Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Sinead O’Connor, and more, feature on PAUL BRADY: THE VICAR STREET SESSIONS VOLUME 1

VicarStCD400Proper Records, April 27th

Take a veritable galaxy of stars…Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler, Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, Ronan Keating, Curtis Stigers, Gavin Friday & Maurice Seezer, Eleanor McEvoy, Moya Brennan, Mary Black, Maura O’Connell to name but a few…and then add one more… Paul Brady.

Paul Brady. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. Revered Irish talent of some 40 years.

The one ingredient that coalesces the mix, the common factor, the king pin, the thread that pulls warp and weft together.

Fourteen years ago Paul Brady did 23 gigs at Vicar Street, Dublin. Many artists have sung Paul’s songs over the years and in October 2001 he decided to invite some of them to play with him. The response was overwhelming. The result an inspired mega coupling.

Joining Paul and his band was a different artist every night, sometimes several. Indeed, as he says himself  “At times I was a spectator in my own show as my guests, my friends, took the roof off Vicar Street. I knew then we’d captured something special.”

This unparalleled set of musical evenings soon became the stuff of legend. And it always remained at the periphery of Paul’s consciousness. Now, finally, a first volume of these remarkable nights is to be released.

Out on Proper Records on April 27th it comprises some of PB’s best loved songs featuring some of the world’s best loved artists. It captures a taste of what it was to have been there on the night – intimate, funny, powerful and above all gloriously musical.

With 16 solo albums already to his credit as well as a fist of collaborations, Paul Brady’s writing effortlessly straddles folk, pop and rock (not to mention his enviable reputation as an interpreter of traditional music).

His songs have been sung by a huge array of stars over the last four decades. Tina Turner, Cher, Carole King, Art Garfunkel, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, David Crosby, Cliff Richard, Trisha Yearwood and Phil Collins amongst them and, closer to home, Ronan Keating, Joe Dolan, Dickie Rock, Maura O’Connell, Liam Clancy and Mary Black.

The Vicar Street Sessions provides a great tribute to one of Ireland’s finest artists.

1. I Want You To Want Me
2. Baloney Again (feat. Mark Knopfler)
3. The Soul Commotion
4. Nobody Knows (feat. Gavin Friday and Maurice Seltzer)
5. Believe In Me
6. In This Heart (feat. Sinead O’Connor)
7. Irish Heartbeat (feat. Van Morrison)
8. Not The Only One (feat. Bonnie Raitt)
9. Don’t Go Far (feat. Curtis Stigers)
10. The Long Goodbye (feat. Ronan Keating)
11. Last Seen October 9th (feat. Eleanor McEvoy)
12. The World Is What You Make It (feat. Bonnie Raitt)
13. Forever Young

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SINÉAD O’CONNOR re-issue of Sean-Nos Nua due 8th April 2013

Sean-Nos NuaApril 2013 will see the UK & Ireland re-issue of Sean-Nos Nua, first released in 2000 selling more than 200,000 copies worldwide. Literally translating as “Old Songs Made New”, Sean Nos Nua is a redefining moment in Sinead O’Connor’s career, an album composed of songs extracted from the bottomless well of traditional Irish folk song. Indeed, as many have proved in the past, this ancient repository is an apt source of material from which to draw and compliment the outsider’s oeuvre of an artistic mutineer such as O’Connor, for, along with the customary stories of lust and heartbreak, Irish traditional song and verse, much like that of other folk song emanating from the British Isles, is stuffed to the gills with bloody narratives of tragedy, intransient rebelliousness and lawless skullduggery.

Despite its generous thematic share of ex-pat Irishmen caught up in foreign wars, nautical misadventure (Lord Franklin), murder and piracy, Sean Nos Nua is a very feminine album, with O’Connor at her fragrant, interpretive best on the sorrowful Molly Malone and Lord Baker, which finds Christy Moore revisiting the song he performed with Planxty on the 1982 album Words and Music. Intentions to “sex things up”, as O’Connor puts it, give birth to an intriguing reggae undertow on Óró Sé Do Bheatha ‘Bhaile while guest appearances from the Emerald Isle’s most eminent bouzouki practitioner Donal Lunny, the WaterboysSteve Wickham on fiddle, Sharon Shannon on accordion and ON-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood keep things fresh but traditionally firm-footed enough not to deter purists. And, who knows, the boozy Irish bards and archivists of the future may have occasion to recount the tales of the shaven-headed colleen from Glengeary who ripped up pictures of the Pontiff and whose backside never surrendered to the threat of a star-spangled kicking from the boot of Frank Sinatra.

