PROSECCO SOCIALIST – Songs From Behind Bars (Gypsy Chicken Box Records)

Songs From Behind BarsProsecco Socialist emerged late last year with a brilliant single, ‘This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life)’. It’s the second track here and not really about dogs although perhaps it is about Christmas a la mode but, like most of the Songs From Behind Bars it’s about people.

The band was founded by The Beautiful South’s Dave Rotheray with long-time collaborator Eleanor McEvoy and Mike Greaves who brings his country vibe to the trio. Dave and Eleanor are both clever songwriters with a sharp wit and are a perfect pairing. Dave’s voice is rough and gravely while Eleanor can lay on her accent when cynicism is required. The opening track is ‘The Man Who Faked His Own Life’ by Rotheray and Greaves and it’s not the only song here to leave you with more questions than answers. It’s a fine description of the man, or rather his fake persona, and we can’t know him any more than the writers can.

‘Flowers On The Stream’ is written by Dave, Eleanor and Rod Clements and is a bitter-sweet rocker that first emerged nearly ten years ago but this is the perfect vehicle for it. ‘That’s Just For The Tourists’ is one of two Rotheray/McEvoy compositions. It first appeared on I’d Rather Go Blonde and the other is ‘The Night May Still Be Young (But I Am Not)’ which comes from Love Must Be Tough. Fine songs, both of them.

It may be a cliché to say that a record doesn’t have a single poor track but here it’s true. Of the songs I haven’t heard before ‘Tijuana Nights’, ‘City Of Culture’ (surely not about Hull), ‘Silver Pennies’ and ‘Queen Of The Afternoon’ are already settling into a corner of my brain and, although this may be a coincidence, I really fancy a gin-and-tonic right now.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: https://www.facebook.com/proseccosocialist/

‘This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life):

Prosecco Socialist – new band, new Christmas single

Prosecco Socialist

‘This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life)’ is an attempt to truthfully answer the old John Lennon rhetorical question “and so this is Christmas, and what have we done?”.

The track reflects what David describes as “real Christmas”. It’s an existential Christmas song about living in the moment, where “the moment” is an endless stream of pubs and short-term assignations. Not that pubs or short-term assignations are a bad thing, (of course) they just don’t feature heavily enough in the Christmas repertoire for David Rotheray’s taste.

It’s also the first single from Prosecco Socialist, the new project from ex-Beautiful South’s David Rotheray. Released on December 8th, it precedes the upcoming album Songs From Behind Bars, due for release early next year on Gypsy Chicken Box Records.

Retiring from music four years ago, David didn’t see himself ever picking up a guitar again. However, idleness was not a comfortable state and, in 2016, he opened a pub in Hull (The People’s Republic). The stories and tales shared by the locals proved too rich a mine for such a narrative, observational songwriter to ignore, and so Songs From Behind Bars was born.

David has brought together two of his favourite musicians for this project. Irish singer and songwriter Eleanor McEvoy, a long-term friend and collaborator of David’s, shares vocal duties with a Hull living legend, Mike Greaves. Mike is described by David as “a wonderful singer and writer in the country idiom, loved across Hull for decades but mostly unknown anywhere else. I hope this project might serve, in a small way, to help his voice – both literal and metaphorical – to be more widely heard.”

Eleanor also said of Mike, “This is my first time working with Mike. His voice is wonderfully lived in, it has a gravelly texture to it and is compellingly louche. When we recorded the vocal of ‘This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life)’, it just had a certain down, but not quite out, earthiness.”

If you would like to download it then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: https://www.facebook.com/proseccosocialist/

‘This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life) – official video:

ELEANOR McEVOY – The Thomas Moore Project (Moscodisc MOSCD4015)

Thomas MooreWell, you certainly can’t accuse Eleanor McEvoy of being predictable when it comes to releasing albums. Over the past six years she’s done stripped down solo (Alone), bluesy (If You Leave), a collection of fan-requested rarities (Stuff) and studio recordings of songs played as in a live show (Naked). Now, for her 14th album she’s recorded a collection of her arrangements of songs and poems by the Dublin-born 18th/10th century poet, singer, entertainer and songwriter Thomas Moore who, along with John Murray, was responsible for burning Byron’s memoirs after his death.

