MOVING HEATRS LIVE IN DUBLIN
Recorded at Dublin's Vicar Street during The Moving Hearts sold out four-night stand in February 2007, Live In Dublin captures some of Ireland's finest instrumentalists at the very top of their collective game. Percussionist Noel Eccles says: "There's unfinished business! When we last played it was as an instrumental band and we always felt we hadn't finished exploring the possibilities of our unique line up." This the first release from Moving Hearts in over 20 years and sees the band play a blistering set to a packed house in one of Dublin's most intimate venues.
Moving Hearts started playing together in The Baggot Inn, Dublin on February 1981. That first line-up comprised Christy Moore, vocals, guitar and bodhran, Donal Lunny on bouzouki and synthesizer, Declan Sinnott on electric guitar, Eoghan O'Neill on bass, Brian Calnan on drums and percussion, Davy Spillane on pipes and low whistle and Keith Donald on various saxophones. The band attracted huge attention for its blending of musical influences - folk, Irish traditional, rock, funk and jazz - as well as its commentary in the songs sung by Christy Moore on issues of concern in the areas of human rights and political skulduggery. In addition to songs about Ireland, Christy sang about the nuclear industry, thieving landlords, the US-engineered coup in Chile that replaced the elected Allende with Pinochet and his cronies and the dark side of organized religion.
After many changes of personnel - nineteen people have played or sung in the band - the decision was made to concentrate on instrumental music and to follow on from The Storm, the influential album of 6 instrumentals that was recorded after the band ceased regular gigging in 1984. After reforming to tour in 1987, the band went their several ways for most of two decades and watched as the world caught up with their music. Unlike many bands that stop working together, all the core members of Moving Hearts went on to have successful careers as musicians and bring huge depth and range of experience to a band that never stopped playing.
RICHARD JULINA - GIRLS NEED ATTENTION
Girls Need Attention, Richard Julian’s new album, is a musical atonement: vulnerable, honest, and painfully direct as it chronicles a break-up. “I don’t know how to not write confessionally… the songs always feel like an shopping cart that veers in that direction no matter which way I try to steer it.” This, Julian’s Compass Records debut and first album since 2008’sSunday Morning in Saturday’s Shoes, still serves up the occasional helping of his razor-sharp wit but ultimately reveals the singer at his most emotionally-charged. “This is by far the most raw I’ve ever been on an album,” says Julian, and his uncloaked narration is served well by lean and elegant arrangements.
Recorded at Norah Jones’s home studio, Girls Need Attention features stellar accompaniment from Nels Cline (Wilco) on guitar, Jolie Holland on box fiddle, and Sasha Dobson on vocals. The backing band, who was “essentially paid in fine tequila”, says Julian, a self-professed food and drink aficionado, contains such luminaries as Lee Alexander (who also produced the album), Tim Luntzel (bass) and Dan Rieser (drums), and is sparingly augmented throughout with keyboards (Dred Scott), baritone guitar, (Steve Elliot) french horn (Louis Schwadron), tuba (Marcus Rojas), and bass clarinet (Doug Wieselman). This star-studded cast is nothing out of the ordinary for Julian, who has spent the last few years touring with the likes of Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Josh Ritter, Roseanne Cash, and Suzanne Vega.
Girls Need Attention boasts many gems, including the Holland backed title track, which displays Julian’s gift for combining humor with pathos: “C’mon! And get your drunk ass up! / Don’t you know? / Girls need attention!” The gently rollicking yet heart-wrenching, “Lost In Your Light” is easily the most straight-ahead recording Julian has offered to date, and “Stained Glass,” another standout, highlights a swaggering and punchy vocal delivery about a memorable encounter with an ex and the hope for a second round. The scorching “Words” and the languid soundscape, “Window” prove memorable for the outstanding guitar and vocal work. The Randy Newman cover, “Wedding in Cherokee County”, is a remake that brilliantly displays where Julian and Newman musically converge and where they stylistically part.
Richard Julian began releasing albums in 1997 on Billy Lehman’s (son of the infamous Wall Street trader Ivan Boesky) label, Blackbird. During that time he recorded Richard Julian and Smash Palace and toured Europe with Suzanne Vega. When Blackbird folded, the label-less (and broke) artist made his third record, Good Life, with Brad Jones (Smash Palace), who let Julian record in his home. Julian then released and promoted Good Life on his own to rave reviews and was invited to open Norah Jones’ "Come Away With Me” tour in North America. Slow New York, his EMI/Manhattan debut, cemented Julian’s reputation as one of the keenest voices in songwriting and, in 2008, was followed by the critically-acclaimed Sunday Morning In Saturday’s Shoes also on Manhattan. Richard Julian lives in Brooklyn, plays Santa Cruz guitars, and loves good tequila. He is currently filming and starring in an upcoming television and web series about the best food, drink and music finds in NYC.
