Craving for new sound? Get Windmills in the Sky by Coast.

Craving for new sound? Get Windmills in the Sky by Coast.

River is one of the catchiest Celtic rock songs I have heard in ages. There is no comparison because the style is original. Perhaps I would  mention a little bit of Dougie MacLean, Luka Bloom and Simple Minds for reference but I mean when I say that they’re quite unique and captivating. The song (River) starts with a banging of (alsmost gated) drums. The chorus “Take me down to the river..’ is so well-written and recorded that it makes me sing along! It is taken from their new album Windmills in the Sky, consisting of ten songs reflecting their Scottish roots but with modern appeal.

COAST Windmills in the Sky cd cover HIGH RES

New album: Windmills in the Sky

There are five people in the band with Paul Eastham ( Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano)
Chris Barnes( Percussion and Vocals), Finlay Wells (Electric & Acoustic Guitars and Vocals)
‘Mop’ Youngson ( Drums) and Dave Williamson (Bass and additional Vocals). Here’s a brief background from their website:

COAST is a world class, UK based professional rockband started by brothers Paul Eastham and Chris Barnes in 2009.

Paul is an outstanding songwriter, vocalist, performer, producer and virtuoso pianist with an extensive industry CV which includes credits and collaborations with some of the most highly regarded international artists, songwriters and producers.
Having spent many of their childhood years on the Island of Benbecula in Scotlands’ Western Isles, the musical work of COAST has a character and style which is shaped and coloured by the dramatic landscapes and cultural aspects of the region.
With two albums, three EPs and many UK, European and Scandanavian festival appearances behind them, COAST continue with what has been a rapid rise to international acclaim with a new album launching in early 2017 followed by extensive touring of their new high energy show.

Their songs touch various topics and one has such historical content like the ballad “1884.” At times, their music approaches a cinematic scope like the soaring and frisky “Old Atlantic Sky.”  Like their Irish cousins Clannad (who ventured into soundtracking), they’re able to come up with a haunting instrumental piece called “You’re So Beautiful To Me.” I think this track will get Celtic music aficionados (like me) to put them in the elite category of the musical culture. They know how to make a grand close with the title track which showcases their propensity for a grand sound.

Windmills in the Sky is now available for purchase through their website. You can also pre-order CD and vinyl versions.

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Lau, So Happy To Be Playing Live in the US (Q & A with Martin Green)

Lau, So Happy To Be Playing Live in the US (Q & A with Martin Green)

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The band members of Lau are in middle of their American tour. You can get the tickets here. Now is your chance to hear their epic recordings getting a live treatment. And if you are lucky enough, you might even get to interview band members. I am so happy to have my questions answered by Martin Green (accordion, wurlitzer, keys, electronics) courtesy of my friend Anita Daly.

1. You are starting  your US tour. Are you excited?
Always exciting to be in America, we have some good friends here and there is such remarkable music to enjoy.

2. Is this your first time performing in the US?
Lau have been in the US several times, but this is the longest tour to date, fantastic to get a chance to explore a bit more.

3. The Bell that Never Rang continues to receive positive reviews. How’s the recording process?
It was an extremely enjoyable process Joan Wasser came over from New York to record with us in Scotland, she has an amazing energy about her as a person and as a musician. We learned a lot from her during the recording.

4. The title track is an epic track that calls to mind British bands like Renaissance and Fairport Convention. What’s the story behind this song?
The Bell that Never Rang is part of the city of Glasgow’s coat of arms. The piece was commissioned by Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. It is a celebration of Glasgow (a place we love very much).

5. What have you learned collaborating with other bands and also maintaining Lau creatively?
Lau is a small band, and has never changed line-up (and never will) and so we find it hugely useful to collaborate with other musicians, it brings new ideas on and helps keep us open to new ways of thinking.

6. What’s your favorite song in the new album?
Death of the dining car, Kris sounds like Paul Simon, and I’m into that.

7. Your message to fans?
It’s great to be over here, hope you can make it out to one of the shows!
Cheers
Martin
My Short But Sweet Interview With Scottish Superstar Eddi Reader

My Short But Sweet Interview With Scottish Superstar Eddi Reader

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I put Eddi Reader up there with the best artists in the world. Artists whose every release is always anticipated and also celebrated. She recently dropped her Best Of album and if you haven’t read my review yet, please check it out.

