Rachael McCormack: This Is My Identity

Rachael McCormack: This Is My Identity

rachael mc cormack

Rachael McCormack’s This Is My Identity is an album filled with memorable sweet tracks wrapped in titanium.

Artist:Rachael McCormack

Album: This Is My Identity

Genre: Folk/Rock

Sounds like: For lovers of The Beatles, Phil Lynott and Chris DeBurgh

Hometown: Ballymun

Fact: Irish singers have beautiful voices. This is the most constant thing when you listen to an album coming from the emerald Isle. This Is My Identity by Rachael McCormack fulfills that expectation. Her’s is a strong voice that’s very expressive. It can go from sounding sweet and girlish one moment, into a riveting scream the next. I think this is brought about by MS McCormack honing her craft being part of Dublin’s thriving community of singer/songwriters especially in the Voodoo Sessions. Apart from being passionate about her music, she is also very supportive of the community. I remember more than a year ago when I asked her if she has anything to write that I can post here. She heartily gave her thoughts and that gave me a glimpse of the colorful community she lives in. Fast forward to today and the fruit of her creativity gave way to This Is My Identity.

The album is compose of ten tracks, all influenced with Dublin’s melodic and electric atmosphere. If you love Phil Lynott, The Beatles and Chris DeBurgh then you will definitely light up to this one. I consider her voice as a combination of Mary Black and Linda Ronstadt. Her sound is reminiscent of KT Tunstall, one of her musical idols. The melodic quality of This Is My Identity is excellent. Each track embraces you drawing an infectious nod and smile. One of my favorites is Don’t Go Waste My Time because of the lovely string arrangement that swells on top of a poignant melody.

There are surprising tracks like Stand Out And Be Counted. I think the inclusion of rap really works! Crippled Inside is a capella  which explores her wide vocal range. Daddy Please Take Me Home is every daddy’s girl theme song. I like that part where I hear the violin pizzicato  in the verse part.

You can tell that Ms McCormack has poured her heart and soul to this album because passion can’t lie. And I hear passion all over the songs that span different genres and subject matter. Most of the story in the track are told in the point a point of view of a strong independent woman who is also sensitive and hurting. But there are moments of elation and cotton candy moments. And that sweetness is what most of us who are wounded needs at this time.

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Post Hurricane Edition

 In this edition: The Indulgers, Blyde Lasses, Cillian Doheny and pictures of the day…

We had a hard week. My heart goes to those who suffered the terrible force of hurricane Sandy. As much as I love Nature, these are one of those times when nature can be scary. It is a horrible situation but as long as we remain steadfast in our devotion to one another, then we will get through this. Ive had moments in my life when I thought all hope is gone. But when I think about the love of friends and family members, everything becomes bearable again.

There is an ongoing drive to help the people of New York. Please check out Beal Bocht:

The Beal Bocht offers music, poetry, comedy, theatre and art exhibits ,making it the premiere place for to showcase both Irish and local artistic talents while enjoying great drinks and food.

https://www.facebook.com/beal.bocht.9

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Introducing: The Indulgers

Genre    Irish/Celtic/Americana/Rock
Members    Damien McCarron – Vocals, Guitar
Mike Nile – Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin, Harmonica and Electronic Bagpipe
Renee Fine – Fiddle/Violin
Aaron Haywood – Bass
Frannie (Cheech) Mannone – Drums
Guesting on occasion:
Neale Heywood – Guitar
Ryan Bunnell – Guitar
Hometown    Boulder/Golden
Record label    Celtic Club Records
General manager    www.shamrocker.com
Influences    Waterboys, Horslips, Thin Lizzy, Christy Moore, Irish Trad., Paul Brady, Spirit, Fleetwood Mac, Beatles and many more.
Current Location    Boulder/Golden, Colorado

The The Indulgers

Good melodies, rockin’ beats, sing-along lyrics: these are the things that make up a good album that you can listen to again and again. My introduction to The Indulgers was rather nontraditional. I only know them after catching a radio show called Mile High Celtic Hour hosted by front man Damien McCarron. He moved to Colorado from Dublin.

I became a regular listener of the radio show and there is something about his speaking voice that’s great to hear. It is not just his Irish accent but his voice quality. I was not wrong when I heard their various tracks. I should also mention that apart from the front man’s vocal appeal, all the guys in the band are well-heeled musicians who are master of their own instruments. You can feel the passion as it electrifies every instrument in their songs.

