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

 

 

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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Shotgun Down The Avalanche by Cara Dillon from the New Album “A Thousand Hearts”

Shotgun Down The Avalanche by Cara Dillon from the New Album “A Thousand Hearts”

This was posted last April 30. This was supposed to be a blog but I noticed it was part of the ‘menu’ section above. I took it down and placed it here for everyone to see:

Folk diva Cara Dillon is making rounds all over the UK to promote her new album A Thousand Hearts. I already sent the interview questions to her publicist Ali and I am just waiting for the results. It is amazing to finally be able to ask her directly everything related to her musical career. Big thanks to my friend Paula for watching her concert and getting me the spot to do an interview. Here is one of the songs from that album and it’s called Shotgun Down the Avalanche.

It is a fantastic folk ballad featuring Sam Lakeman’s acoustic guitar (joined by equally amazing musicians). Her voice always awakens something in me. It is a beautiful voice that sounds like it’s coming from the pipes of a sad angel.

Buy the new album here: http://www.caradillon.co.uk/albums/thousand-hearts-1

Remembering The Late Dave Hum

Remembering The Late Dave Hum

 

Dave Hum was a great banjo player. He added a twist to this traditional instrument by going beyond the styles intended for the banjo. In his last project, he fused electronic sounds with ambient styles to create a marriage between the old a the new, the rural and the urban. It’s sad to announce that he passed away last year as he succumbed to a physical illness. It made me wonder for a while what happened to him. He disappeared from posting on facebook. Then one of his children made the announcement. It was heartbreaking because I used to chat with him. He was so happy with his recordings. He sent me two albums of his Traditional Irish and Scottish banjo music. He had so many things in mind. Then just like that…he disappeared.

I think I know what his family members went through and are and still going through. I lost my mom in the middle of last year. It doesn’t end. The hole of loss is still there. But I know that his music will be like sunshine in the midst of rain. He was an inspiring and beautiful soul. He will be missed. I know I will because I remember him today and I dedicate this post to him.

More from his official website: http://www.davehum.com/

Interview with Luke Fraser of The Bombadils

Interview with Luke Fraser of The Bombadils

I wrote a post about The Bombadils working on a new album. What I haven’t told you os that I made an audio interview with Luke Fraser and it is finally here. This is the first audio interview with him and you can tell that we made a good team.

Luke is one of the four members that comprise The Bombadils. He plays the guitar, mandolin and other stringed instruments. He also played for Raftmen.

Original song written by the Bombadils. Copyright 2012. Filmed and recorded by Denis Martin at Stewart Hall – Point Claire, Montreal, Canada.

Order their CD online:
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thebombadils

The Bombadils are:
Sarah Frank – fiddle, vocals
Luke Fraser – guitar, mandolin, vocals
Anh Phung – flute, Irish whistles, vocals
Evan Stewart – bass

Visit their website:
http://www.thebombadils.com/

Become a fan on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/thebombadils

Book them at:
thebombadils@gmail.com

 

Here’s an old video of Luke Fraser and Kit Soden made four years ago, shot in Sutton farm in rural Quebec…

 

 

Recording Updates from Moxie and Robert Doyle

Recording Updates from Moxie and Robert Doyle

Wow it’s just the middle of the week and more phantasmagorically smashing updates are coming up from the world of music. OUR world of music 😉

Moxie announced their plans of recording a new album late last year. Now, they are in the middle of it and the effort looks and sounds really promising. Check this amazing link. It gives the new meaning to the word busy :

MOXIE http://www.moxiemuso.com https://www.facebook.com/Moxiemuso
https://www.framelight.ie
http://beechpark.com (Studio)

Robert Doyle is releasing his new album next year. Here’s a sneak peak at the tunes he’s making. Arrangement by  Mark Thomson and video by  Alan Lambert .

Sliabh Russell/Out on the Ocean

http://www.robertdoyle.net

 

 

Two Available tracks from Wish by Poitin, via Soundcloud.

Two Available tracks from Wish by Poitin, via Soundcloud.

 

Yes you heard it right. The new album Wish by Poitin is finished. The main reason to rejoice.