SPECIAL CONSENSUS - 35
Chicago-based Special Consensus celebrates its 35th anniversary with the release of 35. The new album, and the group’s 10th release, features band founder Greg Cahill (banjo and vocals), Rick Faris (mandolin and vocals), David Thomas (bass and vocals) and Ryan Roberts (guitar and vocals) on a high powered bluegrass set which includes six new tracks and six tracks compiled from now out of print releases featuring lead vocals from some of the band’s most illustrious former members. Over the course of their lengthy career Special Consensus has proven themselves to be one of the top selling bands in the genre; in terms of its theme, 35 is a follow-up to the band’s 2000 release 25th Anniversary which has been the band’s best seller to date.
Special Consensus was founded in 1975 by banjoist (and current President of the International Bluegrass Music Association) Greg Cahill as a showcase for his urban traditionalist’s take on bluegrass which encompasses elements of Chicago blues, swing, newgrass, and country music. Over the intervening 35 years, the group has seen a myriad of personnel changes and has been the breeding ground for some of the best young stars in bluegrass today; Josh Williams, Chris Jones and Robbie Fulks are just a few names in a long list of former members who have gone on to build solo careers. Special Consensus maintains a busy year round touring schedule, reaching an eclectic demographic through appearances at festivals, listening rooms, bluegrass in the schools programs and symphony appearances.
NUALA KENNEDY - TUNE IN
Nuala Kennedy, although rooted in the Celtic music of her native Ireland and adopted homeland of Scotland, is increasingly recognized for her eclectic cross-genre work. Her sophmore release on Compass, TUNE IN features her six-piece band plus special guests Bonnie Prince Billy, Norman Blake, Oliver Schroer and more and was inspired by the discovery of an old fashioned radio dial in her local junk shop. Tune In bears testimony to the many influences and collaborations Nuala has been enjoying in recent years.
TEADA - CEOL & CUIMHNE
Téada, now firmly established as one of Irish music’s leading exponents on the international world music stage, continues to be driven by a fascination with the timeless, expressive force of traditional tunes inherited from previous generations of musicians. Téada are Oisín Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Paul Finn (button accordion), Damien Stenson (flutes), Seán McElwain (bouzouki/guitar), and Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán).
Since 2001, when the freshly-formed band landed a spot on the innovative Irish television show Flosc, Téada, has evolved to frequent headline performances at major music festivals throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. A notable highlight was a headlining appearance to a 30,000-audience in Brittany during 2006, a year which also saw the band launch a hugely successful CD/DVD Inné Amárach, released by Compass Records.
About Ceol & Cuimhne
From the liner notes by Frank McNally, The Irish Times:
The poet Shelley wrote that “Music, when soft voices die/Vibrates in the memory.” He may have been more right than he knew. Neuroscientists speak wonderingly of patients who have lost all other memories but can play music the same as before; or who, deprived of all spoken language, can still sing unimpaired.
In Ceol & Cuimhne, the brilliant Irish band Téada bring their own unique focus to this mysterious relationship. With their trademark combination of youthful energy and old-school respect, they explore how the collective memory of a people can be locked into its music, even music without words. And, unlocking it, they give new meaning to an old expression: the one about how we can’t get that tune out of our heads.
JOHN MCSHERRY - SOMA
“John McSherry is one of the only pipers whose playing embraces the ancient strangeness of music passed on to us from centuries before while also possessing the harmonic and rhythmic sensibilities of the best of rock and contemporary music. This album spans these great fields and conveys the depth and breadth of John’s musicality!” – Donal Lunny
John McSherry is one of the finest exponents of the art of the Uilleann piping in the world. A founding member of Irish super-groups Lúnasa and the now legendary Coolfin, John is finally releasing his first solo album SOMA. A fiery blend of pipes, whistles, guitars, bouzoukis and fiddles, SOMA mixes traditional tunes with John’s own compositions. As John puts it, “My love for music embraces everything from these most ancient airs, jigs and reels to the harmonies and high powered, driving rhythms of modern music. I’d like to think of this album as a little melting pot of all the influences on my musical journey so far.” He’s been called “a true master” by Irish Music Magazine and has taken piping to new heights with his unique style. His sense for improvisation has even been compared to that of the great jazz legend John Coltrane. He’s also released two duo CDs, AT FIRST LIGHT with musical comrade Michael McGoldrick (2001 Best Traditional Album of the Year Award from Irish American News) and most recently TRIPSWITCH with Dónal O’Connor.
