Dan Donnelly releases new solo album

Dan Donelly

Dan Donnelly’s 5th studio album Are We Having Fun? is out now.

Released in the U.K. on the Levellers own label OTF Recordings and in Europe on Holland’s Gentlemen Recordings, Are We having Fun? Is an album that has been long awaited.

Dan’s critically acclaimed last album, Country And Northern was released in 2011. Since then Dan has been a full touring member of British Indie rockers The Wonder Stuff and co-wrote their top 40 album “30 Goes Around The Sun.” He has also been collaborating with French super group Celtic Social Club.

Dan grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland and rose to local fame with acoustic live favourites Watercress. He then moved to New York at the turn of the millennium where he learned his solo craft on the folk circuit of Greenwich Village. Since then he has played in over 20 countries worldwide, supporting acts such as John Martyn, Air, Duran Duran, Ian Dury and Bob Geldof.  He is a regular face on the U.K. festival circuit and collaborates with musicians from all over the globe.

Donnelly found success in Ireland with Watercress, a four-piece acoustic folk-rock band. They released six EPs between 1995 and 1998, when they released their one album, Bummer, all on their own local label, Creeping Herb. The Donnelly-penned ‘Candlemaker’ reached the No.1 position on the Irish Indie Chart. Watercress disbanded in early 2001.

After the demise of Watercress, Donnelly moved to New York to pursue a solo career, playing on the folk circuit of Greenwich Village. Whilst there he released two studio albums, Bootleg (2005), and Yearning a Living (2007), which received extensive airtime on BBC Radio, as well as one live album Live in NYC (2008). Donnelly also played as a session musician for several artists, including Joy Zipper, Oysterband and The Levellers.

In 2009 Donnelly returned to the UK to live, and settled in Exeter. In mid-2010 he signed with record label IRL. In October 2010 he released the single ‘Running’, followed by the album ‘Country & Northern’ in May 2011. He then relocated to Stockton in the North East of England. Donnelly is part of the Stockton on Tees pub based male voice choir, Infant Hercules.

Donnelly has toured extensively, performing solo shows and supporting artists such as The Levellers, Oysterband, Seth Lakeman, Damien Dempsey, and Duke Special. He has also performed as part of the live bands of The Levellers, Oysterband and Joy Zipper. His own recording and touring live band, Sonovagun, has included Ali McMordie of Stiff Little Fingers on bass guitar and television composer Roy Harter on keyboards and theremin.

Donnelly has become a favorite act on the UK summer festival circuit, having performed at Glastonbury Festival’s Leftfield stage, Beautiful Days festival, The Big Session, and various festivals throughout Europe.

In May 2014 Dan was announced as the newest member of the alternative rock band The Wonder Stuff. In 2018 Dan has become the lead singer and guitarist for French super group Celtic Social Club After a string of successful European festival performances they are working on an album due for release in 2019.

The album will be preceded by the singles ‘Time of Our Lives’ and ‘I Don’t Care’.

Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/DanDonnellyMusic/

‘Time Of Our Lives’:


The long-awaited album from Belfast born singer/songwriter Dan Donnelly is upon us, after a fabulous taster of an EP released a while before his full album to keep his legion of fans happy! Dan has toured extensive with the Levellers, The Oysterband, supported Seth Lakeman on his tours on more than one occasion and has been delighting the British public after moving back here from the States almost 2 years ago.  He has appeared at various Festivals including Beautiful Days, the Big Session and a regular at Glastonbury.

Dan writes his songs from the heart and from experience.  This album is no exception and has a raw quality that extends itself to whoever hears it.  Kicking off the album I was expecting doom and gloom, but as he is now ‘in lurve’ the lovely lady is question as the first song ‘Your Loving Arms’ happy (yes happy) song!  The second track leads into his bit of bad experience and a kind of biography of the last couple of years. Track 4 is a tribute and dedicated ‘In Loving Memory’ to his late friend Paddy McNicholl who sadly died last year.  He believed in Dan tirelessly. Running – Track 5 was selected as a single and is a favourite of most people I know who are Dan fans. Eleven tracks finishing off with Plastic Jesus which has everyone bopping and singing along when at a Festival or venue.

