Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

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I’ve been playing Destiny by Celtic Woman many times. New voices and new songs. And lots of magical listening experience. Check out my entry regarding the album in my previous post.

It is a great honour to finally get to talk to one of the artists, notably my favourite violinist Máiréad Nesbitt who took the time to write the answers to my questions. You are probably wondering what it’s like to be part a powerful musical ensemble that continue to make music after a decade right? Well here’s your chance to know.

 

1. The new lineup brings something exciting to the music. What happened to the previous members?

As with most women we have desires to go off and start families and get married! Most of the beautiful women that have passed through Celtic Woman decided to leave to come off the road and settle down. Some have also gone on to have solo music careers too.

2. I love many tracks in Destiny. My personal fave is How Can I Keep From Singing? What made you decide to record this song?

I love that song too but as a listener from the wings! We love Clannad and Eabha was taught by the lead singer Moya Brennan so it seemed ideal for her to sing it. 

3. I See Fire (for me) threatens to be better than the original. What’s the story behind the inclusion of this song?

We wanted to move towards the future whilst not forgetting what made people love the group in the first place. Ed Sherran has deep Irish heritage so his music is heavily influenced by that- especially this song. It’s very Irish folk in style and is also a modern one so it seemed like the perfect fit. I also love story telling and this song has such drama in it. 

4. You are back with your US Tour. Wow 85 Cities! How are you preparing mentally and physically for this marathon tour?

Well, personally I follow a plant based (vegan) lifestyle to keep myself healthy of mind, body and spirit and I also work out every day to keep my immune system strong. Lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, water and sleep when we can! 

5. Can you give young women tips on how to sing beautifully like Celtic Woman?

Just be yourself. Don’t try and mould yourself into who you think you should be. Accept yourself from within and sing from your heart. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is happy in herself. 

6. What’s next after the US Tour?

We have lots planned including a hopeful trip to Asia-then onto Australia and back to the states for our Christmas symphony tour where we get to perform gorgeous Christmas songs with a different orchestra every night. I am also recording a solo album with Celtic Woman in the summer when we get off the road which I’m super excited about! 

There you go 🙂
-Máiréad Nesbitt
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Larry Kirwan and Friends- A St Patrick’s Day Celebration

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This is the title Larry Kirwan’s upcoming show:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 

 Sounds like you are going to expect something wicked, festive and poignant is happening this March 17. The spirit of Rock and Roll is strong as ever and when it is mixed with Irish Celtic music; the brew becomes intoxicating. All Black 47 fans will love this!

March marks the exciting month in Irish music as we celebrate St Patrick’s Day with gusto. There will be lots music, of course. And there is always a cross-generational/genre appeal when Larry Kirwan stages a concert. And you will know why as you read the rest of the interview.

CMF1. Great to hear you are returning on St Patrick’s Day! You must be excited with the new lineup.

Larry Kirwan: Well, in a way I’m surprised I’m even doing a show with a band.  I had intended doing a solo show for St. Patrick’s Night in some smaller room.

Then BB King’s asked me to put together an evening and headline it with a band.  At first, I turned it down but then I began to feel that there should be a major gig in Times Square on the biggest Irish night.  In many ways,  it was a bit early for me after Black 47 disbanding.  But in the end I followed the old Black 47 advice, “nothing ventured – nothing gained.”

So, I put out the word to a number of musicians I’d been working with in other spheres and they all were keen to play, so onwards and upwards, as the bishop said to the actress!

2. You’ve got eclectic musicians in the team. When/how did you decide to jam together at BB King’s?

Black 47 will never be surpassed for its singular style, originality and energy and being a founder-member I’m very respectful of that. Yet as a writer it’s interesting to speculate how some of the songs would sound with different instruments and a different approach.  Songs to me are living and breathing entities and, in my head, they’re constantly changing and evolving.  I’d always wanted to play with a double bassist, and recently I’d jammed with Rene Hart at a David Amram gig.

  He comes much more from a Jazz and Improv world, so I asked him first.  I’d been very impressed with the piano playing and arranging of Coty Cockrell when he worked on my Hard Times musical, so I approached him.  I’d always admired Deni Bonet on violin.  She’s played with so many artists and we got talking at the Kansas City Irish Festival when she was playing with Mundy (the Irish superstar).  And I wouldn’t have felt right without inviting my long-tme  drummer, Thomas Hamlin.  We’ve played together in so many bands previous to Black 47.  So, it should be an exciting gig and it is St. Patrick’s Night which always promises surprises.