THE JOHN HARTFORD STRINGBAND - MEMORIES OF JOHN
Nearly a decade after his passing, Memories of John was recorded to commemorate the life and music John Hartford. The core of the project is the John Hartford Stringband—Chris Sharp/guitar, Bob Carlin/banjo, Matt Combs/fiddle, Mike Compton/mandolin and Mark Schatz/bass—the same group of musicians who appeared on Hartford’s last five Rounder Records projects and who were his touring band during the last years of his life.
Special guests Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Alan O’Bryant, George Buckner and Eileen Carson Schatz join the band on renditions of hit original John Hartford songs, traditional fiddle tunes, country and bluegrass songs refashioned by Hartford as well as a few rarely heard Hartford originals written shortly before his death. But the most special guest on the CD is John Hartford himself who appears on several previously unreleased tracks. Memories of John is a loving tribute to one of the most influential musicians of his time and an essential recording for all John Hartford fans.
A word from the producer Chris Sharp:
Often I am asked by a John Hartford fan if I would be willing to relate a story about him. All too often, my mind draws a blank. It’s not for a lack of stories, as there are plenty! Rather, I’ve started to realize that it’s from the sheer amount of stories, experiences, lessons, and the friendship we had.
For many of you who got to know John, you are aware that he was a very down-to-earth and accessible person. He loved his fans and friends, and they loved/love him back. I won’t go into a John Hartford biography here. Just suffice to say that he was probably the best overall entertainer who ever graced a stage, he was full of new and innovative ideas, and he loved music better than anyone I’ve ever met.
When I decided to make this CD, I was surprised at all the support we received. The musicians, people that loaned us gear we didn’t possess (John’s banjo, extra microphones, preamps, etc...), fans, and John’s family all pitched in to make my idea a reality. In retrospect, it’s easy to see that everyone involved wanted to help keep the memory of John Hartford alive and to present songs that represent John’s music and character.
Finally, the schedules were all in place, and it was time to record. I loaded up my studio (along with some borrowed gear) and headed down to Nashville. Thanks to Matt Combs, we were able to use an empty classroom at the music school where he teaches. With the exception of three overdubs (Alison Brown, Bela Fleck, and Eileen Carson Schatz), all the recording was done “live-in-the-studio” in two and a half days.
Some of the songs I’ve chosen to include on this CD will be familiar to John Hartford fans, while others have rarely been heard outside of John’s inner circle. The latter mostly consists of songs he wrote but did not get around to recording.
In producing this project, I have tried to stay true to my interpretation of John’s music. In making decisions about certain things, it’s been second nature to do what Tim suggests and ask myself, “What would John Hartford Do?”
The notes that accompany each of the songs point to the title of the CD(s) where you can find John Hartford’s recorded performance. These are all available through John’s website at www.johnhartford.com, which is lovingly maintained by his family. The website is a wonderful place to get to know more about John Hartford. There is even a great forum for people to exchange stories/ideas about him.
It is my sincere hope that you will feel John’s presence in these recordings and enjoy the “new” songs that you might not have heard. I am honored that the String Band and guest artists trusted me with their performances. It was a humbling experience, and one that I did not take lightly.
We’ll see you out there on the road soon!
MICHAEL MCGOLDRICK - AURORA
As a co-founder of best-selling Irish instrumental outfit Lúnasa and current member of Celtic favorites Capercaillie, flautist and piper Michael McGoldrick has played a great part in expanding the audience for British Isles instrumental music with his expert technique and visionary sensibilities. His genius for wedding traditional styles with contemporary textures has made him a welcomed contributor to albums and performances by such acclaimed contemporary roots artists as Kate Rusby, Sharon Shannon, the Afro-Celt Sound System and Youssou N’Dour. AURORA is the long-awaited follow-up to his groundbreaking 2005 album Wired, and finds McGoldrick surrounding his fluid, soulful performances and compositions with a startling variety of rhythmic backdrops. From spacious jazz trappings to surging Indian percussion, electronic loops to breathy whistles and flutes, AURORA brilliantly harnesses the rhythmic momentum of Celtic music while pushing into new sonic realms.
Drawing influences from a life and world beyond his Manchunian roots, AURORA is a collection of tunes and songs, the majority of which are self penned, with some traditional material as well—including a song, featuring, Heidi Talbot performing a stunning guest vocal on “Waterbound” (written by Louisiana’s finest old time master, Dirk Powell). Also joining McGoldrick are Dezi Donnelly, Donald Shaw, John McCusker, Donal Lunny, Ed Boyd, Parvinder Bharat, Anna Massie, Signy Jakobsdottir, Dermot Byrne and many others.