Although regarded as Ireland’s answer to Robert Burns, and with poems having been set to music by the likes of Schubert and Britten as well as referenced by James Joyce, his work is probably less popularly well known to contemporary audiences not of Irish heritage, so the album serves as both homage and introduction.

One of his best known songs is ‘Oft In The Stilly Night’, a song about memory quoted by Joyce in Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man and recorded by, among many, Sarah Brightman and John McCormack, and it’s this that opens the album, giving it a tumbling, pop-folk melody etched out with piano, Hammond and electric guitar. Another much adapted and covered lyrics is ‘The Last Rose of Summer’, with recordings by Clannad, Charlotte Church, James Galway. Indeed Beethoven used it twice, although McEvoy’s arrangement is somewhat different, the jaunty glockenspiel, ukulele and trombone belying its meditation on mortality.

‘Come Send Round The Wine’ is a celebration of good company and good drink, and not allowing differing opinions get in the way of a good night, and, featuring piccolo trumpet, Hammond and even maracas and flamenco clapping, is suitably endorsed here. The theme of good company further extends to ‘Though Humble The Banquet’, Damon Butcher’s Hammond and Eamonn Nolan’s flugelhorn giving it a late night jazzy vibe.

Lyrically rather less upbeat, ‘At The Mid Hour of Night’ takes the form of a one sided conversation with a loved one who has recently passed, McEvoy’s musical box arrangement for piano and strings resonating with the fact all five of Moore’s children died in his lifetime. An Irish patriotic song, ‘The Minstrel Boy’ is another popular work concerning a warrior harpist, often played at the funerals of American police and fire department officers, McEvoy eschewing the usual military snare arrangement with the rousing finale interpolating the crowd vocals of “The Minstrel Rabble” (among then Ronan Kelly, author of The Bard of Erin) before a flugelhorn last post.

The Rabble return for Moore’s song of enduring true love, ‘Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms’ and, while you might not recognise the title, those familiar with Warner Brothers cartoons, usually starring Bugs Bunny, featuring a keyboard rigged to explode at a certain note will know the glockenspiel tinkled slow march melody. You’ll be pleased to learn McEvoy makes it through unscathed.

Arranged for moody Rhodes and spare jazzy piano and flugelhorn, ‘The Song of Fionnuala (Silent Oh Moyle)’ is based on the Irish legend of the Children of Lir, whose wicked stepmother turned them into swans, spending 900 years on the Sea of Moyle before returning home and having the spell broken by St. Patrick (only to die soon after, being 900 years old). Butcher’s minimal piano underpins Erin, ‘The Tear And The Smile In Thine Eyes’, is themed about the contradictory entwined aspects of the Irish persona as echoed in the mournful, reflective flugelhorn and McEvoy’s dreamy violin solo.

At just over a minute, ‘Oh! Breathe Not His Name’ is the album’s shortest track, its title inspired by the words of Irish revel Robert Emmet, a close friend of Moore’s regarding his epitaph, shortly before his execution, sung here with just an itchy percussive backing of matchbox, congas triangle and woodblock.

The Minstrel Rabble return (as drunken crowd) for the final number, a rousing romping reel on the back of ringing guitars, shuffling snare beat, tambourine, Hammond and bass through ‘The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls’, a deftly ambiguous lyrics about Irish nationalism (Tara being the hilltop castle home to the Irish high kings, here symbolising Irish rule and the harp its people’s culture and spirit) but also the fleeting nature of fame. Though, for Moore, with the likes of McEvoy’s fine album keeping the flame burning, not that fleeting after all.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: www.eleanormcevoy.com

The Thomas Moore Project launch event:

ELEANOR MCEVOY – Naked Music (Moscodisc MOSCD4014)

Naked MusicIts title derived from the recording process, an exposed intimacy designed to capture the one voice, one instrument, feel of her one woman shows, McEvoy’s 13th studio album features four exclusive artworks by celebrated painter Chris Gollon, themselves created in response to the songs and the album concept, who is, in turn, launching a new exhibition featuring these and other works inspired by the other songs.