3. I heard there will be lots of laughs and improvisation during the show. 

Every show I’m involved with has lots of merriment.  I always keep things loose onstage.  That’s what Rock & Roll is about.

Throw together some good songs and let the musicians knock sparks off each other.  Music is there for the making, you just have to let the spirit loose.

4. Apart from the usual St Patrick’s excitement, this is going to be interesting as it marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 uprising in Dublin. Sounds like it’s going to be a poignant event.

WB Yeats said that “poetry should be as cold and passionate as the dawn.”  I always try to follow that rule.  So, if there is poignancy, it has to be balanced with power and purpose.  Along with songs about James Connolly and Michael Collins (both leading figures in the 1916 Uprising) – I’ll also be introducing a new song, Sean MacDiarmada, about Sean McDermott the real initiator of the rebellion.  But then Black 47 always kept the Spirit of 1916 going – we didn’t have to wait for any convenient centenary commemoration.  That spirit is strong and as long as I perform it will always be celebrated.

5. Your artistry extends to writing and you have your own show on Sirius XM. How do you keep it all together, to give generously to your listeners and still maintain your multi-media expertise?

Well, I rarely watch television or spend much time on the internet, and I’m not a big sleeper.  But I also find that if you work on interesting projects you gain energy by moving from one to the other.  With Celtic Crush on SiriusXM I basically improv, play my favorite artists, and talk about whatever comes to mind for three hours.  That’s exhilarating and is like doing a long gig.  I get amazing feedback from the many listeners around the US and Canada, so that really helps.  I’ve always worked as a playwright and novelist while playing with Black 47, so I’ve always had a couple of projects going while on the road.  I’m currently working on a score for a documentary, though, that is really kicking my butt as I have to learn a new recording system at the same time.  My big regret is that I’ve had to put aside a new musical I’m writing about Iraq until after March 17th.  But maybe the break will help.

6. Your son Rory K is also joining you on stage. He is doing an interesting solo career as an emerging hip-hop artist! I know his music and I am one of his avid followers.You must be a proud dad.

Frankly, I’m amazed at his facility with words.  He has a great feel for the sound, rhythm, and meaning.  That goes for a lot of hip-hop artists.  Yeah, sure I’m proud of him, particularly since he did it himself without any help from me.  I didn’t even know about that side of him for a long time.  He turns me on to really interesting artists like Fetty Wap. I also like the fact that he has a steady job and is doing well at that too.  My major advice to anyone going into the music world is get a skill that will net you a couple of hundred bucks a day.  I didn’t take that route and it was a hard road that brought you face to face with real financial stress.  I give him what advice I can but in the end each artist has to find their own way.

7. There will be stand up comedy during the show right?

Yes, my old friend and comrade, John McDonagh of WBAI will be presenting a small piece of his highly acclaimed show, Cabtivist, as well as acting as MC for the night.  So, in many ways it’s a gathering of the clans.  It will be a fun show.

8. Will this St Patrick’s eve going to be the brand New Larry Kirwan with new music along the way?

I’ve actually written a dozen new songs for the IRAQ musical – so most of my songwriting energy has gone into that.  I will be doing a couple of new songs especially for the show though.  I’m also reworking David Bowie’s Heroes to transpose it from Berlin to Belfast – from one wall to another.  David was a big influence on so many of us.  I was lucky enough to have a long conversation with him one night about music, Berlin, Belfast, and life in general.  He was a very inspiring person.  He loved innovation and I think he would have liked this new take on Heroes.  I guess that’s one of the themes of this coming show – what happens to songs when you look at them in a different perspective?

9. What else can people expect coming to the show?

Well, Chris Byrne, the co-founder of Black 47 will be joining me on stage.  That’s always special for me.  Something happens when we perform together.

 It was like that right from the start back in 1989.  Sparks fly and there’s a joy and purpose in the air.  He’ll also do an opening set with his Urban/Traditional band, Lost Tribe of Donegal.  And another old collaborator, David Amram, will be joining me.  David is an amazing musician and perhaps the last living member of the Beats – he and his friend Jack Kerouac began the whole Poetry/Jazz thing.  He’ll be bringing down his French Horn, whistles and hand drum.  My brothers and sisters from the Lia Fail Pipes and Drums from Mercer County, NJ will perform.  It’s always a thrill to have them present.  They’re excellent and always get the crowd going.  And there’ll be surprise guests.  It will be a night to remember.