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LUMIERE – My Dearest Dear (IRL Records IRL075)

Lumiere My Dearest DearThe art of successfully bringing ‘folk’ music to a wider audience has been surmounted before by the likes of Steeleye, Fairport and The Corrs and with the duo Lumiere it looks as if we have another artist batting for ‘our’ side. Whether we in the folk world deserve it or not remains to be seen as sometimes it would appear a thankless task pleasing the die-hard ‘traditionalists’. Personally speaking, to scorn anything ‘commercial’ would, in my opinion be churlish as both Eilis Kennedy and Pauline Scanlon have fine voices and, when joined by the more brittle vocals of guest Sinead O’Connor on Sandy Denny’s timeless “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” this really would be an unfairly negative response. Adding a touch of gloss to this musical undercoat producer John Reynolds has assembled an exemplary band of musicians including ex-Lunasa guitarist Donogh Hennessy, Clare Kenny (bass), Caroline Dale (cellos), Kevin Armstrong (guitars), Eamonn De Barra (piano/keyboards), Julian Wilson (Hammond organ), Catriona MacKay (Harp) and Reynolds himself on drums. Although the album is unashamedly commercial it will undoubtedly appeal more to say a Radio 2 audience than Radio 1 listener but there’s nothing wrong with that so long as you’re also happy to be tagged “easy listening”. Reflecting the duo’s passion for traditional songs such as “The Wind That Shakes The Barley”, “The Streets Of Derry” and a nicely understated “Ye Jacobites” it will sit nicely among those ethereal sounds of Clannad you have in your collection.

PETE FYFE

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Artist’s website: http://www.lumieremusic.net/

Damien Dempsey – ALMIGHTY LOVE

For Damien Dempsey, people and place are King. His voice is Dublin yet wholly distinctive, almost clichéd to say it, but he is part of a rich bloodline of Irish singers from Luke Kelly to Ronnie Drew, Christy Moore to Andy Irvine. Their kin outside Ireland are Springsteen and Guthrie, Dylan and Marley.

In his new album ALMIGHTY LOVE, Dempsey’s sense of place reaches out beyond Donaghmede and North Bull Island, where he first performed in public as a teenager, across the Irish Sea and further afield. The locale is still in the lyrics. It’s there in the hauntingly poetical Chris and Stevie, a tribute to male bonding and grief. You can hear it in Canadian Geese – large migratory birds whose flight path took them past Dempsey’s boyhood window. It’s there also in the references to railway tracks and waves, visible from the rooftops of Dempsey’s childhood home. Those railway tracks took Dempsey and his boyhood friends out into their own imaginations and he hasn’t forgotten. ALMIGHTY LOVE goes on a journey of a different kind. Dempsey, at 37 years old, has already said so much about self and state that trying to plough over old ground wouldn’t have been artistically challenging or fresh. So instead, he has given us an album of confidence and maturity, which has a more global sound to it and a broader scope. It is at once bigger and quieter, still rallying against injustice, yet with a more reflective and thoughtful tone, communicated more widely. It’s not that ALMIGHTY LOVE is a radical departure. It’s more an evolution on previous themes and concepts. The anthems are still there: Bustin Outta Here, The Good and the Great, Community and Almighty Love. His generosity of spirit, affiliation with those in need and the downtrodden, and recognition of their suffering, remains. It prevails even when that preoccupation may shine a spotlight on aspects of modern society that are uncomfortable to face.

Glorious revolutions can breed terrible evil and rage. Bob Marley understood that and London based poet and rapper Kate Tempest understands it too. She collaborates with rhythmical focus and fury on Born Without Hate, adding to the internationally grounded feel of the album. Of the 100 or so songs earmarked for the album, nine originals and just one cover were chosen– Andy Stewart’s Fire in the Glen, which Damien was singing in the kitchen late one night and it stayed in the air and drifted into the studio. Sinéad O’Connor, one of the greatest voices of her generation, adds backing vocals, but gives without taking. Her voice alongside Damien’s makes sense in their mutual authenticity and authority. Making ALMIGHTY LOVE was a long and careful process. Damien worked with long-term collaborator John Reynolds, who is an internationally recognised producer. This is their fifth album together, and theirs is an instinctive and homely artistic relationship, and it shows.

