Moxie: Taking the Heat for Being an Innovative Trad Band?

Moxie: Taking the Heat for Being an Innovative Trad Band?

As a blogger, I learned to be careful what I write online. Well, it doesn’t matter what I write about myself especially if I do it in a self-deprecating manner. It is part of my humor. But writing about bands is different. Your criticisms appear in search engines. You could be tagged with it forever. And it is quite unfair to do that to a band that is still trying to build their roots or fanbase. Of you do that to stalwarts, most likely they have fans who can defend them. Or they don’t care because nothing you will say will affect their careers. But if you do that to new bands who barely released five albums then there are things that you need to consider.

Are you writing that to help them improve? Most likely they don’t need your suggestion. Because they are professional musicians and they have a clear vision of what they want to happen with their music. They are just starting to tap into that musical segment that appreciate the kind of music they do-and not what you would like them to do.

It’s a big musical world. There are styles that you like and there are those that you don’t. If you don’t like the music then you move along. There is no need to write scathing reviews. There is no need to kill another creative spirit just because you you think you know what is right for everyone. I read a post from Irish band Moxie a couple of days ago. And this is what it says:

We would like to say something about this talk of the tradition being broken as we have been a heavily mentioned part of the topic. We are playing music that we create ourselves. The root of our music came from playing both ‘Traditional’ and ‘Modern’ Irish Music while bringing in influences of Jazz, Hip Hop, funk, bluegrass, Classical and other world music. There are a lot of people saying we are bastardising ‘Traditional Music’ but that is not true. The pure traditional music is safe in the hands of many bands, solo performers and hard working people behind the scenes who dedicate their careers to the Tradition and play the music they WANT. What we are doing is creating a new wave of fusion music which we have labeled MOXAGE. We are proud to say that we are all rooted deep in traditional Irish music and that we will love it forever. With Moxie we play something that is NOT ‘Traditional’, however it is ‘Irish’. Regardless of the fact that we are pushing boundaries, working hard to enhance our career and playing the music we WANT to play, we are also providing audiences all over the world a taste of something new and fresh. Regardless of the people who dislike our music we are proud to represent a new form of ‘Irish Music’. We live in a multi-cultural society. With the growth of technology and the melting pots of mixed cultures in cities all over the world, music is bound to evolve and we believe in evolution!
If everything stays the same then we will live everyday just like the last. We are changing the way that WE play Irish Music, not the way traditional music is played. At the end of the day Music is Music and people enjoy what we are doing, young and old. That is why we will continue to do so. 

Thank you everyone for the support,

MOXIE

I think what Moxie is doing is great. It is refreshing. It is adventurous. I love how they introduce something new to traditional-inspired music. They are not a traditional band. They are musicians making beautiful music. There is always a place for any type of music. I love traditional music as it is played which is in a traditional way. But if artists start exploring other avenues then let them be. It is time to move on. But love music. And never create discord because of it. We should support one another because hey, independent music is a small community.

I love what Fiach Moriarty posted in defense of them:

Fair play lads. You can’t be a heavyweight without taking a few slugs to the chin. Seolaigí ar aghaidh!!


If everything stays the same then we will live everyday just like the last. We are changing the way that WE play Irish Music, not the way traditional music is played. At the end of the day Music is Music and people enjoy what we are doing, young and old. That is why we will continue to do so.

Thank you everyone for the support,

MOXIE

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Listening to Ramblin’ with the Rats – Stolen Songs of Struggle by The Rathmines

Listening to Ramblin’ with the Rats – Stolen Songs of Struggle by The Rathmines

It’s been a while since I checked my Celtic Music Fan Facebook inbox. I got a neat message from these German artists. I am enjoying their new album. They have a general appeal as they combine folk, rock, reggae and traditional Irish. A really fun album you should listen when you are depressed.I am attaching the note below:

I hope this finds you well! We are The Rathmines, 4 guys from Berlin, Germany addicted to folk (mostly Irish plus own compositions). We make folk which locates somewhere between The Clancy Brothers and The Pogues but mostly with a critical or political attitude. Last year we released our first album “Ramblin’ with the Rats – Stolen Songs of Struggle” and after we celebrated it with numerous gigs in and outside of Berlin I think it is now about time to widen our audience. Whether getting featured, reviewed or put on a playlist we think it is worth to lend us an ear and see what we’ve done with 16 songs (including 4 own songs) in the living room of our singer. I admit – it is not the same without a chanting and beer drinking crowd in the background. Enough text now – if you like to take a listen, you find our album playable on bandcamp (www.therathmines.bandcamp.com). If you like it I am happy to send one or the other copy of our CD over.

