Peregreni by Eve Williams:Preview and Thoughts

Peregreni by Eve Williams:Preview and Thoughts

Northern Irish singer-songwriter Eve Williams has carved a musical path that is not for the faint of hearts. It is not easy to just have a beautiful voice and songwriting skills these days. You gotta have grit. And grit is the very thing that pushed the release of her new album Peregreni. The new album has nine songs-a labor of love and took a lot of time to make. Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.05.16 AM

Although Williams did not encounter any writer’s block after the release of Twenty Miles From Home, health issues along with other personal challenges almost drained her creative energy. Yet those challenges did not deter her from finishing these nine songs. You can hear the inner strength in each of them. Even if her lyrics talk of something else, her voice is unmistakably saying, I’ve been through a lot. This is my story.

With her supple Mezzo-soprano, Eve Williams can glide between power ballads and Celtic folk with remarkable ease. Peregreni is a delightful album that showcases her songwriting genius and impeccable power of interpretation.

The album will be released on June 10, 2016. I am so glad to get a preview and I think with Peregreni, Williams has achieved another musical height that is more confident than her previous efforts. The album sees her growth both as a poet and arranger. This is also a work of endless chores in front of the computer (if she is not with her piano)mastering Excel and also Accounting.

Yes, all musicians should be taught accounting and how to use Excel!!! She replied in one of our online conversations about the plight of indie artists.

I get the feeling that Illumination is going to be a single off this album because it has this catchiness that is pure pop, even though the song is grounded on acoustic folk and gospel. Her voice sounds at home with a big bands(complete with strings). But there are also moments when her simple arrangements shine through like the haunting Ailsa Craig. Big voices are a trend these days and I think Eve Williams has this lighthouse effect that will continue to attract travellers from all walks of life.

Peregreni will soon be available here: http://evewilliamsmusic.com/store/cdbaby_store/

Advertisements
My Short But Sweet Interview With Scottish Superstar Eddi Reader

My Short But Sweet Interview With Scottish Superstar Eddi Reader

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 7.43.50 PM

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

Moya Brennan Has A New Single Plus My St Patrick’s Day Podcast.

Moya Brennan Has A New Single Plus My St Patrick’s Day Podcast.

Great news about Moya Brennan! The first lady of Celtic Music(and the voice of Ireland) has just uploaded a new single via iTunes. It is called Erin Gra Mo Chroi (Ireland the Love of My Heart). I love it when she gives emphasis on the Irish Gaelic language in her songs.

Have you heard it already? Let me tell you what I think. Her voice sounds pristine in this song. Like the way she sounded in the early Clannad albums (circa the 70s). It is great to hear such a voice unadorned by technological armour which is so prevalent not just in pop music but also among her musical culture. That is how you sing with confidence! She is joined by the amazing harpist Cormac De Barra.Thank you Moya (and Cormac)for continuing to shower us with your artistic gifts! You can download Erin Gra Mo Chroi  via iTunes: id1092658199

Here’s my latest podcast for those who miss the kind of music I love to listen to:

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

Fiach Moriarty On The Radar

The hardest working artist in Ireland is finally getting his due….

Some of you might ask who Fiach Moriarty is. But for those who are acquainted to the Dublin music scene, Fiach has been known as the hardest working artist in Ireland. He has been in a lot of TV shows and live performances. Also one thing to note is that last year he came first in the annual Celtic Language Contest in Inverness Scotland. So how’s that for a 27-year -old used to be under- the- radar singer? The Irish Times calls his album So I a debut album of depth and courage, guile and wit. I stumbled upon him the first time in YouTube and that’s it. His charisma is undeniably powerful and there is so much positivity in his songs that you can’t help but be uplifted.

This is an interesting performance of a song sang in Gaelic, a love song called Sea Taim at minority language song contest Liet International 2009. Sea Taim is about a young lad who is down and out – and drunk – after his girlfriend left him.

http://www.myspace.com/fiachmusic

***

Caladh Nua 2nd Album Launch

What a terrific, young band. We are going to play a lot of them. We suspect they are going to be around a long time”

American Public Radio

Yes, this wonderful band is making an early announcement for the February 2011 launch of their second album. Be sure to be there. More info here:

http://caladh.net/

***

YAOUANK 2010

YAOUANK 2010: Here’s a video featuring my pal Dom Duff from Brittany!

***

Sacred Art

Courtney Davis inspires Celtic Spirituality

Have you visited his website lately? I think there’s a lot of things there for everyone. I just love the wonderful pieces he created. I have been a fan of Celtic art for years and when I stumble upon something as beautiful as this I like to tweet it out.

http://www.courtneydavisart.com/


National Eisteddfod of Wales Discovery:Esyllt Tudur

National Eisteddfod of Wales attracts up to 160,000 visitors.

The National Eisteddfod has been attracting foreign visitors annually and numbers increased up to 160,000 attendees. It  costs around £2.8m to stage. It is traditionally held in the first week of August and the competitions are all held in the Welsh language. According to Wiki:

The festival has a heavy druidic flavour, with the crowning and chairing ceremonies for the victorious poets being attended by bards in flowing white costumes, dancing maidens, trumpet fanfares and a symbolic horn of plenty. However, the heritage of this ceremony is of dubious provenance and owes its existence within the Eisteddfod structure to Iolo Morganwg, whose Gorsedd ceremonies were adopted by the Eisteddfod from 1819. Nevertheless, it is taken very seriously, and an award of a crown or a chair for poetry is a great honour. The Chairing and Crowning ceremonies are the highlight of the week, and are presided over by the Archdruid.