Just when the thought the seas have calmed, Poitin brings out a new album called Wish. I am not sure about the details of the album yet, but I know the band have worked in recording tracks around Autumn last year. They uploaded two track via soundcloud: The Broomfield Wager and Toffee Jigs. The former is a vocal track showcasing the versatility of Jeremy King’s voice. It is also an acoustic and bodhran driven song. The latter is an instrumental collection of traditional tunes.

Like I said, I have not listened to the whole album yet, but I can tell this is something new. The poitin flavor is still there. But there is that slick and superb texture that I noticed in these two tracks. It is easy to judge that the album will sound this way. And this is an exciting release!

The album will be available everywhere and I will tell you more about it in my future post about the guys of Poitin.

” Esyllt ” by Children in Paradise

” Esyllt ” by Children in Paradise

Band members:

" Esyllt " CD Record 10 songs

” Esyllt ” CD Record 10 songs

Gwalchmei, Guitare

Dam kat, Vocals

Patrick Boileau, Drums

Stéphane Rama, Bass

Loic Blejean, Uilleann Pipes & Low Whistles

Jean Marc Illien, Piano & Keyboards

Now for something so totally different is an atmospheric band from Brittany called Children in Paradise. Singer Dam Kat already drew me into their musical style after hearing the first track Little Butterfly. The new album is called “Esyllt.” How do I describe their sound? I will quote their bio which, I think, really sums up what the band is all about and the influences behind the music:

Children in Paradise invites you to travel to the Sidh, the other celtic world, somewhere beyond the horizon of the sea, in these beautiful islands, deep of peace, harmony and purity. The music of Children in Paradise is a mix of many influences, sounds inspirated by Pink Floyd or Anathema, a research of ” atmospheric environments ” and ” power ” of the sacred music, like Dead Can Dance… sometimes between darkness and melancholy … the band’s musical originality is also the inspiration : the Celtic Legends (Irish and Welsh Legends). With a rare finesse in the arrangements, the voice of Dam Kat, so fresh and full of emotions occasionally remind Kate Bush or Tori Amos …

Birds, waterfall and other natural sounds are seamlessly woven into this beautiful album. Hearing all the tracks  is a transporting experience. I noticed the diverse artistic influences. I love the album cover which features a Celtic warrior looking at a ship. A Viking ship perhaps? Or maybe loved ones sent away to escape the ravages of the Viking invasion.

I’d suggest you listen to this when you are taking a break from work. The album relaxes the mind.It also posses a distinct musical energy that gives you vitality. Gwalchme keeps the tracks interesting with his own style of guitar playing.

My Son turns my attention to the instruments that embellish this track. Low whistle and uilleann pipes take the stage along with the lush vocals. Everything works together, from the drums, bass and keyboards.

I think the apt comparison to Kate Bush is derived from the eclectic arrangements, the use of World influences and also the vocal style. But I have to note that Children of Paradise has an original sound. It is a confident Breton sound. I also think that this  album’s efforts are close those  made by Nolwenn Leroy, in a sense that in the midst of its eclecticism, the musical vision is there. Ysyllt is not really an album made for dancing. It is more of a chill out experience. Except for The Battle where the song builds into a heavy metal frenzy . Its use of heavy atmosphere makes it accessible even to fans of Gothic rock.

In Silent Agony, Dam Kat explores the vocal style which is close to Tori Amos. Plus, the harp is amazing to hear in this track. So far, everything in Ysyllt sounds good. And the pure bonus is that they are streaming the album via soundcloud for free! However, if you believe in the mission and vision of Children in Paradise then you better visit their shop and buy merchandise there : http://www.childreninparadise.com/#/shop-of-children-in-paradise/4418856

Help independent artists and help maintain our musical culture.