Damien’s debut album in 2000, THEY DON’T TEACH THIS SHIT IN SCHOOL set him apart as a unique and important voice, championed from an early stage in his career by Sinéad O’Connor and others. The follow-up, SEIZE THE DAY, released in 2003, marked the beginning of his relationship with producer John Reynolds, picking up many awards and leading to extensive international tours. Commercial and critical success continued with the release of the No. 1 album SHOTS in 2005, backed by Brian Eno, and TO HELL OR BARBADOS in 2007, which debuted at No.2 in the Irish charts.

Damien is an award-winning artist, having won several prestigious Irish Meteor Awards including Best Irish Male and Best Traditional Folk Award. His albums have topped the charts and gone Platinum, and he has been lauded by, among others, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Billboard, MOJO and The Sunday Times. Since the release of his last album, Damien’s creativity has found other outlets also. One notable project was with Irish graffiti artist Maser, on a project entitled ‘They Are Us’. This was sparked by Dempsey’s lyrics, and involved the painting of his words on derelict buildings in Dublin. Sales of the limited edition prints raised funds for The Simon Community, which was a charity set up to help the homeless and disenfranchised in Dublin and elsewhere. Dempsey’s charitable work continued in December 2010, when he and Oscar winning songwriter Glen Hansard recorded and performed the Irish folk classic, ‘The Auld Triangle’. Monies raised went towards the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP) ‘Keep The Lights On’ Campaign.

Since his first live outings in the mid-1990s, Damien’s gigs have seen him wow audiences across the globe, and his performances have taken on a spiritual and soulful quality. October/November 2012 will see Damien touring throughout the UK and Ireland, for more information and the latest tour dates visit www.damiendempsey.com

“Dempsey’s musical heroes are now his admirers. And this is an Irish classic.” The Guardian

The Dublin folk hero is a stirring mixture of grit and grace and tenderly soulful” MOJO

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Celtic Skies featuring Andrea Corr & Damien Dempsey…

Celtic Skies is a collection of popular Irish and Scottish traditional songs recorded in a new, contemporary style. The album features various established Celtic  artists such as Andrea Corr , Damien Dempsey and Moya Brennan , together with young up and coming artists who all bring their unique interpretation to these much-loved classics. The production team behind the album, Jake Jacas and John Reynolds have worked with artists such as Sade and Ali Campbell through to Andrea Corr and Sinead O’Connor.

The album’s appeal spans all age groups and from the timeless beauty of songs such as ‘Black is the Colour’ – through to a passion fuelled rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’– this album offers a stunning and modern interpretation of these iconic traditional songs.

About some of the featured artists:

When Bono stated recently, “I think she has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced”, he was heralding what many people know already about The Voice of Clannad, Moya Brennan

Ben Thapa – Opera Magazine said, “beautiful tone and beautiful phrasing

Lumiere – Legendary Irish Record Producer John Reynolds said, “Pauline and Éilís have a rare and unique singing style I had never heard before. From the moment I heard their voices I knew we had to make an album. Discovering these songs through their voices lifted them into a place of real soulful tradition, ethereal but at same time modern. A pure joy.”

Damien Dempsey (The Irish Lion) – Roddy Doyle wrote that “the Irish are the blacks of Europe and Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland and the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin”. Born in Donaghmede on Dublin’s Northside in 1975, Damien Dempsey is the voice of that underclass and the quintessential Irish singer songwriter.

Celtic Skies Album Track Listing:

1. She Moved Through the Fair  – Featuring  Andrea Corr
2. Down by the Salley Gardens – Featuring  Moya Brennan
3. Oh Danny Boy – Featuring Rebecca Watson
4. Black is the Colour – Featuring Joanna Eden
5. The Last Rose of Summer  – Featuring  Lumiere
6. Rare Ould Times – Featuring Damien Dempsey
7. Heart of My Homeland – Featuring Joanna Eden
8. Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond – Featuring Ben Thapa
9. Mountains of Mourne – Instrumental
10. Flower of Scotland – Featuring Rebecca Watson
11.My Ain Folk – Featuring Ben Thapa
12. Water is Wide – Featuring Joanna Eden
13. Foggy Dew – Instrumental
14. Hills of the Dawn – Featuring Joanna Eden
15. Auld Lang Syne – Featuring Rebecca Watson

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