For everyone’s benefit please read this press release:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 
Larry Kirwan, leader of Irish American rock band, Black 47 for 25 years, will return to BB King’s on St. Patrick’s Day.  He will front a new band formed specially for the evening comprising of Coty Cockrell (Hard Times/Dance Theatre of Harlem) on piano, Rene Hart (Branford Marsalis/Mark Ronson) on double bass and Thomas Hamlin (Black 47) on drums.  They will perform new songs and reinterpret Kirwan’s Black 47 uproarious classics, numbers from his critically acclaimed musical, Hard Times, and as befits a Kirwan show, lots of improvisation, social agitation, and hilarity.
 
Along with the festivities the event will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Uprising in Dublin with such favorites as James Connolly and The Big Fellah, and a new song about the driving force behind the rebellion, the enigmatic, Sean MacDiarmada!
 
Kirwan is host of Celtic Crush on SiriusXM, writes a bi-weekly column for The Irish Echo and is President of Irish American Writers & Artists association.  A renowned playwright, novelist and political activist, surprise guests from all these worlds will make appearances.  He will be joined onstage by co-founder of Black 47, Chris Byrne, whose band, The Lost Tribe of Donegal, will also perform a set of their Urban/Traditional Irish songs.
 
Kirwan’s son, Rory K, an emerging Hip-Hop Artist, will hit the stage with Kirwan, after performing a set of his high-energy, youthful anthems.  He will be releasing his second CD, ‘Young Professionals’, at the show.
 
Long time NYC yellow cab driver, activist and standup comedian, John McDonagh will perform a short excerpt from his sold-out show, Cabtivist.  Host of Radio Free Eireann and Talk Back on WBAI-FM, McDonagh will MC the festivities.  Lia Fáil Pipes and Drums, from Mercer County, NJ, will begin the evening with their traditional march through the audience.  Get there early.  There will be Kilts and pipes a swirling!
 
This is an All Ages Show designed to keep the party going after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.   Doors at 6pm, Show at 7pm sharp!
Tickets:

Big thanks to my friend Anita Daly for arranging this interview!

Get your copies of The Widening Gyre by Altan now!

Get your copies of The Widening Gyre by Altan now!

The title The Widening Gyre appeals to us and depicts the spiral of life, widening and embracing the new. It has an innate energy. We think that idea is reflected in the album’s music,” says Mairéad.

Every Altan release is defined by craft and experience. The Widening Gyre is no exception. It just goes to prove that Altan continues to feel the excitement and growth of their music after being together for so many years. Batch mates include Clannad and the Domhnaill siblings (and you see them together in concerts and tours occasionally). Maggie’s Pancakes is the first single off The Widening Gyre which was presented on the RTE One sessions. The music is irresistible which is something that Altan have given us through the years. I have read so many positive reviews and my newsfeed is flowering with links posted by fans of the band.altan-widening-gyre-600

At the centre of this artistic band is the fiddler extraordinaire Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. I follow her on social media not solely for her talent but also for her advocacy. She is a staunch supporter of causes that matter in Ireland and the world. She is really outspoken with her beliefs. Traditional Irish musicians have been pigeonholed as people who are just mainly concerned with the stye of music that they’re playing – which is reasonable given the kind of discipline that goes to the mastery of the instruments. But this revelation proves that the traditional music community is constantly evolving comprising of people who are forward thinkers and visionaries. It is a great genre with great people around it.

So if you have not yet gotten your copy of The Widening Gyre by Altan, you better get one! The music will embrace you and keep you happy through troubled times.

Siúil a Rún by Belfast Royal Academy

Siúil a Rún by Belfast Royal Academy

I was listening to  Siúil a Run, a fresh version by Royal Academy early in the morning. That was before doing laundry. Now it’s after laundry and I am writing about them. Nothing like a beautiful track to sooth tired muscles. It’s taken from the upcoming album Native. I love that album cover featuring a cow. I have a feeling it will reflect the pastoral bless of the Northern Irish countryside. It’s under the management of Stubborn Ass Music  so I am really sure it’s going to be amazing!