Naoned Whisky by The Maggie Whackers  plus Podcast #25

Naoned Whisky by The Maggie Whackers plus Podcast #25

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After almost two years, French band The Maggie Whackers are back with a new EP called Naoned Whisky. And yes they are from Nantes France. A great place of music! Drunken Sailor is timely because it’s a decade of the mainstream’s fascination with Pirate movies and tunes. There are strong Breton elements in their songs especially in Sans Regrets Sans Remords which is my favorite track due to its beautiful use of the bombarde. Fucking Goblins show their punk side. I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Everyday is shocking with its tenderness and melancholic melody. Burn in Hell showcases the joint forces of traditional Breton instrument and Clash-inspired guitar playing.

Naoned Whisky is the testament to the band’s continuing energy. Their songwriting has evolved since the release of their self-titled EP. They have  great sense of musical and visual style. I am sure their live shows are really entertaining. Listen below and go to http://themaggiewhackers.bandcamp.com/album/naoned-whisky to buy the album.

For bookings and any question:

The Maggie Whackers
06 33 72 49 44
themaggiewhackers@gmail.com

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The Baxteria Podcast #25 is Up!

The Baxteria Podcast #25(Celtic and Indie variety) by Baxter Labatos on Mixcloud

Feauturing:

Sharon Corr-We Could Be Lovers
Brishen-Live at the Victoria International JazzFest 2013_ “Coquette”
Bachue-Rumble Thy Bellyful
Jacob McCauley-December 2010 Concert Part 6_ Bodhrán Solo
Moya Brennan-Sailing (radio edit)
Jack Raven’s whores-Bad Trip
The High Kings-Gucci
Arctic Monkeys-Arabella
Beth Orton-Something More Beautiful
J.P. Kallio-Too Late to Say
Fiona Joy Hawkins-The Journey (600 Years in a Moment)
Rebecca Brandt-The Moment
Fleet Foxes-English House

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Sharon Corr Sings:We Could Be Lovers from “The Same Sun.”

Sharon Corr Sings:We Could Be Lovers from “The Same Sun.”

I’ve just finished watching the new music video by the ‘other sister’ of The Corrs, Sharon Corr. It’s called We Could Be Lovers. I got insomnia and instead of being useless, I decided to open my laptop and see what the rave is all about. I admit I was thinking this post should go to my other blog because the song is more pop than Celtic. But The Corrs have always been pop even though they introduced Traditional Irish music in their subsequent albums. I was expecting to see her playing the fiddle in this video but I know that she doesn’t need to prove that. What she is trying to prove is that she can actually sing. And she has a beautiful voice!

The video features Corr in a sultry image trying to seduce a ‘tamed’ Irish guy. The lyrics show that longing for the possibility to be in a relationship with someone who seems to be preoccupied with his goals in life and has little time for intimacy. But in the end of the video, our beautiful Irish chanteuse proves that she wins. The track has that bouncy folk style that is acoustic guitar driven.

Of all the sisters, I find Sharon Corr to be the most attractive and sweet. It is great to see her touring and promoting the new album “The Same Sun.” American fans will get to see her perform at the Aladdin theater on February 23, courtesy of 67 Music.

Brishen and Podcast #24

Brishen and Podcast #24

Photo by Ryan MacDonald

Members:
Quinn Bachand, lead guitar

Richard Moody, violin

Reuben Wier, rythm guitar & vocal

Joey Smith, upright bass.

It has long been regarded that Canada is a melting pot of the best traditional music in Europe. What I admire about the Victoria, BC quartet Brishen is how they combine Jazz with world and folk elements. When you are looking for a fusion between sumptuous Acadian folk, jazz and Celtic then you have to listen to them. I think of dancing Gypsies when I listen to any of their tracks. I am sure that to watch them live would be quite an experience. Take for instance the seventeen-year-old Quinn Bachand bringing his own fresh influences with the stalwarts of music like Richard Moody (violin)  Reuben Wier( rythm guitar & vocal)  and Joey Smith( upright bass). That’s really got to be something. I love the vocals of Ruben Weir. I think he will give Michael Buble a run for his money.

They identify with their influences Django Reindhard and Stephane Grappelli which I am yet to hear but I am sure some of you out there already know their music. I don’t know if it’s the hot chocolate in my system or something else but Coquette left me feeling high and jolly. There is something about early jazz music that touches the heart. To combine that with other musical styles prove to be a powerful mix. Quite addicting. Brishen is indeed the storm bringer of fantastic music.

