Dónal is a scion of the Clancy dynasty and really had no choice but to embrace their musical heritage but spent his early life in his native Canada and the USA before finally settling in Waterford where he records in his father’s Liam Clancy Studios. He says that On The Lonesome Plain was recorded “serendipitously” after listening to old vinyl albums and renewing his interest in the guitar.
The album is almost entirely solo except for Ciarán Somers and David Power adding flute, whistle and vocals to ‘Open The Door Softly’. The set is a mixture of songs and instrumentals and contains few surprises but is none the worse for that. There is some rather comforting about unexpectedly coming upon an old song that you haven’t heard in many years, like ‘Drill, Ye Tarriers’. Dónal opens with ‘The Lowlands Of Holland’. He has a rich dark voice, I guess you’d call it baritone but it reaches down into the bass and up to tenor, and this song shows it off to perfection. He follows that with an instrumental set: the traditional ‘The Green Fields Of Canada’ paired with his own ‘Máirseáil Na Conrach’. His other original composition is the song ‘Strike For Victory’, a song commemorating the Easter Rising. There are two tunes by Turlough O’Carolan and three other traditional Irish tunes plus three other songs ranging in tone from ‘Whiskey, You’re The Devil’ to ‘Reynardine’ and ‘Blackwater Side’.
On The Lonesome Plain is an example of making an album, not because your schedule calls for one, but because you’ve been making music for no other reason than the pleasure in doing so and then discovered what you’ve done. Its relaxed feel communicates itself to the listener and that’s one of the things that makes it so good.
Artist’s website: http://donalclancy.com/
‘Drill, Ye Tarriers’ from an old TV show: