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

 

 

Poitin (Debut Album re-issued 2012)

The first in the series of my album review featuring Celtic band from the Czech Republic. Poitin is indeed getting global attention and the proof is when their tune The Congress Reel appeared in Sherlock Holmes:A Game of Shadows.

The running sound of the bodhran during the opening of the  track The Congress Reel is enough to drive one nuts with its irresistible beat and the breakneck speed on how the instruments are played. It is a thumping beat that won’t just let one sit there. You have to move to the music! Poitin have come a long way since this debut recording was released in the year 2000. Now they are getting a lot of attention all over Europe and the UK.

 

The cover artwork is designed by Jeremy King, the band’s lead musician/vocalist. This album is eclectic, combining music origin from Irish, Scottish, Breton and French. According to Jeremy:

‘It was the first time in a studio for most of us, and we were a bit apprehensive, but it didn’t take long for us to get to like the experience. The recording took three weekends, and the mixing a further two. Most of the instrumental tunes we recorded in one take, so if somebody messed up, we had to start again from the beginning- not a pleasant task! Some tracks went easier than others. For example, Vladar we got in one take and Laird of Cockpen in two. But on the other hand, Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa’ must have taken about twenty attempts. Tyna had to drink gallons of some horrible throat gargle, but in the end I hope you’ll agree it was worth it!’

 

I like Jeremy’s sense of humor. And I think his way of taking things with humor is responsible for the steady climb of the band’s success not just in the internet but also offline as they have been getting responses all around. Apart from being  a musician, he is also a great supporter of Celtic music in general. He doesn’t hesitate to post updates and also re post news from his online friends.

 

This first album is well made. All tracks are played in an excellent way considering that no layering happened here. All tracks are played live. The second song Gloomy Winter’s Noo’ Awa is a slow air with Tyna Frankova’s haunting voice.  I love the presence of recorders in this album because it adds a Shakespearean essence to it.

 

Other favorites are Si Mors a Mort  Breton track, Carolan’s Ramble to Cashell with its amazing harp playing that’s flawlessly delivered. Bodhran Solo from track 6 is powerful and though it is a short piece it stops you on your tracks. To be honest, there is no dull track here. Everything has been arranged carefully to create a balanced listening experience. I am an album guy and I prefer to listen to the entire album than just single tracks. I think the drama created during the ordering of tracks is just as important as the production itself. This album is a must for Celtic music fans and collectors.

Irish “tavern” tune from Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows score, used in fight scene during Watson’s last night of bachelorhood. Not included in the official soundtrack. Title: Poitin – The Congress Reel (recorded in 2000).

Tracks:

1. The Congress Reel

2. Gloomy Winter’s Noo’ Awa’

3. The Sea/Planxty Eleanor Plunkett/Planxty Maggie Browne

4. Si Mors a Mort

5. The Laird O’ Cockpen

6. Carolan’s Ramble to Cashell

7. Bodhran Solo

8. Grasou Mat Pier  

9. Lover’s Ghost          

10. TheDunmoreLassies/Trip to Sligo/Tom Billy’s No.2          

11. Silvestrik   

12. Vlada?      

13. Carolan’s Draught  

14. The Old Hag in the Kiln/Morrison’s Jig/Scatter the Mud     

15. Spanish Lady         

16. Do Tamborin Poirt/Swallowtail Jig/Gaius    

You can buy the album from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Poit%C3%ADn/dp/B007L7V8PQ/ref=sr_1_6?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1334671097&sr=1-6

 

 

Album Review: Faeries by Phil Holland

Celticmusicfan goes to Italy.

Those who are new to the music of Phil Holland will probably be at loss on how to approach her music. After all, she is first and foremost a student of classical music long before she ventured into the realm of Celtic music. Her brand of singing harkens into the grander Bel Canto style of the Italian school of music. In fact I am reminded mostly of composers like Verdi, Bellini and Puccini.Even in looks, she closely resembles the late and great Maria Callas.

Those who are looking for the likes of Loreena McKennitt, Moya Brennan or Karen Matheson will not find those here..at least vocally but then again it is a matter of taste. But if you want a different approach in your Celtic music then this one’s for you. There are flavours of Baroque in her delivery. It is unfair to say that only those who appreciate high brow music would really get Miss Holland’s album because music is universal. And this is clear in thirteen tracks she made for Faeries.
Wild Faery-A harp driven track composed of vocals and a spoken word. This is one of the two songs in the album that uses Shakespearean verse from a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
O’Corolan’s Concerto-The blind Irish composer left this legacy to the world.Who else could tackle Corolan’s Baroque pieces but one who has the descipline for it.This is a very lively tune that makes you want to sway on your seat,with smile in your face.
My Lagan Love-This traditional songs has been interpreted by so many artist. She approaches it in her own way.
Laoch Sidhe-The title stands for ‘warrior or hero faery in Gaelic’.The instrumental is embelishes by her layered vocals close to the end of the track.
Inisheer/The Blackbird-Harp solo.Bright and sparkling like an oasis in the middle of a forest.I also realized that she is playing the 36-string Donegal harp.
The Selkie-Words and Music by Phil Holland.She sings of a magical creature known as the selkie and being born in the Scottish isles, she brings passion and authenticity in this tale.
The Athol Highlanders/Will Ye No Come Back Again?-This is a traditional piece from Scotland rendered in Celtic Harp, Fiddle and voice.The instrumental piece progresses into mournful songs about Bonny Charlie which I have heard as a child.
The Faery Lullaby-Another song set in Shakespeare’s verses sang in her high operatic style.In the part where she introduces a harmonizing vocal, the effect is heartbreaking beautiful.
Allistrum’s March– Another traditional piece in Celtic harp and fiddle.Images of faeries doing the Irish dance come to mind.
The Hosting of the Sidhe-Words by W.B Yeats.
Morrison’s Jig-Playing it like a pro! I love the infectious rhythm of this tune and how she renders this traditional piece as it is. No flourishes, no pretensions. Just pure beauty in harp solo.
Raglan Road-Van Morrison made this tune popular. She does this in the style of operatic aria which surprisingly I came to really appreciate.
Sidhe Beag,Sidhe Mor/The Fairy Queen-Miss Holland closes this album with two O’Corolan pieces rendered in a gorgeous manner.Her playing is so smooth like a flow of honey.It is almost a sacrilege to talk while she is playing the harp.I heard Fairy Queen first through Clannad. And I could say this rendition sounds better!

If you haven’t explored your Scottish or Irish myths yet, then this album is a good start.

http://www.myspace.com/philholland2

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Was watching live Ireland video streaming last St Patrick’ day and they had this beautiful lass from Northern Ireland by the name of Lisa McLaughlin as studio guest. She sang songs from her new album including “Mac Boy’ which is about a friendship borne out of the Internet. She’s the looks like Joan Baez when she was young. She is on tour and you might want to check out her interesting music.

http://www.myspace.com/lisamclaughlinmusic