His live performance is a work of art, with his loop foot pedals, skill and talent; he deserves to be up there with the rest.  A really nice guy who loves to talk to people about music, Dan has taught at Exeter’s Academy of Music and knows his craft inside out.  There isn’t much about the music business Dan doesn’t know. With tracks that have been recorded by Sean Lakeman and Phil Johnstone (ex Robert Plant band) and with a who’s who in folk on the album such as Leveller Mark Chadwick and Ben Paley on fiddle, this album is a work of art. Buy this album, and catch him live –  and you won’t be disappointed.  You can purchase the album below or from Dan personally if you are at one of his gigs.

Jean Camp


Are there any women here? Bearded Theory 2011 review

In the quest to experience something new every year, it was the turn of The Bearded Theory to fulfil this self-indulgence.

Situated in the picturesque grounds of Kedleston Hall, in my home county of Derbyshire, the Bearded Theory Festival took place from 13 -15th May this year.  An eclectic mix of music, entertainment, characters with never a dull moment.

It was the Festival’s third year, but it’s first year at Kedleston Hall.  An easy-to-reach venue that was easy on the eye but which was also a celebrity site, having been the key location for the Keira Knightley film “The Duchess”.    The site was well-proportioned, with many delights for old and young alike.  The weather decided to be surprisingly co-operative, but in the sparse times of rain, there was cover to take refuge under.

Why ‘Bearded Theory Festival’, I hear you ask?  Well, during the festival, there was a guiness book of record attempt for the “most amount of fancy dress Beards in one place and at one time”.  What an opportunity to achieve another first of being able to say that I was part of a record attempt and also to be able to wear a beard and enact a favourite Monty Python scene… “Are there any women here?”  Fantastic.

The main attraction of the Festival were ‘The Waterboys’ (officially) and what an act they were.  Absolutely brilliant, a stunning set.  The sheer understated showmanship of Mike Scott with his Jaggeresque arrogance and superb musicianship; the flamboyant fiddle skills of Steve Wickham; and the brilliance support of the other members of the band created a feast for the ears and the feet!

Why were they the main attraction officially?  Well, X-Factor reject, Wagner, was this year’s curiosity and faux-star feature and that is all the publicity I am going to give him in this review.

There were three main areas for the music.  The Main Stage; The Beard Top and the Magical Sounds Area with so many great acts playing across the weekend.  In no particular order; Dan Donnelly; 3 Daft Monkeys (The stalwart and honorary patrons of the Festival); Ferocious Dog (great name); The Whip; The Undertones; Justin Sullivan  of New Model Army fame; an awesome Swiss trio – Mama Rosin; Dub Pistols; The Bad Shepherds; Martha Tilston; Little Jonny England; Trans Global Underground; Athlete; Eddie and The Hot Rods.  Apologies to any one who I have missed out, but you were all excellent.

Whereas the Friday and Saturday were the opportunity for me to experience the Festival as a “grown-up”, I had the privilege to experience the Sunday as a “family day”.  Accompanied by my children, siblings and their younger children, we trooped along to the festival to see what else it offered for those not so enamoured by the music.  What a treat; – there was face-painting; craft activities; hula-hooping; hunt for the Gruffalo (found him and got a hug!); bouncy slide; bedtime fireside story;  Then there was the food; yum – something for all palates and not that pricey too – always a bonus!!!  For the retail therapy aficionados, then stalls to peruse and purchase from and of course, a variety of beards to deliberate over for the record attempt.  Then to wind down and relax, a calming massage that soothed the muscles and the mind.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and one that I hope to repeat next year and maybe even brave the camping!  I definitely recommend this festival.  There is entertainment galore and not just from the artists, but from members of the audience as well.  Book now for next year’s event (18th, 19th, 20th May 2012) peeps and wear your beards with pride!!

Sarah Burch 2011 

Festival weblink: http://www.beardedtheory.co.uk/

Folking Bearded Theory 2011 photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/folking/sets/72157626737349334/