This little Q&A was arranged by my good friend Anita Daly. I got a kick after discover this in my mailbox. Eddi Reader has taught me that tact and simplicity always yield good results.  $_35

She also shares with us how she is able to maintain that amazing voice! We should all try her techniques if we want to have a singing career.

  1. The Best of presents the evolution of your musical evolution through the years. Was it an arduous process trying to decide what tracks finally make it to the compilation?

I didn’t choose the tracks, it would have been almost impossible.. I never look back musically so although it sounded like the right time to assess and look at the path I have been on, It was best to keep a good distance so that when I listened I could hear it as a new complete experience.  I set aside some time one afternoon and listened afresh to what my Manager Tom Rose chose.

I was very happy with it.

  1. Looking back, have you known all along that you are going to be this influential?

I don’t have any idea that I am.  I do meet people and younger ones who love bits and pieces of what Ive offered up.  But if I have influenced I didn’t mean any harm. haha

  1. What do you miss the most about being with Fairground Attraction?
Being in my twenties with energy of a cheetah!
  1. Your voice is a fascinating instrument. How did you develop that style of singing and how do you maintain the your beautiful voice?
I drink loads of water when I work.  I try to nap if I have no energy.  Sleep repairs muscle and tissue.  I try to remember not to shout too much when I talk.
  1. How’s the book coming along?(Reader is writing a book for publication  about her great-uncle Seamus (or James) Reader).
I will be relieved when it decides its done with me.  I miss it when I’m away from doing it. But it sometimes seems endless.
  1. Your success has influenced young women singer-songwriters to be brave. How do you see the music business today as compared to the time you fronted your first band?
Thank you . I hope that’s somehow true. But I think every human has a love of something and a feeling of purposeful drive.  Nothing can stop anyone expressing themselves musically if that’s what they love to do.
I am not sure what the music biz is doing now. I ignore it as much as possible.  I think the same is true today as it was before my time: Do it with love and light and the joy will be a great reward, the Mercedes will come later.
  1. And finally, your message to your fans?

To anyone who has spent time listening while I sing I want to say thank you so much. xxxxx

The Best of Eddi Reader

The Best of Eddi Reader

The Best of Eddi Reader: Her life,  art and her persistence that is truly Scottish

30 Song career spanning remastered Double CD.
Compiled by Tom Rose. Mastered by Mark Freegard

My introduction to the beautiful voice of Eddi Reader was through the TV program of Jools Holland. I think she was promoting her album  Angels and Electricity. What a gorgeous voice! I started paying attention to her releases.That is why I am gushing all over when I got the chance to review her 2-disk Best of Album. The Best of Eddi Reader takes us to several decades of music- when she shot into international recognition with Fairground Attraction up until her more recent Celtic influenced music. $_35

The album has 30 songs and it is eclectic. You can hear original pinned tunes as well as covers-I love her version of Declan O’Rourke’s Galileo-a song that has been covered by many artists. She closes the collection with Henry Mancini’s Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her voice is bright and clear as sunrise.It is a fine instrument of nuance (delicate as rose petals) and with  heartbreaking intensity that is very Scottish. Her music combines influences from American Rockabilly, fifties standards, traditional Scottish and pop. There is always something for everyone, in this album.

Her gifts extend to acting as well. She played Jolene Jowett, a singer and accordionist, in John Byrne’s Your Cheatin’ Heart,a comedy-drama series for BBC Television, set in the country music scene in Scotland. In 2009, she performed in period-drama Me and Orson Welles, and starring Zac Efron,  and Claire Danes, performing a song in a style of 50s standard.

She is also a prominent advocate of the Yes Scotland movement. In fact, Reader is writing a book f(or publication in 2016) about her great-uncle Seamus Reader, who was head of the Scottish Brigade of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, when the Irish War of Independence broke out in 1919, later becoming a founder of the abortive Scottish Republican Army, which attempted to replicate the Irish struggle in Scotland between the wars.

The Best of Eddi Reader is a closer look at her interesting musical career and which makes her a fascinating Scottish treasure. Call her feisty or amazing-she’s got it all covered, being able to maintain a multi-faceted career which continues to enchant listeners and will continue to do so.

