outside, he meets the men he conned. Their expressions say:” See what happens to greedy people?”
What I like about them as a band? The reviewers are right. They have this likeability factor. They’ve got  what you need in a superstar Irish band: Sound, looks, and stage presence. Any banjo fan will rejoice as this recording highlights the instrument very well. Guitars and bass have their moments. The drums are also mixed in a way that it doesn’t sound too aggressive especially in the faster tracks.
 Row by Row is my favorite as of the moment. It has all the elements of a timeless tune. The voices of the quartet blend well and I love the counter points in the chorus section. But this is not to say that is the only stand out track. There are many more. From Share the Wealth which introduces the mood of the album, to their beautiful remake of Star of the County Down, the funky Space to their rendition of traditional Irish music- everything you look for in an excellent Irish pop rock album is here.
Yes Katie is an album of fast tunes, but Foggy Dew and Ragland Road prove that they can be masters of  haunting ballads.
Read the press release that follows:

 Biography: 

The Led Farmers are an Indie Irish Folk Rock band from Ireland. The group boasts a two-time All Ireland Music champion and many of it’s members have studied music at University level. They have toured the U.S. and Europe and are becoming one of Ireland’s best-loved live acts. 2015 saw them play over 80 concerts and 2016 looks to be something similar. While they love to play the Irish folk classics it is their own songs and fresh new arrangements of folk music that has seen them get attention of late. Their spontaneous nature and friendliness on the stage makes them a very entertaining live band.

What the media says:

‘The Led Farmers are the kind of act that you just want to see go far, they have a likeability factor and stage presence that just completely enhances their performance and makes them so distinctive in comparison to so many trad/folk groups out there at the moment’ – Dublin Concerts reviews

‘According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word ‘fresh’ has the following meaning: having its original qualities unimpaired, full of or renewed in vigor and not worn or rumpled… and here comes a band that seems to fit the bill… they are infectious likeably and distinctive, these are lads you might indeed want to join for a pint or two’ – Irish American News

The Led Farmers preserve the tradition of their own native songs while adding a decidedly unique perspective to it. I can see that if The Led Farmers can persist like the Clancy Brothers did. Maybe in 20 or 30 years it may be said that they helped set the new standard for traditional Irish Music’ – Paddy Rock

‘I like the vibe of The Led Farmers. They have an acoustic sound that reminds me of Dexys Midnight Runners. These lads have an energy and style that takes up where the Pogues left off’ – Christy McNamara