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Blyde Lasses

Check out this duo from Aberdeen UK. Great fiddling tunes there that’s fresh and crisp. The Lasses Set is truly inspiring. I love the balance between energetic performance and  emphasis on  grace. The recording is also amazing because it lets you listen to the surface of sound. You can almost hear the way the bow grinds against the stings. Their vocals are also lush and expressive. I hope to hear more from them. It’s been a while that this site featured fiddlers. This could be the start eh?

http://www.myspace.com/blydelasses

http://www.sponsume.com/project/blyde-lasses-debut-album

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Cillian Doheny

 “Music is food for the soul!“…..Cillian Doheny

Cillian Doheny is answering my interview questions in between touring with Moxie.  I treat this as a pre feature write-up about his music. He does play the banjo way beyond his years. This man is hard-working being with so many projects in such a short period. So this is an introduction to his music and many more to come.

More here: http://www.myspace.com/cilliandoheny

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Pics of the day…

Patrick D’Arcy the inspiring uilleann piper sent me these wonderful gifts. Something to be cherished for all time.

 

One on One with Luke Fraser of The Bombadils.

I  like both The Bombadils and Raftmen. The former is a Celtic fusion band and the latter a classically influenced folk/rock band. What do they have in common? Both are from Canada and they are bands where my featured artist Luke Fraser plays for. He is a native of Nova Scotia . Now he is basking under the musical diversity of Montreal, Quebec where the rest of the band members are located. We both like  The Punch Brothers and I remember how he was excited about going to their concert when they toured Canada. These days, he is busy with music. The Bombadils has just released an album called “Fill Your Boots”. Music can be sampled via streaming through their website http://www.thebombadils.com/ 

By the way I just heard the first track from “Fill your Boots!” while writing this introduction and I love it! So let’s get to know more about Luke:

Favorite color: Blue

Guitar man.

Zodiac sign. Cancer
Pet peeve: Apathy

Tell us what Raftmen is all about?
* The Raftmen started as the brainchild of the lead singer and bassist Ben Duinker. He is a great musician all around and thought that it would be fun to bring together all of us Nova Scotian friends to start a rock project. This is the second time we have all played together – the first time was in a cover band, put together to play the Dalhousie University music faculty ball. The first album is based on selections from an old popular TV commercial series entitled “Canadian Heritage Moments”. Some of them were used in the lyrical content of a few of the songs.

What are the challenges playing an electric guitar for the Raftmen, as opposed to the usual mandolin/acoustic guitar type of music you do for The Bombadils.
* I began playing electric guitar before acoustic guitar, so it is easy for me to switch back to electric for this project. Since I have been focusing on acoustic guitar and mandolin these days, I forgot how different it really is between acoustic and electric. For one thing it is so much easier to play and you don’t have to really have great technique to play it well, although it helps. You don’t have to really worry about tone production in the picking hand because most of the tone comes from the guitar and amp you use. I enjoy electric for different reasons, but nothing will ever replace my passion for making a hollow sound chamber resonate. It just feels more personal to me.

You list Chris Thile as one of your heroes. How was the Punch brothers concert?

Session.Picture by Aaron Hull

* The Punch Brothers show in Montreal was amazing. Chris Thile and the band are a huge influence on me and they are such solid musicians on their recordings and especially live. They are returning the September, 2012 to Montreal and I will be in the front row again!

Fans are waiting for the Bombadils album. How’s it going in terms of recording and production?
* The Bombadils album has arrived! We are very proud of our first full length album and we will be officially releasing it this Friday at Burritoville in Montreal.

How’s your own solo project?
* At the moment I don’t really have a solo project, but I am thinking about new future side projects, which may take the form of a duo project with Sarah Frank, and/or a full-on bluegrass band with some of Montreal’s finest players.

What are the funniest moments you experienced being on the road/tour?
* We are a crazy bunch of bandmates, so there were a lot of funny moments. We had a lot of fun carrying on during the drives and especially making the Vlog videos that can be found on Youtube.

Sad experiences while on tour.
*Overall, it was a great tour. We were all sad to see it end!

With Raftmen

Is it true that you are originally came from Cape Breton? I have friends from that region and all of them are very musical. Can you give us a little picture of the Fraser household when you were a kid?
*Actually, I am not from Cape Breton specifically, but I am from outside Halifax which is in the same province where Cape Breton is located. That being said I have been influenced by the music of CB. We sometimes perform a song by one of CB’s hometown heros, J.P. Cormier.
In the Fraser houshold when I was a kid, you would find me alone in my room listening to cassette tapes of the Beatles, The Rankins, Alvin and the Chipmonks, The Eagles, Lovin’ Spoonfull, and lots more. Also, CBC radio was constantly on in my house.

With The Bombadils

What are the albums that you listen to right now.
* I am currently listening to my new vinyl collection, inherited from my lovely aunt. Aka-everything bluegrass, newgrass, classic rock and blues. Also on constant spin – Punch Brothers. (go figure).

Complete the sentence: ” I dreamed of________________ last night and I____________ when I woke up this morning.

” I dreamed of the ocean last night and I did songwriting exercises when I woke up this morning.