Photo by Ryan MacDonald

Photo by Ryan MacDonald

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The Baxteria Podcast #24

http://old.mixcloud.com/thecelticmusicfan/the-baxteria-podcast-24-celtic-and-indie-variety/

If you missed the tunes I played this Saturday, the tunes are up that link! Enjoy!

CLEGHORN-9 Minutes of Woo – House of Blues
Riverdance-Opening Scene
Dave Sheridan, Michael McCague & Donal McCague-The Independence Hornpipe
Enda Seery-Tatter Jack Walsh
Loreena MCKennitt-Ancient pines
Brian Kennedy-Carrickfergus
Capercaillie-The Tree
J.P. Kallio-River Takes You Over
The Alex MacNeil Quartet-Lullaby for Alice
Don BeeKeeper-Saviour
Alex Pardini-Sad Little King
Love Spirals Downwards-City Moon

Martin Furey about The High Kings: Singing in Different Places including The White House

Martin Furey about The High Kings: Singing in Different Places including The White House

 Album Artwork

I am glad to get one of The High Kings do an interview. We have no other than Martin Furey who is the eldest son of Ireland’s ‘Prince of Pipers’ Finbar Furey. He also does  vocals, guitar and low whistle for The High Kings.  With Darren Holden, Finbarr Clancy and Brian Dunphy, the four form an indomitable power group.  So, like any listener, I am curious what it’s like being them.

Their new album Friends for Life is now out.

 

1. Memory Lane is a fantastic album! You must have been excited when the opportunity came up with Friends for Life? 

 

Oh yes it affirmed my belief in the Love of God to know that dreams really can come true and to be careful what we wish for, both since with great fame comes great responsibility 🙂

 

2. Gucci is my favorite song. It has something I have never heard in any song before. How did you come up with that kind of vocal style?  

 

I listened to the best musician God ever put on the earth,Finbar Furey ,my father and tried to get as close to his style as possible as myself.Its a style of playing handed down in my family from generation to generation which is also popular in American music though I am not saying I know how that happened…;)

 

3. Johnny Leave Her is the only a capella song yet it stands out as something easy to sing along. What’s the story behind this?  

 

There were four fellas at sea, the shortest one was trouble the largest one was easily lead and the middle two loved cards but got into an argument about a hand and so came the phrase ‘”leave her'”…Johnny I don’t know what a Johnny is doing in the song but there it is all the same,maybe he was a stowaway???

 

4. You already release live recordings and also toured many times. How do you keep it fresh and continue to be inspired to record songs. 

 

The audience keeps it fresh it’s lovely to see a sea of faces who are enjoying their night..how could you not give your very heart in return for such heart in support.  

 

5. What should every artist know when one is being catapulted into international success and meeting all kinds of people. What’s the big yes and no?  

 

Have noticed one of either, just do what you want at all times, we are all born free and it is worth any conflict to maintain. Don’t be guilted into bullshit scenarios and do call a cheap shot a cheap shot and do be yourself no matter what they say like Sting said.

 

6. The four of you were invited to perform at the Official St Patrick’s Day Celebrations at The White House. How was the feeling rubbing shoulders with US President Barack Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny?  

 

Another day at the office for all concerned. Good to meet him, I reiki’d him for a minute that was the best I could do for the man. Cool guy considering his obligations but I won’t support him fully til he lets snoop lion perform his new songs at the White House nor will I forgive him if I don’t get an invite 😉 Lovely atmosphere in the home which I have to hand to Michelle obviously, she really knows how to put people at their ease

 

7. Being in The High Kings, do you still get royal treatments when you go home to Ireland? 

 

I am not the type of person that requires the trappings on any continent. Where do the folks hang out?

Big thanks to Anita Daly for making this possible.