These, fourteen in total, are almost all revisits of past recordings, a mix of self-penned, collaborations, one cover and a traditional arrangement, all distinctively highlighting her Dublin accent. Taking the latter two first, the cover is a gentle country jog through Terry Allen’s ‘Lubbock Woman’, McEvoy accompanying herself on acoustic guitar while the traditional takes the form of ‘Oft In The Stilly Night’, sung to a simple repeated electric guitar pattern.

The album opens with a breathy jazzy blues version of the lust/guilt fuelled ‘Wrong So Wrong’ from 2007’s Out There picked out on acoustic guitar, proceeding to 2001 Lloyd Cole co-write ‘Dreaming Of Leaving’ and, again in bluesy vibe, an itchy ‘Deliver Me’ off I’d Rather Go Blonde, tapping out the beat on her guitar. The oldest number, a fingerpicked ‘Whisper A Prayer To The Moon’ harks back to 1996 while both ‘Land In The Water’, co-written with Dave Rotheray and Nat Johnson, and the circling patterned ‘Heaven Help Us’ (an even better version of one of her best songs, though I doubt it fades away in the live performance) both stem from 2013’s If You Leave.

A strummed early Joni-ish rework of ‘Please Heart You’re Killing Me’ gives new life to the 1999 song, but perhaps the most striking number, from a vocal point of view, is ‘The DJ’, the Early Hours number about the companionship of music being given a wholly a capella reading that reminds what a terrific voice she has.

Other journeys into the past see her revisit ‘Look Like Me’, ‘The Thought Of You’ and, with just voice and hollow hand drum percussion, ‘Isn’t It A Little Late?’. It’s all good stuff, but the inclusion of the excellent, bittersweet, electric piano accompanied ‘Half Out Of Habit’ merely serves to underscore the fact that this is the only new material she’s produced since 2013 and, while this time she intentionally set out to make an ‘as live’ project, Naked Music is essentially still a companion piece to 2011’s ‘accidental’ solo collection, Alone. Perhaps it’s time to replenish the wardrobe.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.eleanormcevoy.com/

‘Wrong So Wrong’ – the original version:

Eleanor McEvoy – Naked Music album and exhibition

Naked Music

Released on Friday, 5th February 2016, Naked Music is the title of Irish star Eleanor McEvoy’s new album, recorded alone in the studio to create an intimate collection of her music at its most raw – one instrument, one voice, performed live.

Best known for her songs Sophie and the Irish standard ‘Only A Woman’s Heart’, Eleanor’s new album features exclusive artwork by the famed painter Chris Gollon. The album will be first heard at the sold-out opening of Chris’s Exhibition in Gallery Different in London on the 28th January, 2016.

The seeds for Eleanor and Chris’ artist collaboration were sown after Eleanor bought Chris’ painting ‘Champagne Sheila’ after spotting it in a London gallery. Before leaving, Eleanor left some of her music for Chris and his agent to listen to.

Cut to Norwich in February 2015 and Chris Gollon’s national touring exhibition “Incarnation, Mary and Women from the Bible” in the beautiful Norman Cathedral has just opened with the artist in attendance. Eleanor visits the exhibition, lunches with Chris and David and squeezes them both into her sold-out ‘Alone’ club show at the city’s The Bicycle Shop venue. The outcome: heaps of chat, mutual respect and admiration and a wish to find some way of working together.

Eleanor was, at the time, finishing some recording where she was “studio-performing”, playing hers and others’ songs as she might at her solo shows. The recordings have a very exposed intimacy, so it seemed a possibility that Chris should be asked to do a painting for the cover in this solitary context.

As a body of work, Eleanor’s recordings acquired the name Naked Music, which would give a better focus to the two artists’ desire for mutual expression. Being offered this title, and with some song suggestions, Chris was so taken with the songs he completed four paintings in response –  two on the ‘Naked’ theme, and two others related to song titles and lyrics. The first ‘Dreaming of Leaving’ was written by Eleanor and Lloyd Cole. The other ‘Lubbock Woman’, a downtrodden cameo, is a song by West Texan legend Terry Allen. The paintings were such a hit, that all four talked their way into the Naked Music CD artwork.