You can get your copy of Fill your Boots by The Bombadils through:

CD Baby

Band: https://www.facebook.com/thebombadils

Wow! The vocal capabilities of Sarah Frank even without the mic shocked me. This is outdoors. She is one of a kind singer/fiddler.

In Selling Your Style

I learned that in order to sell your stuff, you need to build an image. Image  is important in marketing.The same reason why I devote this blog to a particular genre and not just put anything  and later on alienate my readers. It’s the same thing with playing music . You can only experiment up to a certain point before loosing your listeners.

We all want be everything for everyone. We all want to be multifaceted-and I think we have that talent. But it does not really help. Why? Because artists who do this-those that are too eclectic lose their fanbase. Even their labels don’t know how to market them anymore. No matter how wide we roam, we should always have an anchor. A base where we can go back when things start to get complicated.

The Chieftains had set this example.They tried to build their signature sound for years before experimenting -and even with that  you can still tell that it’s from them. It’s the same with other artists-Celtic or not. Take for instance Enya. Critics say that she always does the same thing or that ‘you can buy any album and you actually buy everything’. This is not true. Artists have potential for variation. But  with talent comes responsibility. Your fans listen  to your music because they always know what to expect. And it makes them feel good. Feeling good is what we all want after a hard day’s work. If I have to listen to something else then I will pick up a different artist. After all, I know what I will be getting. But NOT up to the point that I will ask my artist to create a different type of music for the sake of shocking or experimenting.

Art is not about just about attitude and facade. It’s about feeling. You do something out of sincerity regardless of whither it will sell, 80,000,000 copies or not. But of course selling that figure is always something everyone wants right?

With traditional music you always know what you’ll get. And that’s what makes it impressive. It is not created to impress but rather to communicate sentiments that transcend time. These are feelings that are not bounded by what’s current. I think at the end of the day one wants to be in the company of people he or she trusts…like family members. And this is what Celtic music is about. A style that never goes out of date, sentiments that always speak the truth.

For the news….

 

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The Chieftains will kick start their US tours this year.  This is an update I got from their website:

Six-time Grammy winners and the world’s most popular Irish traditional music group, The Chieftains, have confirmed an extensive U.S. tour for 2011. The tour will feature an array of surprise guests and local musicians and marks the band’s first return to the U.S. following the 2010 release of their critically acclaimed album ‘San Patricio.’ They’ll kick off a month of shows on Feb 17 in Troy, NY. See below for complete dates.

“In 2011, The Chieftains’ performances could be better described as a Big Show or a Spectacular rather than a concert,” says frontman Paddy Moloney. “There will be upwards of 12 people on stage at all times, with additions of local musicians, special guests I’m not allowed to divulge, anywhere from 6 to 20 local dancers on a couple of pieces, and the Scottish pipe bands performing the ‘March to Battle,’ which was narrated by Liam Neeson for ‘San Patricio.'”

Billboard called ‘San Patricio’ “as thrilling as it is enlightening,” and the New York Times described it as “joy, thoroughly Mexican yet utterly Irish, carried aloft by tin whistles, skin drums, pipes, harps, guitars and stomping feet.”

Since releasing ‘San Patricio,’ the band has collaborated with Herbie Hancock on ‘The Imagine Project,’ and Moloney has been selected as a Medal of Honour recipient by the National Arts Club.

THE CHEIFTAINS 2011 TOUR DATES:

2/17 Troy, NY @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
2/18 New Brunswick, NJ @ State Theatre
2/20 York, PA @ Strand – Capitol Performing Arts Center
2/22 Seattle, WA @ Seattle Symphony Orchestra
2/23 Olympia, WA @ Washington Center for Performing Arts
2/25 Austin, TX @ Riverbend Centre
2/26 Dallas, TX @ Winspear Opera House
2/27 Fayetteville, AR @ Walton Arts Center
3/1 Bloomington, IN @ IU Auditorium
3/3 Madison, WI @ Oversture Center
3/4 Chicago, IL @ Orchestra Hall
3/5 Rockford, IL @ Coronado Performing Arts Center
3/6 Dayton, OH @ Cityfolk
3/8 Morgantown, WV @ West Virginia University
3/10 Greenville, SC @ Peace Center for Performing Arts
3/11 Atlanta, GA @ Woodruff Arts Center w/symphony
3/12 Atlanta, GA @ Woodruff Arts Center w/symphony
3/13 Raleigh, NC @ Pinecone Memorial Auditorium
3/15 Princeton, NJ @ McCarter Theater
3/16 Newark, NJ @ NJPAC Prudential Hall
3/17 Toronto, ON @ Roy Thomson Hall

 

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If you are a busy Clannad fan then you should have seen all the new performances posted in YouTube. They are BACK!

Please consult http://www.clannad.nl/ for updates.

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Thank you Christi for sending this link from Welsh band Mabon. I really appreciate it. Mabon has been making wonderful music and their live performances are really something that keep fans going back for more.