Irish Guitarist Robert Doyle Talks About His New Album Lig Amach (Video)

Irish Guitarist Robert Doyle Talks About His New Album Lig Amach (Video)

I am one of the lucky people who got the chance to preview the new album Lig Amach by Irish guitarist Robert Doyle. So glad he agreed to this interview format. I gave him written questions and he answered them in video form and then I put everything together. Nothing fancy. And I think you would agree that simplicity is indeed a thing of beauty!

Lig Amach is going to be released on Friday 22nd of April. A live performance on the 28th will follow. This is a beautiful album! I highly recommend it as a 5 out of 5 stars!

Robert Doyle album cover

Visit: http://robertdoyle.net

Advertisements
Robert Doyle Has  A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle Has A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle album cover

When: Friday 22nd April

Where:The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

As a long time admirer of his music, I am happy to announce that Mr Doyle has finished a follow-up to his compelling album A Life in Shadows. It was well received among Celtic and Irish Music sites. If you love laid back songs written and performed around the voice and acoustic guitar then you better hear Lig Amach. I will be posting my own thoughts about the album soon!

Read more about the album through the press release:

ROBERT DOYLE ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM LIG AMACH

Featuring Sliabh Russell/Out on the Ocean https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

Private Album stream (do not share) https://soundcloud.com/robertdoyle/sets/robert-doyle-lig-amach/s-XZsH4

ALBUM LAUNCH: Thursday April 28th The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

“Fingerstyle guitar expert…. with a unique vocal edge” Irish Music Magazine    “… a new acoustic guitar maestro” R2 Magazine

Dublin fingerstyle guitarist and singer ROBERT DOYLE releases his second album Lig Amach on April 22nd followed by an album launch concert on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone.  Admission to the concert will be free – as Robert explains as “a special thank you to my fans and supporters for their enthusiasm and support along the way”.

LIG AMACH (Let Out) is the follow up to his well received 2011 debut album Life in Shadows.  Mostly recorded in Dublin over the last year the album showcases his distinctive approach to writing & arranging for the guitar.  A collection of instrumentals, interpretations and self penned originals, Lig Amach vividly displays Robert’s dynamic playing & singing  – stretching from the roots of American folk singing and blues, Irish traditional through to classical & flamenco guitar techniques.  Watch the video for SLIABH RUSSELL/OUT ON THE OCEAN https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

While the album features a number of thrilling collaborations, Robert sets down a challenge for himself when he performs live as he will perform entirely solo at the album launch on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone “It really tests your abilities and you learn a great deal about the music when performing in front of an audience.  I choose to play solo so that there’s nowhere to hide on stage.  You learn a lot about yourself as a musician when it’s just you in the spotlight”.

Creativity runs in the Doyle family – the album cover photo was taken by Robert’s brother Eamonn Doyle who is an internationally recognised photographer.  Previously the brothers worked together – Robert as a studio engineer – on Irish label D1 Recordings run by Eamonn, who also founded the DEAF electronic festival.

Robert began playing guitar aged 8 and is a past student of renowned French-Algerian master musician Pierre Bensusan“Pierre is one of the top fingerstyle guitarists in the world but more so he’s also a fantastic musician.  By studying with him, I wanted to gain an insight into how he was able to master the instrument and develop his own individual style. After studying with Pierre, my focus changed from being a guitar player to becoming a better musician and to continue developing my own style”.   In previous years Robert has performed at Celtic Connections and the Moniaive Folk Festival.

Recording the album was a longer process than initially planned as Robert explains “I recorded the guitar and vocals in my home studio with additional instruments recorded in Dublin, London and Italy. Originally I had planned to record this album, like the first, in a studio with an engineer but I later made the decision to record it myself to have more flexibility. The first sessions for the album took place 3 years ago and didn’t go well so I had to go back to the drawing board.  I was only working on the album at weekends so the process was quite drawn out.  The guitar parts are all live recordings, something I’ve always tried to do.”

Like the last album 8 of the 10 tracks were mixed by Marc Carolan who works with Muse. Ross Dowling, who produced the last James Vincent McMorrow album also did a mix as well as Graham Watson from Floodplain Studios in Dublin.