In the social media world you find us here:

Website: www.therathmines.de

Twitter: https://twitter.com/therathmines

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjqdfRC8bbe5XAxpemejP7Q

Facebook: http://www.facebook.de/therathmines

Bandcamp: therathmines.bandcamp.com

Songkick: https://www.songkick.com/artists/8249003-rathmines

Reverbnation: http://www.Reverbnation.com/therathmines

So far from my end and a happy week!

René

John Breen taps into The Source with Origins

John Breen taps into The Source with Origins

John Breen- Origins CD

John Breen- Origins CD

John Breen is a traditional Irish folk artist from Arklow. Origins is his third studio album under Emphasis records. 

Excitement was in the air when I heard that Irish crooner John Breen was putting up a new album called Origins, last year. I know his music. There is consistency that marks his previous albums. There is certainty in his vision resulting in an album that’s solid and artfully crafted. There is no fumbling around with other styles. Instead, he goes for the things he know by heart, and good at. If you pick up any John Breen album, you always feel that sense of coming home, not just in a geographical but in a spiritual sense as well.

Maturity marks his new album. I admire his humility, in a sense that he is aware of being a vessel to something bigger himself. I Still Believe is his current single. It is a stirring ballad with a beautiful mandolin solo in a mesh of other instruments. “There will be moments of fall from grace…” His ability to capture the essence of life in a line or two, is powerful. Great musicians backed this recording. It’s a cornucopia of instrumental richness supporting his beautiful voice.

I think what makes him stand out from other singer/songwriters of his time is the truth in his songs. He really lives what he sings about. He now works with people who are undergoing challenging behaviors and I think that has deepened his sense of humility and sympathy to the human condition. And we all need that in this time of apathy. When people spend more time with their mobile phones, computers or tweets, it’s refreshing to just curl up in your bed and listen to songs that remind you of what it’s like when you’re a child and everything’s safe and beautiful.

Origins is a good vocal album. The jolly Amber Tresses opens then album in which he shines in his mastery of traditional styles. Meant to Be slows us down a bit with its introspective mood and beautiful tin whistle solo. Cup of Sorrow is another lively track which gives way to the gentle and flowing I Still Believe which I mentioned earlier. I’ll Be No Stranger is another salvo of Bluegrass fireworks with amazing duet between Breen and Stevie Hawkins. Instrumentalist Tim Crouch showcases his virtuosity in most of the tracks in Origins. I admire the angelic voice of Kyla Cassidy as she provides backing vocals in various tracks,while the rest of musicians are all remarkable in their artistry in the finest degree.

Angel In The Air is a lullaby that reminds me of what mothers sang to their children in the old days to send them to sleep. I Loved You Better Than You Know is a love song with another sweep of instrumental beauty. A lament I’LL Remember You Love In My Prayers mirrors the gentleness of Meant To Be and I Still Believe. Briscoe’s Darlin’ in an instrumental that bumps the pace a bit in a traditional style. The thread extends to What I Said Ain’t What You Thought I Mean which is humorous! Been proves  that he can be funny. I Only Wish You Well closes the album. A very fitting track which summarizes the overall atmosphere of Origins. There is wisdom that comes in every journey. I think after creating three albums, the artist has an overall idea what his purpose is..

I think  we are fortunate to have an artist like John Breen in this lifetime. The honesty of his songs cuts to the core of our souls. I feel purified after the last track. Origins is a must-have album for humanity. Get it upon its official release on February 23.

Official video for “I Still Believe”, the 1st single from the forthcoming album by John Breen titled “Origins”. Download the single now direct from Emphasis Records: http://www.emphasisrecords.com/johnbr…

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-s…

Amazon MP3: http://amzn.to/1w0DWVG

“I Still Believe” is a contemporary Folk/Celtic ballad that lyrically hints at life’s struggles, yet the mood is uplifting in recognition of the power in believing. Excellent production, melodically brilliant, smooth vocals.

Song and Video Credits:
Artist: John Breen
Title: I Still Believe
Writers: C. Hannon – T.S. Hawkins – T. Crouch
Record Producer: Stevie Hawkins
Recording Engineers: Stevie Hawkins and Tim Crouch
Label: Emphasis Records
Publisher: Hannon Hawkins Music, BMI
Photography: Aoife Kavanagh
Video Editor/Director: Stevie Hawkins – ShhhMedia http://www.shhhmedia.net
Artist Website: http://www.johnbreenmusic.com

Lyrics:

I STILL BELIEVE

There will be storms, wind and rain
Life will falter, love will fail
There’ll be times the crashing wake
Washes away
Everything in its way
I Still Believe

There will be moments of fall from grace
A passing glance, a saving face
Sometimes a feeling undefined
That catches flight
And the heart will know it’s time
I Still Believe

There will be spring, summer and fall
Arctic winds will come to call
Grades of trial, a bridge of strife
For this is life
But throughout it all
I Still Believe

© 2014 Emphasis Records

Musician Credits:
John Breen: Vocal
Tim Crouch: Fiddle, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Banjo, Djembe
Sara Burke: Celtic Harp
Eamonn Byrne: Irish Tin Whistle
Kyla Cassidy: Background Vocals
Stevie Hawkins: Percussion, Background Vocals

http://www.johnbreenmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JohnBreenMusic?fref=ts

February 2015 Celtic music updates.