Pic courtesy of : thenewportship.com

Pic courtesy of : thenewportship.com

The musical aspect of this event is huge and as a result a lot of musicians flock into the annual gathering . This is like a Loollapalooza of Celtic music. Only that we will be expecting poets and other members of the ‘learned’ crowd to be there.

I have been attracted to the singing of Esyllt Tudur . She been a familiar face and voice in this event. I heard her singing Ar Lan y Mor and it stuck with me. The mystical voice coupled with right instrumental arrangement creates an atmosphere of being transported into the age of Merlin. Her debut CD contains some of the music that Esyllt has enjoyed performing over the years, as well as some classical favourites.
1. Ar Lan y Mor
2. Breuddwydio Wnes
3. Gwydr Glas
4. Dyrchefir Fi (You Raise Me Up)
(Gyda Cor Creuddyn)
5. Gobaith yn y Tir
6  Gwn Dafydd Ifan
7. Suo Gan
8. Myfanwy
9. Adre’n Ol
10. Pererin Wyf Mewn Anial Dir
11. Un Dydd ar y Tro
12. Chwarae’n Troi’n Chwerw

http://www.myspace.com/esyllttudur


New Brenda Wootton Album: All of Me

Featuring unreleased tracks from this legendary Cornish singer.


A few months ago I wrote something about Brenda Wootton. Then Gloria from http://www.livingincornwall.com/ told me that they discovered recordings of her just ‘sitting there’ and they decided to remaster it for a release.  I think it’s amazing. I think every one of my readers can relate to this feeling-to uncovered musical treasures lying somewhere. Just imagine the full potential of it. The magic and the fact that it will really sound ‘new’ because no one has heard it before.

The album has finally got its release this November 1. What a good date to release an album from a late singer . And it’s like she’s back to serenade us with her beautiful voice from the other side…just for us – her listeners and those who just stumbled upon her music.

There’s always been something magical about Cornwall. And part of it is due to Brenda Wootton(1928-1994).

Buy the album here:

http://www.brendawootton.com/buynow.html

Celtic Woman’s Lynn Hilary:Makes a Name for Herself

Before her name became an international hit, she released a solo album called Take Me Home. As a former member of Anuna , you won’t be surprise where she got her vocal swirls….Too bad there is a news that Alex Sharpe is leaving the group. How can these women really bond when everyone comes and goes..well except the core members. I still miss Hayley

Tracks:

  1. Melody Of Life
  2. Swimming In The Barrow
  3. Erin Beo
  4. Sunset Of Gold
  5. Carolina Rua
  6. Annie Watches
  7. What Makes The Sunset
  8. Take Me With You
  9. Shona Mara
  10. Slán Le Maigh
  11. Road To Glory
  12. Angel Doves

Traditional; Arranged by Lynn Hilary

O slan is cead, on dtaobh seo uaim
Cois Maigh na gcaor na gcraobh na gcruach
Na stait na sead na soar na slua
Na ndan na dreacht na dtrean gan ghruaim

Och, ochon, is breoite mise
Gan chuid, gan choir, gan choip, gan chiste
Gan sult, gan seod, gan spoirt, gan spoinnadh
O seoladh me chun uaignis

O Slan go heag, do saorfhir shuairc
Da dhaimh, da chleir, de heigs, de sua
Do’m chairde cleibh gan chlaon, gan chluain
Gan chaim, gan chain, gan chraos, gan chruas

Is fanach faon me, is fraochmhar fuar
Is tamhlag traith, is taomach trua
I mbarr an tsleibhe gan aon monuar
I m’ phairt, ach fraoch is gaoth aduaidh

Och, ochon is breoite mise
Gan chuid, gan choir, gan choip, gan chiste
Gan sult, gan seod, gan spoirt, gan spionnadh
O seoladh me chun uaignis

My Tribute to Liam Ó Maonlaí

A lot of people might have identified Liam O’ Maonlai as the lead vocalist/instrumentalist of a popular rock group Hothouse Flowers. I have one of their records. But like any thing that sounds mainstream, something in my chemistry does not totally respond to the sound of the band.  Not that they aren’t Ok, Hothouse Flowers are in fact one of the most influential Irish bands around. The music has been what you would consider as distilled and at par with the likes Traffic, Van Morrison’s, The Boomtown Rats, Chris Isaak’s, Elvis Costello and far better than most British and American bands I have heard. In fact this band deserves a cover in a Rolling Stone magazine. But then again this is Rock and Roll and my musical preference has always been the other way around. Then came the Irish language project in the Irish Independent.

I rushed right away to download this file which was given for free. His speaking voice became a regular thing at home next to the evening news. I realized that like true artists, Liam is a conservationist of the Irish Gaelic language and music. He has a charismatic personality and this is evident in his stage performances. Wild hair and hypnotic gaze, this guy need so little effort to get his message across. Yes most singers are gifted to put audience in a spell, but then again there are few that have the gift of Bardic charisma, which is a stuff that most spiritual leaders possess. And he has all that-aura, personality, voice, talent in so many musical instruments, a talent for painting and amazing intellect.  In fact singing in his native tongue and performing such music makes him a cut above the rest.

Liam is one of those outspoken in the preservation of Tara and has even recorded a song for it. You can listen by visiting: http://www.myspace.com/songfortara. You will really really love this song! Like anyone passionate about anything Irish I encourage everybody to please do our best to save Tara. Spread the word, blog about it, compose music and raise money. With unity we are invincible.

http://www.myspace.com/liamomaonlaimusic

There is this wonderful interview here: http://www.newstalk.ie/programmes/all/therighthook/liam-o-maonlai/ I have it recorded.