Lig Amach is a departure for Robert in many ways from the first album with a keen focus this time on writing and performing in English.  “The songs on the previous EP and album were based around songs sung in Irish but for this release I wanted to explore singing in English more.”  ACROSS THE LINE was written in 2014 at the time Islamic State attacked and laid siege to Kobani in northern Syria, causing a massive number of people to flee across the border into Turkey.  FLAGS OF BELFAST, which has a traditional air, was written around the time of the Belfast City Hall flag protests while ROUND TWO is a song about a woman who won’t wait too long for a man to make up his mind!

Robert interprets and reimagines a number of covers on Lig Amach including the opening track AN SEANDUINE, a song he learnt from singing in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí  Éireann with this version taking inspiration from recordings by Seamus Begley and Danú.  COUNTRY BLUES is a song Robert learnt from Dock Boggs, an old-time banjo player from Virginia, first recorded in 1929.

Another progression on Lig Amach is Robert’s collaboration with a wide number of renowned musicians “After recording the demos I wanted to add some other instrumentation to the songs. The first collaboration was with Chris Haigh, a fiddle player I first heard on an Oumou Sangaré album.”  Francessco Ganassin (saxophone) and Magnus Mehta (percussion) also feature along with Aoife Dermody & uilleann piper Eoin Dillon on a collaboration, Flags of Belfast, which came out of a recording session in Floodplain Studios.

Lig Amach will be available from all digital outlets from April 22nd, from Claddagh Records and robertdoyle.net

facebook.com/robert.doyle

robertdoyle.net

For more information, images & interviews please contact:

ANN MARIE WALSH NOVATONE MUSIC MEDIA

Tel: 01 2018946 / 087 2460957 musicireland@hotmail.com @novatonemm

Reflections in Fingerstyle: The Robert Doyle Interview

Reflections in Fingerstyle: The Robert Doyle Interview

1424447_662344490464319_103253994_n

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.  

Listen to Flags of Belfast  by Robert Doyle

Listen to Flags of Belfast by Robert Doyle

Two years ago, Life in Shadows was released. It is still one of albums I listen to because of its timeless appeal. Artists are like heavenly bodies that shine when its their moment, and then they leave the orbit to give way to their creative period. In this gestation time, they leave us wondering about what might be in store when it’s their season to arrive once again. 1424447_662344490464319_103253994_n

The thing about Irish singer/songwriter Robert Doyle is that his songs always touch the human soul. They are always about life, the internal and external struggles one must face. No matter how we try to divorce ourselves from the politics of life, we can’t deny that everything affects us. In every discord, in every violence, life is always threatened. Sometimes it happens to people close to the artists ..and sometimes it happens to them.

We all want a better world and this is what the song Flags of Belfast is all about. The song features uilleann piper Eoin Dillon, who plays with the Irish band Kila, and also a singer named Aoife Dermody. Doyle explained that it is a traditional melody and the lyrics were written during the protests which took place in Belfast earlier this year about the flying of flags although the song is not political.

It has the unmistakable vocal style of Doyle which is very unique as I am yet to hear anyone who sings that way. It also has his signature guitar technique which he elaborated in the interview I did with him two years ago. Will this be the start of a new collection of songs that will become another album? Only Robert Doyle can say.

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

You can buy Flags of Belfast, a new single by Irish singer/songwriter Robert Doyle through iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/flags-of-belfast-single/id775461242

MIRC and Nostalgia

Feeling nostalgic with Robert Doyle leading the way …

I discovered a channel called MIRC thirteen years ago. I know people of this age might no longer know what I am talking about but Mirc is an international relay chat that people used  in order to communicate to other people all over the world in real time other than sending emails. Like yahoo messenger and other chat software, mirc offers not only  downloading music or picture files sent by someone but it has commands that are nifty which still depend heavily on scripts rather than the graphic user interface.

There was this channel I used to frequent everyday called ‘music’ . I had no computer at that time and chatting meant going to a cyber cafe and paying for an amount of time for renting a cubicle. Who would have thought that windows 98 would be obsolete a couple of years later? Remembering how the World Wide Web looked like at that time is a far cry from what it is now and what it represents in general. There was no official Enya, Clannad or Chieftains site back then. Internet streaming was limited to dial up-which was an acceptable idea of a decent connection.