February 2015 Celtic music updates.

..And so we have amazing tunes to start the big bang of Celtic music for 2015!

Welcome to my ‘conversational post’ where I talk like a normal person especially when I am not doing album reviews or interviews. 2015 brings us fantastic tunes in the trad and fusion department. Celtic music is colorful as it embraces many. I will

The winning image from the Bodojo Header competition by Matthew Olwell.

The winning image from the Bodojo Header competition by Matthew Olwell.

bring you fresh uploads from musicians you have not or probably heard already. But guess what they have in common? Yes it’s fantastic music. These are artists who dedicated their lives in perfecting their craft. They have released albums independently and I think their persistence is admirable. Especially in a world where ‘common’ or ‘ordinary’ music is praised. But think about it. What’s so great about common right? Why not spice up your life with something you seldom read up the Billboard or Rolling Stone reviews. Why be part of the herd when you can be different. Think different. Act different and dare to be you.

This is a fresh upload from Irish musician Enda Seery(with James Hughes). I think a new album is on the way. What do you think? I love this tune.

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I will be posting an album review of this amazing artist. He is John Breen. 

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Have a taste of Buan, the new album by Danu. Yes they have a new album out if you haven’t heard yet. It’s been creating quite a stir in the trad community these days. Worth a check! Thanks to Trad Connect for this link.

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Fans of Scottish artist Julie Fowlis will be pleased. She has released a new album called  GACH SGEUL – EVERY STORY. As always, her vocals are in between the haunting realm of Celtic music and the simplicity of indie pop. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/juliefowlis

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Bodhran Drum Solo – Abe Doron

Fans of bodhran music will love this! I love the bodhran and I am trying to be an expert but I guess I need more time. If you want to check out anything related to this instrument then be part of Bodojo https://www.facebook.com/groups/bodojo/?fref=ts

Have a great weekend everyone and more to follow!

The Ashokan Farewell and McIlroy Guitars.

The Ashokan Farewell and McIlroy Guitars.

His arrangement of The Ashokan Farewell for acoustic guitar. Played on a McIlroy AJ16

Dermot McIlroy is a versatile artist. Apart from playing in his project bands, he is also a guitar builder. Have you tried visiting McIlroy Guitars? The video will give you an idea what one of them sounds like(the McIlroy AJ16). And he plays really good! He executes that depth and craft in the video Ashokan Farewell which has a rather interesting background.

Dermot McIlroy in Antrim, Antrim, United Kingdom.

Dermot McIlroy in Antrim, Antrim, United Kingdom. Photo by Daniel Burne.

I love instrumental music. They don’t have resistance or aggression. They are compatible with almost anything. The Ashokan Farewell plays like a peaceful river. Everything flows without bumps and uncertainty. And the notes are clear like golden silver. Can you hear it? That certain feel to it?

I think there should be a solo instrumental album from McIlroy don’t you think? I think, for that to be realized one day will be a truly wonderful experience. Solo guitar music is timeless. I love collecting them. I can play them anytime and anywhere. I hope this post(and most importantly the accompanying music lights up your week) inspires you as you start your day or recline to sleep.

http://mcilroyguitars.co.uk

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I will be posting a blog about Derek Smith of this Welsh trio, Glasnant. According to him:

“Glasnant means Blue Stream in English. Our music will be like a stream flowing through the Celtic countries.” They will go to Ireland on March 12th-16th to take their interceltic music to the Aran Isles. Sounds exciting!

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Make way for Talisk

Make way for Talisk

 

Members:
 Mohsen AminiHayley Keenan and Craig Irving

Above are the stunning previews of this interesting band from the Glasgow. I know of them from Mohsen Amini(accordion) who also collaborated with other traditional bands. It also features Hayley Keenan (fiddle) and Craig Irving(Guitar). This new project called Talisk is straightforward and the music celebrates the beauty of Scottish music. They now often appear on Celtic festivals all over UK and will definitely spread their wings further.

There is not much material to present here, as the trio is still organizing and recording new tunes which will hopefully become an album one day.