The images, the CD artwork, sat in pride of place in the Metropolis Studio and exerted some influence on the mastering and final track order.

Now there is going to be a full Chris Gollon exhibition on the theme of  Naked Music, with his latest series of paintings inspired by all the new album tracks by Eleanor McEvoy, some co-written with Dave Rotheray (from The Beautiful South), Lloyd Cole and Nat Johnson. Visitors can come and experience the new Eleanor McEvoy album and the new Chris Gollon imagery side-by-side.

The exhibition at Gallery Different (in association with IAP Fine Art) will run for three weeks from 25th January, 2016. Having performed at the opening, Eleanor will be touring England and Wales.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.eleanormcevoy.com/

Eleanor McEvoy announces new album

Eleanor McEvoy announces new album

Released on Friday, 5th February 2016, Naked Music is the title of Irish star Eleanor McEvoy’s new album, recorded alone in the studio to create an intimate collection of her music at its most raw – one instrument, one voice, performed live.

Best known for her songs ‘Sophie’ and the Irish standard ‘Only A Woman’s Heart’, Eleanor’s new album features exclusive artwork by the famed painter Chris Gollon. The album will be first heard at the opening of Chris’s Exhibition in Gallery Different in London on the 28th January, 2016.

The seeds for Eleanor and Chris’ artist collaboration were sown after Eleanor bought Chris’ painting Champagne Sheila after spotting it in a London gallery. Before leaving, Eleanor left some of her music for Chris and his agent to listen to.

Cut to Norwich in February 2015 and Chris Gollon’s national touring exhibition “Incarnation, Mary and Women from the Bible” in the beautiful Norman Cathedral has just opened with the artist in attendance. Eleanor visits the exhibition, lunches with Chris and David and squeezes them both into her sold-out Alone club show at the city’s The Bicycle Shop venue. The outcome: heaps of chat, mutual respect and admiration and a wish to find some way of working together.

Eleanor was, at the time, finishing some recording where she was “studio-performing”, playing hers and others’ songs as she might at her solo shows. The recordings have a very exposed intimacy, so it seemed a possibility that Chris should be asked to do a painting for the cover in this solitary context.

As a body of work, Eleanor’s recordings acquired the name Naked Music, which would give a better focus to the two artists’ desire for mutual expression. Being offered this title, and with some song suggestions, Chris was so taken with the songs he completed four paintings in response – two on the “Naked” theme, and two others related to song titles and lyrics. The first ‘Dreaming of Leaving’ was written by Eleanor and Lloyd Cole. The other ‘Lubbock Woman’, a downtrodden cameo, is a song by West Texan legend Terry Allen. The paintings were such a hit, that all four talked their way into the Naked Music CD artwork.

The images, the CD artwork, sat in pride of place in the Metropolis Studio and exerted some influence on the mastering and final track order.

Now there is going to be a full Chris Gollon exhibition on the theme of Naked Music, with his latest series of paintings inspired by all the new album tracks by Eleanor McEvoy, some co-written with Dave Rotheray (from The Beautiful South), Lloyd Cole and Nat Johnson. Visitors can come and experience the new Eleanor McEvoy album and the new Chris Gollon imagery side-by-side.

The exhibition at Gallery Different (in association with IAP Fine Art) will run for three weeks from 25th January, 2016. Having performed at the opening, Eleanor will be touring England and Wales.

Naked Music is officially released on Friday, 5th February 2016

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

“Her voice is clear and potently charged, one hundred percent believable; when her songs are bitter the acid burns your eyes, when they are sad you can taste the tears.”- Sean Laffey, Irish Music Magazine

“McEvoy’s voice has a depth of expression born from living the songs rather than just singing them. It’s a genuine privilege to be on the outside looking in.” – Jackie Hayden, Hot Press

Artist’s website: www.eleanormcevoy.com

‘The Thought Of You’ – the final track on Naked Music: