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Their songs touch various topics and one has such historical content like the ballad “1884.”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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Listen to the Delightful Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s song) by Caitlin Grey

Listen to the Delightful Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s song) by Caitlin Grey

I got goosebumps listening to this beautiful song by Caitlyn Grey. You just know based on the first few notes that the song works. And this one touches on many things. I think it has a personal meaning to me because of things that I experienced. And we all have struggles great and small. We always need help to be strong. This is the central theme of the song. According to Ms Grey:

 I’ve recorded my version of Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant & Chris Eaton. It’s been released in association with the UK charity Music in Hospitals  http://www.musicinhospitals.org.uk/ and it’s available on their website and also on mine at the moment. It’s essentially about Mary’s struggle with the enormity of the task ahead. 
Caitlin Grey recently released a beautiful and haunting album titled The Promise. If you haven’t gotten your own copy yet, please have a listen because I am sure this album will delight you:

Download link: https://caitlingrey.bandcamp.com

And we will continue to think of Mary and the many more undergoing the same situation in this holiday season.

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‘The Space Between’ is Jamie Smith’s Mabon’s upcoming album.

‘The Space Between’ is Jamie Smith’s Mabon’s upcoming album.

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The Welsh Celtic supergroup Jaime Smith’s Mabon are releasing a new album called The Space Between through crowdfunder UK. Crowdfunding is the trend these days as more and more artists are finding that their fans can make it possible. And why not? Jamie Smith’s Mabon released a highly acclaimed Windblown 2012 and I LOVE my autographed copy of the CD. Their debut single is ‘Yr Ennyd’ which you can hear today if you go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radiocymru

I think this single will be as fantastic as their fan favorite Caru Pum Merch. They have proven that the Welsh language holds a mystical magnetism that attracts people in all parts of the globe.

They have excellent musical style! You’ll know right away it’s them.

You can learn more about their album by visiting this link: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/TheSpaceBetween

This is their latest video recorded during the latest Lowender Peran 2015. 

‘When Music Speaks’ by Ranagri as Part of National Charity, Music in Hospitals

‘When Music Speaks’ by Ranagri as Part of National Charity, Music in Hospitals

https://www.facebook.com/RanagriMusic?fref=photo

I am one of the staunch supporters of the belief that music heals the soul. I think as we help people recover physically, it is also important to look after their emotional and mental recovery. I am delighted to know that one of the bands I covered in the past is part of this charity project. The music of Ranagri is a fusion of traditional Celtic, World, Jazz and Classical music. The energy is irresistible which fills you with joy and makes you want to dance. Here’s the statement from the group about ‘When Music Speaks.’

We are very proud to be associated with this project for the great national charity Music in Hospitals (est 1948). ‘When Music Speaks’ will be released on May 10th for Mental Health Foundation awareness week. 100% of the proceeds from this song will go to MIH enabling fantastic free concerts in a variety of health care establishments. Please support them by pre ordering ‘When Music Speaks’ here https://itunes.apple.com/…/when-music-speaks-si…/id977780090

Christmas Cheers! We are Warming Up.

Christmas Cheers! We are Warming Up.

So many tunes, to little time. It’s always like that year after year. But I got a few of these goodies from the artists I’ve interacted in the last few weeks so I am bringing you their Christmas musical efforts. They are all great to hear and the tunes will add warmth to this month of reflection and joy.

Listen to this beautiful instrumental track from Dee McIlroy. By the way if you haven’t known yet, he runs a venture called McIlroy Guitars. Beautiful acoustic guitars for musicians of fine taste.

Happy Christmas from McIlroy Guitars with this piece of acoustic guitar music, written by Dee McIlroy.

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Corpus Christi Carol

One of the track I play ever year from my dear friend Paula. She is primarily an electronic singer/composer but once in a while she dabbles with other types of music and is also a huge supporter of Celtic music. She made the Cara Dillon interview possible early this year. You can hear her voice and instruments in this tune called Corpus Christi Carol. She is also a history teacher.