A little info about this project from Dermot McIlroy:

It was certainly an exciting brief, to produce an album of traditional music in just three weeks or so but we got there. The interesting cover art is a stamp of a Moiled cow (a Moilie), a native cow that our client breeds and hopes to promote through this CD. Thanks to The Bruces Hill Cattle company, Lofbergs coffee and the musicians and staff of Belfast Royal Academy for their help in producing this album. A few snippets of the tracks to follow soon.
Ok that sounds exciting. I have no details yet but I will surely update you about this group. I love the instruments that compliment the fantastic female vocals. “Siúil a Rún” is a traditional Irish song, sung from the point of view of a woman lamenting a lover who has embarked on a military career, and indicating her willingness to support him.

 

Repost your Soundcloud!

Repost your Soundcloud!

 

A blog featuring John Breen, Fraser Fifield and TradConnect

It is great to realize that soundcloud has grown into a site where musicians and listeners can interact and repost music. Have you been reposting the music you heard too? I have been doing this today. I have not uploaded my podcast in soundcloud as I use mixcloud for that. But soundcloud is still the biggest site where you can reach many people.
From a mere(passive)listener of tracks you can actually make a difference by reposting. So you don’t have to be a blogger to influence people if you have a soundcloud account. Just share what you are listening to and the Internet will take care of the rest.

When bloggers like us experience a downtime in traffic and comments, we launch into conclusion that perhaps we have done something wrong to put our readers off. Maybe we are not doing good enough and that is why readers are going somewhere. Well, the truth is, you are wrong. For niche bloggers like me, it is expected that I will get specialized subscribers who are really passionate about Celtic music. I don’t expect pop listeners to check out what I post. This goes with other niche blogs out there.

Too many choices.

As new bloggers crop up everywhere, competition becomes deadly. The market is no longer dominated by those who are ‘stalwarts’ in this industry. Prepare for that. When you are doing video blogs or simply writing blogs, don’t be discouraged when you have lost view counts. This is normal. It happens to everyone. It’s even happening to Tech vlogger Chris Pirillo.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Are you afraid that if you do something different you will turn certain subscribers off? Don’t be. In fact it might be a good thing. Blogging is like marriage. There are times when a relationship hits plateau and you need to do something different to spice the relationship up.

Going back to soundcloud, I have discovered new posts today and I am sharing them with you. Yes this post is after all about soundclous. But if you get something helpful from by detour then good!

 

John Breen’s Compilation

 

 

I enjoyed many songs from John Breen. There is this simplicity in his way of delivering songs. Expect a range of songs going from simple to grand treatments. This time he compiled his own soundcloud playlist of what he thinks are his top artists.

 

Fraser Fifield Playlist

Here’s the Scottish master of eclecticism. This is a good introduction to what his music is all about. There are other amazing talents that share the spotlight with him, in these recordings.

 

TradConnect playlist:

If you are looking for something purely trad then this is the best site for that.

 

 

Creeds Cross: Gods & Fighting Men Is My Energy Music!

Creeds Cross: Gods & Fighting Men Is My Energy Music!

The Album features an all star line up of musicians including Pete Jupp (FM) Drums, Bob Skeat (Wishbone Ash) Bass, Pat McManus (Mamas Boys and Celtus) Fiddle, and Brian Kelly (Shane McGowan) on Banjo. Paddy Rock takes on a new twist with this guitar driven traditionally influenced release. It’s a journey from mayhem to melancholy, stopping at every pub in between-Creeds Cross Website.

Harnessing the power of a broad musical spectrum, Creeds Cross crafted an album that will appeal to many listeners. They also made a good musical representation with their (visually pleasing) video for The Irish Band. The album has eleven tracks that celebrate the passionate spirit of Irish rock. What I admire about this recording is its natural vibe that flows. It doesn’t matter what tempo, the passion rubs on you right away.

The Irish Band is a perfect introduction to the music of the band, and I guess that’s the main reason it is their first single. Fiddles, banjos and other instruments wrapped this uplifting tune. Precision is the thing that marks their playing. No loose ends there.

I like the way the drummer(Pete Jupp) hammers the snare in One by One. People can call their music Paddy rock or any way they want to call it. But for me it is simply this: Beautiful music! A kind of album you should take with you when you go on a trip somewhere far away. The energy screams caffeine and after several listens, you will realize how easy it is to memorize all the songs in Gods & Fighting Men.