The High Kings: Friends for Life

The High Kings: Friends for Life

Album Artwork

1. Oh Maggie
2. Gucci
3. All Around the World
4. Johnny Leave Her
5. Health to the Company
6. Galway Girl
7. Peggy Gordon
8. High
9. Ireland’s Shore
10. Come with Me Now
11. McAlpines Fusiliers
12. Friends for Life

Too precious to be pop yet  modern to be inaccessible -those are the things I found when I listen to the new album of the High Kings called Friends for Life. I think that after years of being on the road and filling arenas, the quartet of Darren Holden, Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy and Martin Furey can confess that they are going to be in music for life. They are friends and fantastic artists as they weave their talents for listeners to enjoy. Released by Sony Classical, I expect nothing less from this album in terms of production. And yes I am completely satisfied and proud to recommend it to everyone.

Oh Maggie is the first track and it introduces what the whole atmosphere of the album sounds like. Jacketed by a nice banjo sound, it proves that Ireland’s pub culture can sound so good in the cities of the world. After all, it was music that saved civilization and thus the spirit will continue to flourish through time. It shall be savored by generations to come. Gucci is a potential single with its emphasis on power chords and aggressive rhythm on top of the fantastic vocal abilities. We hear guitars, fiddles, accordions and other traditional instruments along with moderns ones in Friends for Life. Jonny Leave Her so irresistible it will make you sing along.

I think this is recorded with live performance in mind as everything here sounds upfront and lively. Darren Holden, Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy and Martin Furey have outdone themselves with this wonderful recording. I love the remake of Galway Girl and  Peggy Gordon. Friends for Life continues the magic of Memory Lane but it has a more modern appeal. I think there are tracks that can sound fitting in alternative rock radio stations. The folk roots are still there but I think they are moving forward with this album. They get better and better with every studio session.

As always my big thanks to Anita Daly for pointing me to this new release!

Reflections in Fingerstyle: The Robert Doyle Interview

Reflections in Fingerstyle: The Robert Doyle Interview

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The thing I like about Robert Doyle is that he has a lot to say about creativity. It is always exciting to eavesdrop inside a creative mind and discover what he does in a day-to-day basis when not working on music. This interview sent me looking for his last CD Life in Shadows and played the album once again. I remember the day it got to me. Like music, the artist has many layers. You can read between the lines or you can listen to the songs: They are all a part of him.

You have just released a new single Flags of Belfast with other musicians playing on this track. Are you taking a new direction for the new album?

‘Flags of Belfast’ is a reworking of the melody to ‘Star of the County Down’ with new lyrics. When I began working on it I knew I wanted to add other instrumentation when recording the song. I recorded a lot of demos of the track and some of these were done in Flood Plain Studios here in Dublin which is run by Graham Watson. He suggested trying a second vocal along with uilleann pipes and Aoife Dermody and Eoin Dillon were the perfect choice for this. So yeah there’s going to be some other musicians involved on parts of the album but it will still mostly be a solo record. Sometimes it feels right to have different instruments and then sometimes the music feels better played solo.

You mentioned the new album will be released in 2015. How’s the recording going?

I had hoped to have the album ready by the end of this year but that probably won’t happen now so 2015 is more realistic. From a recording perspective the last single was interesting for me because I got a new preamp for the home studio which now lets me record a guitar sound I’m happy with. This was always a problem in the past. So for the single I recorded the guitar and vocal myself and then we put the other parts down in Flood Plain. This gives me some flexibility for the next record that I didn’t have before. So for now I plan to record most of the album myself and for any extra instrumentation I’d like to work with Graham again. This will be a totally different recording process to last time when I only recorded two of the tracks myself and the rest with an engineer. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to recording yourself and I’ve been debating these with myself over the years. We’ll soon see if I’ve made the right choice this time round!553461_376232242408880_1434945284_n

How will the tracks differ from your last album Life in Shadows in terms of arrangements and lyrics?

At this stage I still have a lot of work to do on writing and arranging. Like the last album it’ll be a mix of original and traditional music but there’ll be a different feel because hopefully I’m a better musician now and this should show in the music. I have about 15 or 16 separate ideas that I’m working on. Some of that material will get cut and hopefully there’ll be a good album in what’s left. Also there’ll be more songs in English this time. In the past I was mostly interested in singing in Irish but there’ll definitely be more English on this record. There’ll be some new instrumental pieces and I want to push those arrangements further on this record. I love to improvise when playing fingerstyle because you have the chance to play basslines, harmony and melody altogether so I’ll improvise around the themes and try to work out the arrangements that way.