I got back to that channel today and found  only one familiar person. I started talking about the old guys, and how things have changed and yet the internet seems to put everything in a capsule that makes time stand still in one place and move fast in others. I mentioned the names of people I remember, and they sound like ghosts now. Maybe for them I am like a ghost too…no longer the bob24 that they  once knew. And I was not  even 24 yet when I started.

Part of us will always revisit these old places in the mind and anywhere else, be it physical or in cyberspace. The mind doesn’t know the difference. When you know someone, and when you care about that person, the mind or heart for that matter doesn’t really know the difference.And though the internet is a wonderful place where everything is possible in terms of music  marketing and publishing, the downside is that it can make you feel so lonely. And I know the  time before it existed and after. And that will always haunt me.

Putting it out there..

When a band adds me in twitter and other social networking sites I always take time to go to their site and listen. Curiosity in this business always pays.

Athena Tergis & Michael G. Rose performing Gypsy Dance / Golden Castle at Admiral Gjedde’s Gaard in Copenhagen, Sept. 2011.http://www.tergisrosemusic.com

Follow Athena and Michael on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/tergisrosemusic

Tradschool is organising an Irish flute and whistle workshop from March 31 to April 1 2012,  in Théus in the Hautes-Alpes (France)

The workshop takes place over one weekend, with accommodation and meals included; it is aimed at intermediate to advanced players of Irish wooden flute and tin whistle.

  Irish Violin MakerPaul Martens is a violin maker and viola maker based in Madison, Wisconsin.

He trained at Indiana University’s String Instrument Technology program taught by Professor Thomas Sparks from 2003-2005 and was the assistant instructor from 2005-2006.  The curriculum consisted of violin making, repair, restoration, history, and identification of classic instruments.  Indiana University’s School of Music also provided an opportunity to see and examine hundreds of fine instruments from makers such as: Antonio Stradivari, Nicolo Amati, G.B. Guadagnini, and many more.
Paul moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2006 where he worked for Spruce Tree Music and Lane’s Lutherie.

Robert Doyle: Life in Shadows Takes the Light (Interview)

I made the decision to not use any other instrumentation at the beginning. There is a sound you can only get when you play solo and this is what I was after. In the past, especially when I worked as an electronic music producer, I was using arrangements full of different layers with various instruments but for this album I wanted to work with only guitar and voice.

Robert Doyle’s guitar takes a bigger shape in “Life in Shadows’ making it seems like you are inside its body. You can feel this when you listen using headsets. This recording is able to capture every nuance in the tracks making it an intimate and almost a spiritual experience. His mellow voice is the perfect partner to his solo guitar – spare,  minimalist approach-no other instruments, just the two. The cover also expresses that simplicity being black and white, uncluttered by other designs. Taking this recording home is like taking a friend with you for a quiet night over coffee talking about life’s realizations and woes.

I suggest you listen to this in different situations and settings until you find that atmosphere that works. I found mine in the workplace during break at 5 AM(since I work at night) with hushed voices and a big table in front. Next time I will bring this recording while riding home or by the beach. I might get another ‘flavour’ out of it. In the bedroom all alone, I find it speaking to me in ways I have never known before. Every recording takes a different character depending on the situations you are exposed to while listening to it.

Life in Shadows is elegance and honesty in one. Robert’s way of playing is getting  to be addictive.He adds depth to his vocals. He has a way of expression, going from a breathy crooning state one moment to a passionate rendition but never losing that nice warm baritone.  Here he opens up to CMF about this albums and all things musical.

For the complete information on the album tracks, please see this link: http://www.robertdoyle.net/album.html

How long did it take you to record Life in Shadows?

The album was recorded over seven months. There were five recording sessions in JMR Studios and three in the D1 Recordings studio here in Dublin. The sessions were usually quite short, around four hours each, and I spent about a month getting ready for each of them. I worked with an engineer on the sessions in JMR and recorded the D1 sessions myself. In general I prefer to work with an engineer but for some of the sessions I wanted to work alone.
The album was mixed and mastered over two days in Suite Studios and Summit Studios in Dublin

I love how this record combines spare arrangement, good acoustics and a balanced emphasis on vocal and instrumental music. One can simply close his eyes and imagine you playing in this white room because of its amazing clarity.Was this intentional?

