Gatehouse announce their second album

Gatehouse

“It is said that music lifts the spirit and this is so true on Gatehouse’s new album Heather Down The Moor. Garnering their repertoire from the North Connaught tradition, all the tracks are finely paced with the lovely choice of traditional songs in both English and in Gaelic, as in the title track; ‘Heather Down The Moor’, or the wonderful Connemara Sean-Nós song ‘Seán Bán’, interspersed with uplifting flings, hop jigs, a few reel selections, double jigs and barndances, all complimenting one another, making the whole recording a joy to listen to.  The arrangements are sophisticated, but not overdone, which proves how good taste strengthens and enhances the tradition, when done well.” So says Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh about the latest release by Roscommon based traditional group Gatehouse.

Since the release of their critically acclaimed solo album Tús Nua in 2016, the band has gone from strength to strength. Receiving a rare 5-star review from The Irish Times – the album was described as “an unerring gem” and “in that elusive ‘must have’ category for years to come”. Internationally famous fiddler Martin Hayes stated that Tús Nua was “beautifully arranged and recorded. Everything happening here is authentic.”

On this, their second record, Gatehouse have presented more intricate arrangements and augmented their attention to detail whilst supplementing their core sound with additional instruments, layers and colours, all adroitly guided by the hand of co-producer Dónal O’Connor. They have assembled some of Ireland’s finest musicians: John Joe Kelly on Bodhrán, Alan Kelly on Piano Accordion, Michael McCague on bouzouki and Conor & Paddy McEvoy on Fiddle & Piano. The band’s members John and Jacinta McEvoy, Rachel Garvey and John Wynne are steeped in traditional music and it’s no surprise that they are sought after to teach and mentor younger musicians at various Summer schools all over the country. The Wynne/McEvoy partnership goes back a long while. “Myself and John McEvoy really enjoy playing together and have performed at many festivals and events over the years,” says John Wynne. “In the last couple of years we thought about expanding and developing our sound so we decided to put the group together. We didn’t have to look too far because in addition to myself and John, we had John’s wife Jacinta on guitar and concertina.” When it came to a singer for the group, John McEvoy says: “We asked a young singer called Rachel Garvey to join us. She is also from Roscommon and is an All-Ireland winner in both Irish and English songs”.

The album features new tune compositions from the band’s fiddler, John McEvoy which were created especially for this record. With the tune arrangements the band wished to create an ‘on the edge’ feel hence the new tune title ‘On The Edge’. “John’s compositions give us a unique sound and by osmosis, they seem to fit in the musical style of north Connacht” Jacinta explains. “There’s a great lift, flow and rhythm to the music of Roscommon. There is great joy and heart in the musical style, I think.” Rachel adds “We chose some English and Scottish folk songs like ‘Heather Down The Moor’, ‘The Cocks Are Crowing’ and ‘The Death Of Queen Jane’ as well as going back to the roots and the source of the singing tradition with the Connemara Sean-Nós songs ‘Mo Cheallaichín Fionn’ and ‘Seán Bhán’. With the Sean-Nós songs we really worked on presenting them in a new and fresh melodic way”.

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‘Heather Down The Moor’:

Eddi Reader: new EP

Back The DogsEddi Reader releases a new five song EP Back The Dogs on November 3rd. Featuring four well chosen covers alongside Back The Dogs from her highly acclaimed 2014 album Vagabond (Reveal Records).

Recorded by Mark Freegard in Glasgow, Juxtaposed With U (Super Furry Animals) and Love Is A Losing Game (Amy Winehouse) feature Eddi singing and producing accompanied by Scottish songwriter (and husband) John Douglas of Trashcan Sinatras.

“One of the great voices in British music” Acoustic magazine

Also included on the new release are emotive versions of the Evans/Livingston standard Mona Lisa and Moon River (the latter produced by Boo Hewerdine and featuring Eddi with full orchestra). Moon River has played a central part in her concerts over the last couple of years. It recently became a huge hit with audiences attending this years Vagabond concerts when Eddi extended the piece to include stories of her musical childhood experiences at family parties in Glasgow tenement flats.

Eddi Reader will take to the road in October for the final shows of her 2014 Vagabond tour (see dates below) joined by her incredible band which includes Irish accordionist Alan Kelly, John Douglas (guitar and vocals), Kevin McGuire (bass) and English songwriter / guitarist Boo Hewerdine.

2014 has been another successful year for Eddi Reader with many high profile concerts and appearances for national radio and television including Jools Holland, Cambridge Folk Festival 50th Anniversary, Question Time, Terry Wogan and Andrew Marr Shows. Her music was also used in the closing credits for this summers Glasgow Commonwealth Games. An interview by Neil McCormick for the Vintage TV channel airs in September online.

MOJO **** R2 ***** Record Collector ****  The Herald ****

Irish Times Album of the Week **** Folk Radio UK Album of the Month

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EDDI READER – Vagabond (Reveal REVEAL022CDX)

VagabondYour first thought is “what a lot of fun Eddi and her compatriots had making this album”. The second is “what a remarkable album they made”.

There is a huge range of songs and styles here from the thirties jazz-swing of the opener, ‘I’ll Never Be The Same’, to the autobiographical ‘Midnight In Paris 1979’ and the rather hard-nosed sentimentality of Michael Marra’s ‘Macushla’. It’s a tribute to the assembled musicians – such names as John McCusker, Phil Cunningham, Boo Hewedine and Donald Shaw will give you a clue as to their credentials – that such a collection of songs flows and blends so well. Roy Dodds and Ewen Vernal obviously moonlight in a jazz club somewhere and Alan Kelly’s accordion melds with their drums and bass to evoke metropolitan France or somewhere off-off-Broadway and provide the principal feel of much of the record.

‘Back The Dogs (Dancing Down Rock)’ is a delightfully off-the-wall piece based on stories Eddi’s grandmother told her about life in Tralee. It’s interspersed with recorded snippets of the old lady and is as vivid a depiction of the old days in Ireland as you could wish to hear. Two traditional songs, ‘Buain Ná Rainich’ and ‘In Ma Ain Country’ provide a diversion from the “modern” pieces but the record is probably summed up by a line from the last track, Hewerdine’s ‘It’s Beautiful Night’: ‘A moment out of time’. I love this record.

Dai Jeffries

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