Background(written by Paula):

This is referred to as a carol although it contains no reference to the Nativity….the predominant interpretation of the lyrics (below), which were found in a manuscript c.1504, is that they refer to Arthurian legend / holy grail quest.
The track was recorded with this historical interpretation in mind and the theme is reflected in the slideshow paintings. The melody is a traditional melody,not the Benjamin Britten arrangement.

Please see the link for further info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_C…

Lulley, lully, lulley, lully,
The faucon hath born my mak away.

He bare hym up, he bare hym down,
He bare hym into an orchard brown.

In that orchard ther was an hall,
That was hanged with purpill and pall.

And in that hall ther was a bede,
Hit was hangid with gold so rede.

And yn that bed ther lythe a knyght,
His wowndes bledyng day and nyght.

By that bedes side ther kneleth a may,
And she wepeth both nyght and day.

And by that bedes side ther stondith a ston,
“Corpus Christi” wretyn theron.

Glossary:
faucon: falcon
mak: mate, love
bare: bore, carried
purpill: purple (the royal color)
pall: a funeral pall, a cloth spread over a coffin
bede: bed
rede: red
lythe: lieth, lies
wowndes: wounds
bledyng: bleeding
kneleth: kneeleth, kneels
may: maid, maiden
wepeth: weepeth, weeps
stondith: standeth, stands
ston: stone
Corpus Christi: body of Christ (Latin)
wretyn: written

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In the trail of her shows all over the United States, it is always important to remember that Moya Brennan will always be the first lady of Celtic music. 

I will be bringing you more tunes in days to come.

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Upcoming: 2 albums from Allison Crowe!

I will be reviewing her two albums. I enjoyed her Newfoundland Vinyl(vol.1) and now she has released two goodies. Watch out for these peeps.

The Winter Mountain 2014 UK Tour Interview.

The Winter Mountain 2014 UK Tour Interview.

The outstanding debut ALBUM “Winter Mountain” available NOW on iTunes, Amazon etc.
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/win…

https://www.wintermountain.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/wintermountain
https://twitter.com/winter_mountain
https://twitter.com/CharcoalRecords

Please sign up to their mailing list

filmed in April 2013.
Directed by Jack Liley – http://www.weareseallegs.com
Edited by Duncan Rice – http://www.blood-bank.co.uk
All copyrights for video and audio belong to Charcoal Records 2013

Winter Mountain (Joseph Francis and Martin Smyth) are a folk duo that incorporate a wide gamut of musical influences. It is hard to pigeonhole their style or their alliance to one specific sub-genre. But one thing remains: they are here to deliver high quality music for discriminating ears like you and me.

If you want to read about their interesting history, check this page: https://www.facebook.com/wintermountain/info

Below is the interview with Winter Mountain. Big thanks to my friend Paula who talked to the artists after the Cara Dillon concert she attended with our Gilly.

  1. On the scale of 1 to 10, how’s the UK tour going in terms of the excitement.

It’s extremely exciting. We are loving the opportunity to get out there and play our original music. It’s an honour.

  1. Your new album is out in different formats including CD which I love! How’s the experience recording the tracks.

    Winter Mountain concert. Photo by Paula.

    Winter Mountain concert. Photo by Paula.

Recording is perhaps the most rewarding of all the different components that make up a life in music. You get to witness a song you’ve written at home with an acoustic guitar grow into this enormous sonic piece of art. We recorded at some legendary Studios. Also, we were lucky enough to meet a couple of our heroes whilst recording the album. Robbie McIntosh of the Pretenders, Paul McCartney and John Mayer came and played slide guitar on a few tracks. We were honoured!

  1. Can you cite memorable experiences touring with Cara Dillon?

Touring with Cara is an amazing experience because she has one of the most beautiful voices in the world, and that’s no exaggeration. Between her, her husband/keyboard player/producer Sam Lakeman and her band there is so much that we can learn. Just being able to spend time talking and playing with musicians of that experience and calibre is an honour.

  1. Do you like meeting fans and hearing what they have to say about your music and why do you think it is important?

It’s great to hear from fans. There’s nothing better than hearing about how one of the songs you’ve written may have affected that persons life.

  1. I have many favorites including She a Little Light and Tell me. What pushed the move for both of you to release an album?

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    Onstage with Cara Dillon and crew. Photo by Paula.

We wanted to spread our creative wings. We had recorded an EP which was going down well and we felt like we had more to offer. The album is in a fairly eclectic mix of styles and with both really pleased that we managed to draw on a lot of our individual different musical influences. There simply wasn’t room for that on the EP.

  1. Can you site your musical influences?

Where to begin?! Simon and Garfunkel, the Everly Bros, the Beatles, The Police, Ryan Adams, Cat Stevens, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor… We could go on and on and on!

  1. What can we expect from Winter Mountain this year?

Touring, touring, touring! We have a full UK tour coming up in November and loads more dates in 2015 to come!

  1. Are you planning to work on another album next year?

We are writing all the time so there will probably be an album in 2015. We have so many live commitments currently that it’s difficult to find time to get in the studio!

  1. Message to your listeners?

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    So proud of the postcard and CD. Thanks to Paula for making these possible.

Thanks to everyone for listening, thanks to everyone who came to our recent shows and to everyone who supported us in any way over the last few years. We hope to see you out on the road again on our November/December 2014 tour of the UK.

Know more about the Winter Mountain Autumn tour here:http://www.wintermountain.co.uk/

Kinfolk: The Story Behind the Album (Interview)

 Also in this edition: Janet M. Christel and Maeve Mackinnon

 Brian McDaid explains how Irish music shaped both their styles and also the new album they are working on.

I was interacting with Gerry Power before this interview started. Brian McDaid arrived a week ago for a few gigs. Gerry decided to hand the questions to Brian and he took the honor to answer in behalf of them. I think this is a nice turn since I am curious as to what Brian thinks about their musical career.

This whole thing started because I love the work they put out in the Kinfolk album This Land. I think that as a music lover, the satisfaction doesn’t end in hearing the entire album. One needs to KNOW the process behind and the inspiration plus perspiration that gave way to a beautiful album.

So to quench your curiosity if you are one of those who bought This Land, then this is it! Enjoy.

It’s been years since the release of Kinfolk which is in impressive album wrapped in both traditional and modern beauty. When will we hear another album from you and Brian?

We are currently working on a new album and hope to have it completed by early next year.

I noticed that a lot of Irish artists who are based in the UK getting more visibility in the scene these days. How is the state of Irish music in Britain?

Irish music has been pretty strong in the UK for a number of years. However with the resurgence in popularity of the general folk scene in the UK, with bands such as Mumford and Sons, Irish Music has also benefitted and is attracting more and more young people to listen to and appreciate this genre of music.

Can you name the 5 albums that changed your life and made you love being in the music industry?

Pretty difficult. I have been influenced by numerous types of music, but as a youngster, if I was to name any album which really made a difference it would be ‘Harvest’ by Neil Young. Other influences include James Taylor, America, The Eagles, [which readily explains our use of harmonies!], Steely Dan and Led Zeppelin. Pretty wide and diverse really.  However as a young boy and having Irish parents our house was always resounding to the sounds of Irish and folk music and I particularly remember the songs of the Clancy Brothers and the sounds of Planxty. Also being a Glasgow Celtic football fan and with their Irish traditions, many Irish folk songs are sung on a regular basis by the fans. And when you hear 60,000 people singing together it can certainly raise the spirit and influence you!

I love your song Donegal and it is a love letter you wrote for a place. How huge is the influence of County Donegal to your style of making music?

Gerry in studio

Quite simple. This is a song about my Dad who likes many young people from Ireland, left Donegal when he was a young man and came to find work in the UK. As a child I often went on holiday to Buncrana in Donegal visiting relatives. On their retirement my parents were lucky enough to be able to build a house there overlooking Lough Swilly which all the family still visit on a regular basis and the view from the house is what influenced ‘Wonderful Day’ on the Kinfolk Album. So in answer to your question County Donegal has obviously influenced my song writing!

 I know that Bound for New York City strikes a universal chord to the Irish diaspora. What sparked the idea of writing this track?