Aside from music, what are the other projects you are working on? Can you tell us a bit about your day job?

Work and music takes up a lot of time so aside from that I don’t have any other projects. There are other important things in life though so I hope I make time for them too. The day job is in IT and this comes in useful when invariably you have technical problems in the studio. Obviously not being a full time musician means you can’t spend as much time as you’d like on the music but you try to use the time you have and always stay with it. It would be great to have time to play more gigs and record more often but the important thing is to keep playing music.

After the last album what has changed so far?

Well I think I’ve learnt a lot since then. Each project is a great learning experience and it’s worth all the work for that alone. There was a big jump from the EP I released in 2008 to the album in 2011 and I think it’ll be a similar step this time. Overall I was very happy with the last record. It was great to get a positive reception and some good coverage and radio play. Of course listening back there’s some things that I’d have done differently both in the recording and post-production but that’s all part of it.

What do you plan to accomplish musically this year?

Work on the album is the priority now and if I can get a good piece of it recorded by the end of the year I’ll be happy with that. I’m also working on a collaboration with a bouzouki player based around some traditional songs which hopefully will get to involve other musicians too.

Where can listeners buy your last album Life in Shadows?

The CD is available from Claddagh Records and will soon be for sale again directly from www.robertdoyle.net. A digital download is available from iTunes, Amazon and eMusic.

What other instruments do you play?

I’m learning to play some piano at the moment. It’s not serious piano study but I’m enjoying playing some chords and seeing how they’re built on a different instrument. It would have been great to learn piano when I was starting out all those years ago because as a guitar player you’re often trying to play like a piano player if that makes any sense! I think it’s important to not get too obsessed with the instrument you’re playing so spending some time on another instrument is something I’d recommend.

https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/flags-of-belfast-single/id775461242

Robert Doyle – guitar and vocal
Aoife Dermody – vocal
Eoin Dillon – uilleann pipes

http://www.robertdoyle.net

Flags of Belfast

Boundaries are drawn
On council walls
Divisions are made easily
When a vote was called
The decision did say
The flag won’t fly daily

The Union remains
But the North had changed
Some divisions are the same
Next time you hear the Lagan sound
See the flags of Belfast town

When the protests began
Where are the leaders now
Heard with nothing to say
If there was a chance or a call for calm
It was soon swept away

Living on the sides
Of religious divides
Faith not faded with time
Next time round can you ask the crown
Has she seen the flags of Belfast town

At the start of the night
Through empty streets with dark light
Marches begin to pass
Along an enclave
Calls of an old age
Armed guards to defend both sides

Segregation in schools
Teaches old rules
Lessons begin early
As the children plan
To not let tradition down
And wear the flags in Belfast town

With the city closed
Blockades along the roads
Wasn’t this all a thing of the past
A sectarian divide
A part of city lives
No need to portray any side

Masks leave faces with no names
One after another taking aim
As broken bottles fall all around
The flags of Belfast town

Lyrics printed with permission.  

The Passing of Pete Seeger and Podcast #22

The Passing of Pete Seeger and Podcast #22

My late mom used to sing me a song called Where Have All the Flowers Gone. It’s such a sweet poignant song that reminds me of dusk and summer, of petals getting blown to nowhere. It was not decades later when I learned it’s written by the late Pete Seeger who passed away today. I heard a lot of his songs (without knowing him) because I was raised by people who grew up after the Second World War. So my upbringing was a combination of the old ways and the love for exploring new things. Judy Collins was also a popular artist in my childhood. So I get to hear Turn Turn Turn a many times in the house. My cousins were huge fans of folk music.

I started venturing into Celtic music in my late teens. He was associated with banjo and 12-string guitar. He has a continuing powerful influence   to other singer/songwriters with  names like Billy Bragg, Jackson Browne, Donovan, , Nanci Griffith, Indigo Girls, Tom Paxton, Bonnie Raitt, Martin Simpson, and Bruce Springsteen are associated with him.