Tracklisting:

CD 1

  1. Find My Love
  2. Perfect
  3. Whispers
  4. Patience of Angels
  5. Dear John
  6. What You Do With What You’ve Got
  7. Kiteflyers Hill
  8. Wings On My Heels
  9. Muddy Water
  10. Leezie Lindsay
  11. My Love Is LIke A Red Red Rose
  12. Wild Mountainside
  13. Love Is The Way
  14. Roses
  15. Baby’s Boat
  16. Vagabond

 

CD 2

  1. My Old Friend The Blues
  2. Dolphins
  3. Hummingbird
  4. Semi Precious
  5. The Girl Who Fell In Love With The Moon
  6. Galileo
  7. Willie Stewart
  8. Ae Fond Kiss
  9. New York City
  10. Dragonflies
  11. Follow My Tears
  12. Snowflakes In The Sun
  13. Love Is A Losing Game
  14. Moon River

You can buy the album here: http://www.eddireader.co.uk/music/the-best-of

Thanks to Daly Communications.

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Wow it’s really 2016. More exciting things happening in music. There many bands lining up to be featured, and so many tunes to be savoured. Yes you will hear then soon. I just keep them in my ‘drafts’ section and I am not revealing yet as I want to keep the suspense 😉

So for starters let me wish everyone a great new year and the best in 2016. Here are the picks of the day :

 

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

I am enjoying the new album of Caitlin Grey called The Promise. One thing I noticed upon playing this album for the first time is her beautiful and supple voice. It has the ease of a folk singer and the refined muscle of a classically trained vocalist. She uses these influences seamlessly in this new album, consisting of twelve songs.There are original songs as well as interpretation of traditional materials. I love her rendition of She Moved Through The Fair because of its melodic simplicity and emotional power. a1763992850_16

The title track is something that will please fans of Clannad, Loreena McKennitt and Anuna or even Secret Garden. Her arrangements are also spot on. I love the drumming on this one because it sounds almost like a pop ballad. But then again we know that with Ms Grey, every song can be a magical journey between classical and folk.

Her approach to singing tells you  this is how to sing these songs. Yes, especially these kinds of songs because it takes a special artist to pull this off. Because in the hands(or throat) of an ordinary singer, they will sound weird. These songs choose a singer and that singer is Caitlin Grey. I love it when she harmonises in some songs.They sound whispery, airy and crystal clear. I love the style of Innisfrie because I love movie soundtracks. Ailein Duinn is haunting  especially with the harp. An original from Scottish group Capercaillie for the movie Rob Roy. I love her singing in Scottish Gaelic. She maintained the beauty of the original but added her own unique style.

I love ballads that build up gradually. And this is the style that is present in most of the songs in The Promise. Black is the Color is another personal favourite. She sings that sense of loss where words fail.

In My Awakening, I like that part of the chorus where she sings the line “..When all my life fades away in tomorrow..” deeply moving! In Anam Cara, her voice is a powerful instrument that can transport us to anywhere in the world where she wants to take us. Call of the Clans closes this wonderful album with an arrangement that can rival any operatic aria. Listen to the latin chants at the end of the song. If that does not conjure something in you, then you are not human.

The Promise is a work of magnificent sound craftsmanship and artistic maturity. Looking forward to her third album!

I love Skipinnish!

I love Skipinnish!

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Randomness is beautiful. I stumbled upon this group while looking for a Science documentary on YouTube mobile. They appeared on my feed. The name itself is interesting. Skipinnish. I was sure it’s Scottish. I watched Walking in Waves featuring a woman with red hair throwing bottles in the ocean. These bottles contain messages. With a great surprise at the end of the video. Ok, I was impressed

Then I watched December which is their latest single. And that’s it. I became a fan. The music is haunting, beautiful and unforgettable.

Current line-up consists of:
Angus MacPhail: Accordion, Vocals
Andrew Stevenson: Highland Bagpipes, Small Pipes, Whistles, Fiddle.
Robert Robertson: Lead Singer, Guitar
Ross Wilson: Piano, Bass
Alasdair Murray: Drums, Highland Bagpipes

Regular Guest Musicians Also Include:
Archie McAllister: Fiddle
Duncan Nicholson: Small Pipes, Bagpipes, Whistles

Trine: They are now playing

Trine: They are now playing

You think Celtic music is rare in Asia? That may change soon as Filipino group Trine play music that could only come from Ireland, Scotland and Bretagne. They are playing music all over the Philippines and of you are a tourist in need of some Jazz spliced with Traditional music then look for them.

Now, all they need are regular YouTube video posts, a blog page and music site where fans can hear and share music!

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