 With Mohsen Amini, Hayley Keenan and Craig Irving


With Mohsen Amini, Hayley Keenan and Craig Irving

Review of North Star a new album by Kyle Carey

Review of North Star a new album by Kyle Carey

Why a casual Celtic music fan would love North Star by singer/songwriter Kyle Carey-It has a universal appeal. 

Every album is a musical journey. The experience is always complete when one listens to all the tracks in the album (in the order they were recorded) instead shuffling.I think Kyle Carey has worked hard in recording every track in North Star. This is a follow -up to her highly acclaimed Monongah. Every nuance is given emphasis.

North star is a journey across continents. It has taken her to Scotland, in order to record the twelve tracks, each with its own story to tell. In the title track (Northern Star), she sings of how each point of light draws a constellation. Like the album itself, it is about seeing the bigger picture from the complexity of notes and melodies. We are part of each other. We are connected by this endless chain of histories. The album is a testament to the modern and ancient Celts. North Star Cover

Apart from the melodic merits, North Star has superb packaging and meticulous recording process.The music doesn’t intrude. Yes it draws you in because of the beautiful songs (this includes the instruments, the chords and yes the amazing voice of Kyle Carey). This is highly recommended for lovers of chill out pop and indie folk. Her sound has evolved. She blends Gaelic and English songs in this album seamlessly. Everything feels supple, organic and also healing.

The word north conjures many thoughts. One of them is the cold and quiet that an artist needs in the gestation period of his or her creativity. North Star is Polaris which has been embodied in a lot of myths. The fact that this album is produced by Seamus Egan proves that she is backed by stalwart talents.

North Star is one of the great releases of this decade. Everything works. Her vocals are more stretched and exploited as there are tracks where she lets those pipes loose. I love Sios Dhan An Abhainn. I got goose bumps listening to that song. It is my personal favorite. Across the Great Divide is also poignant and memorable.

And lastly…I love the album artwork. I think the images and overall design give justice to the feel of the album. Her persistence and professionalism has paid off. This started off as a crowdfunding project. This album proves that those who are passionate about this kind of music are out there! Now looking forward to the next album.

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I among those fascinated by the music of Breton singer/songwriter Cecile Corbel. It has something more to do with the melodies in her songs than her vocals or arrangements. Although it is worth noting that her arrangements are superb as well! She’s one of those artists celebrating the beauty of Breton music(the other one is Nolwenn Leroy). I think these two artists are the best  in terms of putting out Celtic music with pop appeal. She continues to dazzle our imagination with her Arthurian concept.

This is a captivating song called Entendez-vous from  La Fiancée. Would you agree it’s beautiful in all aspects?

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Celtic Colours Int’l Cape Breton, Canada

Celtic Colours continues to be an influential festival in North America. Great shows, fantastic artists and a wide array of genres (or colours). Here’s a Soundcloud sampler of music you get to hear when you attend the festival.

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I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Next, I will be writing about American group Soulsha: Afro-Celtic Funk, so watch out for this one.

Weekend Tunes and a big Happy Birthday to Kevin Crawford.

Weekend Tunes and a big Happy Birthday to Kevin Crawford.

It’s been a while since I posted something here. Blame it to the many obligations I took (which sometimes I regret because they zap my strength and creativity to blog) and that you can’t serve two masters at the same time. When you want to give your best on something, it must occupy your time and attention. And I believe that writing reviews or blogging about music is not just for the sake of putting something out there. It must be true to your heart. Music is about touching lives and putting that ‘soul’ to your existence because your music defines you. And I know that there are those who really don’t like my music preference but that’s just a matter of taste. What is important is that people are passionate about what they like to listen to. Because when you dissect music  in its barest essence, it is after all about energy. And energy is what the universe is made of. And it is part of us all.

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Happy Birthday to Kevin Crawford!

Yes the big man of Lunasa has just celebrated his birthday. They will be in the US next year so watch out for that event American listeners.

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Ensemble Eriu on Soundcloud.

These musicians are fantastic. They have created a kind of sound that is unique and also artfully crafted. I enjoyed every song from them and I think you will enjoy this Soundcloud link I posted. If you like the combination of Traditional Irish and modern music then you will love anything they release!

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Hooray Julie Fowlis!

If you haven’t visited the website of Julie Fowlis yet, you better check it out. A new album is out plus recognition from her own country. She wowed fans of alternative rock and traditional Scottish music and her wide appeal is evident in event below.

Music Award:

Julie made history last Saturday night when she became the first Gaelic artist to be honoured alongside pop and rock stars at the ‘Scottish Music Awards – The Tartan Clefs 2014’; where she received the ‘Scottish Traditional Music Award’.(from her official website.

New album from Julie Fowlis is out now!

If you want to read more about it and also upcoming music events from Julie Fowlis, then go to :http://www.juliefowlis.com

 

 

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