Good Enough is a good power ballad suited for a huge arena. Bart Foley proves that he has remarkable vocal pipes, enough to make the gods stop in their tracks. The title track Gods & Fighting Men sounds like it has a potential for second single. It has this loud and confident style that most young people really dig these days. I’m Coming Home has a very Americana feel. I love it because it makes me smile when I hear it. Two thumbs up for the banjo player(Brian Kelly). I also love Half a Chance for its power to make me want to dance-pogo dancing that is…

For those who are into the softer side of music, listen to A Lullaby. It’s really a good song with awesome mandolin playing. When you reach the chorus part it feels like you are flying.

You can buy Gods & Fighting Men here: http://www.creedscross.com/product/gods-fighting-men-album/

From Gods & Fighting Men video shoot.

The Otherworldly Appeal of Under a Red Night Sky by Martin Tourish

The Otherworldly Appeal of Under a Red Night Sky by Martin Tourish

 

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Martin Tourish is back with an album that promises to enchant and enrich the soul with historical content in twelve artfully crafted tracks.

I compare the experience to watching a UFO land. The beautiful album cover alone ( orange, red , black and a bird silhouette ) is telling. Under a Red Night Sky also presents the involvement of Tim Edey and the technical talent of Alexis Nealon who engineered and mastered this superb recording. I checked out the list of artists in the liner notes and I give it a two thumbs up. Or even three.

It’s an eclectic mix of traditional melodies, classical influences and samples from music archives that showcase the stories behind the tunes. In my dark bedroom, it seems as if the ceiling opens up to reveal a wild, fantastic and beautifully scary world that is inhabited by primal emotions. This album is very visual.

It is easy to get lost in the beautiful music of Martin Tourish whom I wrote about more than a year ago, highlighting his achievements (being able to perform with legendary personalities including NASA astronaut Cady Coleman). Under a Red Night Sky is a testament to his sophisticated command of technique and composition.

It is hard to choose my favorite tracks out of the twelve because, each tune has its story to tell. Variation on a Theme from a James Tourish Collection (track 6)is a favorite due to its emphasis on nuance and atmosphere. I also love Imagined Communities because it features  John Doherty’s voice which enhances the ambience. The other stand out track for me is Horseman, Pass By. It is the last track in the album. Being alone in the dark and listening to this gives me goosebumps. You know what they say about the curtain between the physical world and the unseen becomes thin- it’s exactly the feeling I have.

Under a Red Night Sky plays like a good fantasy/historical/sci-fi novel. You don’t want to miss a chapter. All the meticulous love for detail of talents involved in the making of this album are evident as you listen again and again. It is something you can listen to ten years from now and realize how timeless and beautiful it is.

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Watch Out for the Forthcoming Album by Guitar, Bouzouki Player Michael McCague

Watch Out for the Forthcoming Album by Guitar, Bouzouki Player Michael McCague

Michael McCague in In Derry

Michael McCague:Musician, Composer, Recording Artist and Mathematics Major.

Music follows Mathematical laws. And Traditional Irish musicians like Michael McCague can attest to this. After all, he is a Mathematics major. When he is not into academic things, he plays music with his brother Donal. It’s through Donal that I discovered him. I have seen most of their videos consisting mainly of fiddle(Donal) and Guitar(Michael) duets.

His style is hypnotic and rhythmic. Although I am yet to hear his solo album, his name has been all over the traditional Irish music map.  I you haven’t heard of him, then look for recordings by the following:

Idir – by At First Light (arrangement, guitar and bouzouki)

Bits N Pieces – Donal Mc Cague (arranger, guitar, bouzouki, piano, tenor guitar)

Banjo – Stevie Dunne – (arrangement, guitar, bouzouki)

Its Not Racket Science – At The Racket (arrangement, guitar, tenor guitar, bouzouki)

Sheridan’s Guesthouse – Dave Sheridan – (arranger, bouzouki, guitar)

Edel Fox & Ronan Flaherty (guitar, bouzouki, arranger)

Idir – by At First Light (arrangement, guitar and bouzouki)
Bits N Pieces – Donal Mc Cague (arranger, guitar, bouzouki, piano, tenor guitar)
Banjo – Stevie Dunne – (arrangement, guitar, bouzouki)
Its Not Racket Science – At The Racket (arrangement, guitar, tenor guitar, bouzouki)
Sheridan’s Guesthouse – Dave Sheridan – (arranger, bouzouki, guitar)
Edel Fox & Ronan Flaherty (guitar, bouzouki, arranger)

You can also read an update about the forthcoming album through his TradConnect blog:

http://tradconnect.com/profiles/blogs/album-update

Videos with Michael playing:

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!