Before starting to record I did spend a lot of time deciding on the recording techniques that would be used. This was my first time recording with the Frank Tate guitar which I’ve been playing for two years now. I wanted to try to capture the unique acoustics of that instrument in so far as possible. Also, since recording the Trasna na Slí EP in 2008 I’ve been working on my voice and hopefully that lends to the clarity on the album too.
I made the decision to not use any other instrumentation at the beginning. There is a sound you can only get when you play solo and this is what I was after. In the past, especially when I worked as an electronic music producer, I was using arrangements full of different layers with various instruments but for this album I wanted to work with only guitar and voice.

    Fingerstyle guitar, others have played it but you gave it a name and recognition in this release. Tell me more about you French-Algerian teacher Pierre Bensusan.

Fingerstyle is a very general definition for an approach to playing the guitar. There are many variations to the style but broadly speaking it is a mix of classical and flamenco technique. I’ve been influenced by many fingerstyle players over the years – Robert Johnson, James Taylor, Djelimady Tounkara and many more. Pierre Bensusan is one of the all time greatest exponents of the style and he has pushed steel-string acoustic fingerstyle guitar further musically than anyone else in the last thirty years. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time as a student of his and also worked as road manager for two of his recent Irish tours.
I think it is important though to not get too caught up in the style of guitar playing. Hopefully it’s the music which people will be listening for.

 This album has been getting good reviews from all around. I believe that music and the how the album has been artfully crafted go hand in hand.I see this combination in Life in Shadows. We can give credit to your being a music producer in the past. What have you learned so far in terms of music production? Can you give us a glimpse to this world that is seldom seen but is the biggest influence in how music is made?

When I was producing music in the past I was working solely with electronic sounds and making dancefloor records. A lot of what I learnt then wasn’t transferable to working with this style of music and I reluctantly took on the role of producer on this album.
As a producer you need to be able to stand back and listen to the music very objectively. When you’re writing, arranging and performing the music you become very close to it and it can be difficult to get that objective viewpoint from yourself. Of course if you’re a musical genius like Stevie Wonder then you can do everything yourself! For me it was more difficult.

What is the process of creating music? Do you get inspired by a particular season…the time of the day? Or the muse just comes unexpectedly?

The inspiration is from everywhere and is always there. After the initial idea the process of writing and arranging can be long and drawn out and often you might end up with something completely different to what you started with. That is definitely true for some of the music on this album. I had been working on some of it for years and then other pieces came together over a few days. The arrangements are continually changing and some of what I recorded on the album I’ve already changed.

What’s your next goal musically?

There is some music I was working on that I didn’t get finished. This was partly because I ran out of time and then also because my technique wasn’t good enough to play some of the arrangements I had written. So I have to spend some time working on technique so I’ll be ready to play this music.
I’m also looking to start work on the writing and arranging for the second album. I know this will take a long time, probably two or three years, but I’m looking forward to getting into it.

 How do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I want to still be playing the music!

 What’s on your tour schedule before this year ends?
The next concerts will be in Scotland next Spring and then hopefully there’ll be some European shows next summer. All the dates will be announced soon on www.robertdoyle.net.

 Looking back, tell me about that moment where you had this epiphany that music’s gonna be a big part of your life?
There wasn’t one moment. When I was very young there was always music being played in my house and especially a lot of reggae. Bands like Steel Pulse, Black Uhuru and of course Bob Marley & The Wailers. Hearing this music made me want to get involved and I started to play guitar when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I kept going and have never wanted to stop since.

 Are there artists you wish to collaborate in future projects? And who are they?
There are traditional and jazz players here in Dublin that I want to begin to work with. Hopefully some of these collaborations will make it on to the next album.

 Last: message to your listeners and how are they going to get their copies of Life in Shadows?
The CD is being distributed by Claddagh Records and is available on their website and from shops all over Ireland. The album is also available to download from iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. I want to thank everyone out there who has been supporting me and this music and hopefully they’ll be able to come to see one of the next shows.

Lantern Centre, Dublin

Lantern Centre, Dublin