Maz O’Connor announces new album

Maz O'ConnorCritically acclaimed English singer and songwriter Maz O’Connor releases Chosen Daughter, her first new studio album since 2016, on October 25 via Restless Head/Hudson Records.

Maz O’Connor firmly established herself as a rising star with widely praised LPs The Longing Kind on which she addressed Millennial angst, and its predecessor This Willowed Light, a folk set released during her year as recipient of a BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellowship. Her latest work Chosen Daughter was in many ways a long time coming. Although Maz had been writing prolifically since The Longing Kind in 2016, no clear direction for her new album emerged. Once the themes that shape Chosen Daughter started to come together, the whole process was unlocked and Maz knew exactly the record she was supposed to make.

It was when she travelled back to her grandmother’s childhood home in Ireland that these new songs began to flow and the writing process became quite unconscious. The result is an unflinchingly personal collection of songs, which explores the connections between several themes: the affecting stories of Maz’s Irish grandmothers, her reflections on grandmother-mother-daughter relationships and how female trauma can be passed down through generations, and her own reckoning with her experiences of being a young woman now.

The seeds of Chosen Daughter were sown in a chance conversation Maz had with her mother as they watched the film Philomena (about a woman’s search for her forcibly adopted son in Ireland), which revealed that her mum had been adopted from a Catholic mother and baby home run by nuns. Her mum’s birth mother had been an Irish domestic servant in England when she fell pregnant. Her story inspired ‘Predator’ and ‘Finer Than I’ on the new album.

Also from Ireland, Maz’s father’s mother was born in Waterford one of five girls, who were left destitute when their father died. Her eldest sister moved from Ireland to San Francisco, aged 16, to become a nun, and in return the Order educated and housed all of her sisters in England, effectively saving the family. The track ‘San Francisco’ was born from her story.

Discovering that both of her biological grandmothers were Irish immigrants who had suffered due to their gender and their poverty was striking to Maz, who felt a real need to tell their stories. Added to this, the previous 3-4 years had been transformational in terms of Maz’s own relationship with her gender. Like many women, The #MeToo movement was very important to her and she’d also been deeply moved by the book ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’, which made her re-examine her thoughts on patriarchy. The song ‘Loved Me Better’ came out of that exploration.

The confluence of all of these strands created Chosen Daughter, a personal tour de force from Maz and yet a record which will resonate universally. The album title itself is a reference to adoption, to religion, and to feeling like the next link in a chain of women that stretches back hundreds of years; the one, thanks to their sacrifices, able to tell the stories.

Known for her captivating stage presence and her stunning voice, Maz will tour in support of Chosen Daughter, including an album launch show with full band at London’s The Courtyard Theatre on November 15th  and a performance at Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room (part of Liverpool Irish Festival) on October 23rd. More dates to be announced.

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The first single, ‘San Francisco’ – official video:

Counting Crows Announce New Album ‘Underwater Sunshine’ (COOKCD561) To Be Released April 9th

Multi-platinum American rock band, Counting Crows have announced they will be releasing their first new album in over 4 years on 9th April 2012.

Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) is a collection of songs, both familiar and obscure, interpreted by one of the most soulful and recognizable bands of the past two decades.

Underwater Sunshine is a testament of a band geek-obsessed with music. “There’s a million great songs written every day that you discover, and wish your friends could appreciate as much as you do,” says singer/songwriter Adam Duritz. “These songs come from bands young and old, stretching from the early 60s to last year. They’re all great and will hopefully be heard by a few more people now.”

Produced by Counting Crows and Shawn Dealey, Underwater Sunshine features tracks written by artists such as Big Star, Gram Parsons, Tender Mercies, Fairport Convention, Kasey Anderson and The Faces. Each rendition offers an entire spectrum of human emotion, delivered with the conviction and intense honesty the band is known for.

As their first independent release, it was the right time for the Crows to make this album. “If you wonder why we didn’t just write our own record, it’s simply because we wanted to do THIS one,” says Duritz, We now have the creative freedom to release albums like this and offer our fans more music than ever.”

Underwater Sunshine track listing:

  1. Untitled (Love Song) by Romany Rye
  2. Start Again by Teenage Fanclub
  3. Hospital by Coby Brown
  4. Mercy by Tender Mercies
  5. Meet On The Ledge by Fairport Convention
  6. Like Teenage Gravity by Kasey Anderson & The Honkies
  7. Amie by Pure Prairie League
  8. Coming Around by Travis
  9. Ooh La La by The Faces
  10. All My Failures by Dawes
  11. Return of the Grevious Angel by Gram Parsons
  12. Four White Stallions by Tender Mercies
  13. Jumping Jesus by Sordid Humor
  14. You Ain’t Going Nowhere by Bob Dylan
  15. The Ballad of El Goodo by Big Star

Counting Crows hail from the San Francisco Bay area and consist of Adam Duritz (vocals), David Bryson (guitar), Charles Gillingham (keyboards), Dan Vickrey (guitar), Jim Bogios (drums), David Immergluck (guitar) and touring bassist Millard Powers. With over 20 million albums sold worldwide, including 5 Top 20 studio albums in the UK (3 of them charting in the Top 10) and all 5 hitting Top 5 on the Billboard 200, as well as eight Top 5 Singles in the US, Counting Crows success dates back to their 1993 debut release August And Everything After and the hit single “Mr Jones” (UK 28 & US top 5).  The band’s most recent accomplishments include a US #1 hit with the song “Accidentally In Love,” which was featured on the Shrek 2 soundtrack, as well as nominations in 2005 for a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for the track.  In 2004 the band released their first ever “Best Of” set Films About Ghosts which featured songs from every phase of the Counting Crow’s recording career and in 2006 a live record was released,  *New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall 2003, while the band ventured out on a summer tour. Their most recent album, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings (UK album chart 12) was released to critical and popular acclaim in March 2008.

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