This is a song which came about while we were recording ‘This Land’. We had been working in the studio all day and were trying to find a middle eight for one of the tracks [I can’t remember now which one]. It was about 11 o’clock at night and we were obviously in the ‘zone’ and between us we came up with the idea and had most of it recorded within 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes it just seems to happen like that and sometimes it can take forever!

From the time you both worked on this project, what do you think has changed?

We feel our songwriting has developed and we have grown as musicians as a consequence of playing with various bands and playing a variety of styles. We hope to show this on the new album while still maintaining our strong Celtic influence.

 If given a chance to collaborate with other artists what are the names that you both would like to work with?

Brian in studio

There are a lot of great song writers that the both of us admire. As far as Gerry is concerned he would like to to work with Steely Dan for their gorgeous harmonies and groove, Mark Knopfler for his tasteful country folk playing and Paul Brady, a long standing hero of Gerry’s, who has written some of the best songs he has heard. As far as I am concerned I must agree with what he says about Steely Dan and  someone who I particularly admire as a songwriter is Christy Moore. His songs tend to have a great ‘mood’ and I could learn a lot from his use of lyrics. However what I would like to do is spend more time with a good instrumentalist, fiddle player or accordionist, and explore and mix some of my more contemporary ideas together with the traditional. The idea would be to create something a bit more individual.

How do you two work on a song? What’s the collaborative process?

We have no set process. Sometimes one of us will present a complete song. The both of us will then work on it and ‘tweak’ it to give it the distinct ‘Kinfolk’ sound. Sometimes one of us has the initial idea lyrically or it may be a sequence of chords or a riff that starts the ball rolling. Other times one of us comes up with a chorus and we take it from there. We have actually written the ideas for a song over a pint in the pub – amazing how creative you can be after a couple of drinks!

There you have it. Another interesting moment with a musician and getting to know the process behind the song. Watch out for their upcoming album that will be out, hopefully early next year. Now that it’s done I will give This Land another spin and get lost among the beautiful tracks.

Buy the album here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kinfolksongs

You can also listen to their tracks here: http://www.myspace.com/kinfolksongs

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Exquisite vocal siren Janet M. Christel

Photo: MK-Fotografie — at 37. Bardentreffen.

I miss vocal music! This is really refreshing. The voice and accent of Janet M. Christel are things that make her singing really distinctive. The arrangements are striking. Her music is a delectable bar of dark chocolate wrapped in soft caramel hazel nut core. Listen listen listen!

http://www.janetmchristel.com

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Maeve Mackinnon Her Music is like a Force of Nature.

Ok I got goosebumps listening to the style of Maeve Mackinnon. The music haunts you. Like the swaying tree amidst the howling wind, her voice is a spiritual force that can rattle the walls of your soul and open the sky of rain. This is the kind of music that draws me and it is hard to say no…to such music as Maeve Mackinnon’s. Her music page says: 1st October 2012 sees the release of “Once Upon an Olive Branch”, the second album from acclaimed contemporary Gaelic singer Maeve Mackinnon.

http://www.maevemackinnon.com
http://twitter.com/maevemackinnon

Kinfolk: Catchy Folk/Celtic Songs.

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Kinfolk: Beautiful songs distilled by grace and beauty.

After a period of hermitage, I finally went out with friends for a cuppa iced creamy coffee. It was raining! It took me a while to get adjusted to the commotion. It was a fun afternoon. I picked up groceries on my way home and now I am here in front of the computer. I am listening to Kinfolk. They are a duo based in the UK.

You know, energetic and catchy songs will always win. All the samples I heard off their myspace page are all exceptional. I passed this link to my friend Jimmy and he agreed. They make amazing music. A new album is out soon. When I get a copy, I will do a track by track review.

I recommend their song Donegal as the most catchy and fun of all the tracks yet  It sounds unfair to say that one song is better than the rest. Their songwriting styles are what I would call as distilled.  It is like watching images from your wineglass.  By the time I reached the song Thingamajig, these  guys already won me over. Vocally and instrumentally they are excellent.

I want to say big thanks to Gerry Power for stepping forward to bring the good tune.

http://www.myspace.com/kinfolksongs