I think his impact to me is more as a songwriter than a performer. His songs get better with time. The distinctive folk elements in his songs tell you: this is how to write a song. Pete Seeger will be sorely missed. It’s characteristic of people who carve their names in everyone’s heart. Life is a collage of all things that you’ve heard, seen and felt. His songs were the songs of the best years of my life. How could I let those go?

When I feel this heaviness in my heart I go into this little corner and listen to the songs of my childhood. And like magic the pain disappears. Where Have All the Flowers Gone indeed? Life is a mystery that is temporary. But memories are forever.

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The Baxteria Podcast #22

Podcast 22 comes with a live concert featuring The Gloaming.
Track listing:
The Gloaming-Set at the National Concert Hall of Ireland(Live concert)
Robbie MacInnis-Massacre of Glencoe (ft. Robbie MacInnis)
Eivør-Hounds Of Love
BrowneProject-Silver Sun
J.P. Kallio-Time
Once A Tree-Light Me Up
Paula-I Could Be
Dadawa-Sister Drum

A Tune for Burns Supper

A Tune for Burns Supper

Robert Burns was a charmer with sad eyes. Anyone can draw their own conclusions but that’s what I see in him ( the portrait by Alexander Nasmyth) and in his poems. There’s that heart breaking beauty in all his works. It is interesting how history can transcend his growing up in up poverty and hardship . Now his legacy resides in the hearts of many men and women.  Scottish folk tunes introduced me to the works of Burns. The

The best-known portrait of Burns,  by Alexander Nasmyth, 1787

The best-known portrait of Burns,
by Alexander Nasmyth, 1787

First Time I Heard Ae Fond Kiss, I was struck at the themes of sadness and longing in the song. Perhaps it’s because I find sadness in my life and I connect to that. Or perhaps Burns is really a poet who can speak to every soul of all races and classes.

Indie folk artist Layne Greene covered a  Scots tune called The Massacre of Glencoe for this occasion. Many have covered this tune including The Corries in 1976. Robbie MacInnis provided the bagpipes. This is an interesting arrangement because Greene layered the bagpipes in the mix and the result is really fascinating. I’d say this is a perfect tune for Burns supper!

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Celtic Connections!!!

I will be posting more Celtic Connections related blogs but I am leaving you with this one. Don’t forget to tune in 4:00 pm German time for “The Baxteria” on http://www.radiohappy.eu

Matthew Bell and Celtic Percussion Plus Podcast #21

Matthew Bell and Celtic Percussion Plus Podcast #21

There is a thread running through this post that started when I wrote about the bodhran. To be honest, the instrument has taken a huge degree of interest on my part because I am trying to be good at it. Everyday is great when I get to practice. It also opened a big world of percussion to me and various rhythms that dominate all types of music all over the world.

This thread also pointed me to a remarkable artist and teacher in the world of percussion. I am talking about Matthew Bell who runs a successful project called Celtic Percussion.  He merges Irish and Scottish drumming styles with the infusion of other world influences. He is very zen in his vlogs as he tries to calmly explain the basics of drumming. He combines the Kerry and top end of bodhran playing.

The youtube videos are just samples of the potential that he can offer. His recent book is The Contemporary Bodhrán:
A Modern Percussionist’s Perspective on an Ancient Instrument

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Here’s the general info about Celtic Percussion found in his official youtube site:

The Celtic Percussion Collective is comprised of several of the Washington, D.C. area’s biggest names in the Pipe Band and Celtic Music Communities. Matthew Bell formed the CPC in December of 2012 to expose audiences to the truly unique percussion concepts inherent in Celtic Percussion. The CPC is available for a variety of educational and performance-based functions. Please have a look around our website. We look forward to working with you.

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The Baxteria Podcast #21

http://old.mixcloud.com/thecelticmusicfan/the-baxteria-podcast-21/

With:

Alan Stivell-Eliz Iza
Sinéad O’Connor-Oró, sé do bheatha ‘bhaile
Baal Tinne-Toss The Feathers
Brendan Mulholland-The King of The Pipers
Clannad-In a Lifetime
Luka Bloom-How Am I To Be
Ashley MacIsaac-To America We Go
Sleepthief-Reason Why
J.P. Kallio-Greener Grass
Teenage Fanclub-Take The Long Way Around
Von Shakes-Last Day on Earth
Jazzotron Vs Jamie Berry-Kiss Me
Róisín O-Here We Go
Who Does Music-Looking Around
Samuel Smith-The Agony

Traditional Music: The Music of the People

Traditional Music: The Music of the People

A set of reels recorded for the fleadh program in Cavan 2012. Thanks to Brian Cunningham for sharing this video.

We can’t deny that traditional music is the music of communion. Be it Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton or any music of the seven Celtic nations, there is always that sense of community whenever one goes to these sessions. Unlike the ‘star versus the spectator’ culture of pop music, Celtic music encourages the audience to participate-be it dancing or playing. It is after all the music of the people.

As someone who is trying to learn how to play traditional Irish music instruments, I feel that sense of connection to the culture through these instruments. As if the music is telling me that it doesn’t matter if I am no expert but to play is to be part of something timeless.

My bodhran and tin whistle.

My bodhran and tin whistle.

I think there are more and more music schools being built and organized because the demand to learn traditional music is increasing. People can just buy a bodhran, Celtic harp, tin whistle or fiddle from ebay.  Everything you need is there. You just have to know where to look. Even youtube offers free lessons. You just have to be enthusiastic enough to learn how to play.

Jeremy King of Poitin mentioned that his son is learning the accordion at such an early age. I mentioned in my previous post that there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the accordion. Scottish singer/harpist Anna McLuckie has wowed the mainstream audience with her unique performance of a mainstream tune. People now know that her musical upbringing is rooted in traditional music.

As I have mentioned above, traditional music is the music of the people. Wherever you are in the world, when it touches you, then you belong.

Is it True?Accordions Are Making A Comeback in the Mainstream?

Is it True?Accordions Are Making A Comeback in the Mainstream?

I woke up experiencing the coldest morning in a tropical country ever. Philippines might not be experiencing polar vortex like the other countries but this is the coldest brrrr! An interesting headline in the Atlantic caught my attention. I still care about mainstream music. And when an instrument that isn’t really mainstream gains popularity among those who don’t normally listen to true/beautiful/complex/traditional music then it’s exciting.

Waste Ventura of Will Tun and The Wasters photo by Pietro Di Nardo

Waste Ventura of Will Tun and The Wasters photo by Pietro Di Nardo

Have you seen the video of Full Set? How about Jamie Smith, Martin Tourish and Micheal Curran?Traditional bands are really great in representing themselves to the world. I would not be surprise if a couple of years from now, being in a traditional Irish/Scottish/Welsh/Cornish/Breton etc band would be considered fashionable. But I think that’s how it is in the music world. When there is an overload of the same style, people will always want something different. Kids grow up and they discover new music. I have observed this through the years. Artists who maintain longevity aren’t those who started their careers as teeny boppers.

I guess the popularity of traditional instruments are partly due to online music courses. For example you can learn any instrument when you go to  http://www.oaim.ie/  at €19.95 for full membership access. There are more and more traditional music sites offering  ways to learn any traditional instrument of your choice. Celtic music is a community affair. We learn to play the instruments so we can take part in sessions.

So when is the bodhran going to be a ‘hot’ instrument again?

Folk Music Chronicler Peter Simmonds

Folk Music Chronicler Peter Simmonds

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Peter Simmonds already shot and uploaded 10,325 music videos in his youtube site. All of them are live, taken from concerts and folk festivals around the UK. He’s from West Yorkshire and runs the Garden Care Maintenance business in Macclesfield.

He uploads  high quality videos daily using his Sony Pro(see the picture). From Capercaillie, Steeleyespan to the Strawbs. He’s got them all. Folk music should give this man an award as he keeps the scene alive and encourage music fans to check out what folk music has to offer.

Contact information:

simmo7ts@gmail.com

01625610021