New Releases of the Week (8 January 2021)

Barry Kerr's new record 'Cairn' is out now.

New Releases of the Week (8 January 2021)

A round-up of recent releases, including Martin Hayes, John Blek, Jenn Kirby, Fintan Vallely, Barry Kerr, Lauryn Gaffney, John Walsh and Danny G & the Major 7ths. To submit your music for inclusion, please email [email protected]

Martin Hayes – Live at the NCH 2020
For this new EP, fiddle-player Martin Hayes has selected four sets from his livestream performance at the NCH in Dublin in December 2020. Accompanied by Cormac McCarthy on piano and Brian Donnellan on concertina, bouzouki and harmonium, the recording is an important snapshot of Hayes’ solo playing today, particularly the opening track ‘The Lone Bush/My Love is in America’. In his review of the concert on the Journal of Music, Toner Quinn wrote, ‘Had you not heard of Hayes before, and if you listened to the first set … it is possible you would imagine you were listening to a niche piece of contemporary jazz, or instrumental music from any particular genre or none, rather than a fiddle-player from Clare. That could be interpreted as stating that Hayes has moved away from Irish traditional music, but that would be untrue. He exposes the universality of these dance tunes through an intricate, individual and intense approach to melody, which is what Irish traditional music expression is about.’

Purchase the digital album on Bandcamp: https://martinhayesfiddle.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-the-nch-2020

John Blek – Right Moves
‘Right Moves’ is the new single from indie-folk singer-songwriter John Blek. The song will feature on Blek’s upcoming album Digressions #2 – Grounded (due for release next month), which was written and recorded while isolating in his home during lockdown. His website reads: ‘Grounded is Blek’s effort to regain a sense of balance and purpose during this period of great uncertainty’. ‘It shows the artist drawing from a new well of sound, embracing synthesis, remote recording and electronic instruments for the first time’. Visit: https://johnblek.com/

Jenn Kirby – Being Time
Composer Jenn Kirby has just released a new album, Being Time, on Chicago-based experimental label Pan y Rosas Discos. The record is based on Kirby’s interest in the concept of time and the temporary nature of sound and experience. According to the composer, ‘Recently I have been thinking about how, much like we are made up of the same organic material that surrounds us, we are also made up of time. In the same way that time is around us, time is also within us.’ Visit: http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr300-jenn-kirby-being-time/

Fintan Vallely – Merrijig Creek
Merrijig Creek is the new album from flute-player and author Fintan Vallely, also featuring his sister Sheena Vallely (flute), cousin Caoimhín Vallely (piano), Brian Morrissey (bodhrán), Liz Doherty (fiddle), Gerry O’Connor (fiddle) and Dáithí Sproule (guitar). Eighteen of the twenty-seven tunes over ten tracks are Vallely’s own. He writes: ‘Like a jigsaw that begins with just two pieces, a melody starts with a few notes – maybe a favoured passage, a riff. This is gradually teased out from both ends until a phrase emerges, eventually reaching the call-and-response unit that is the first part of a tune.’ Produced by Niall Vallely, Merrijig Creek is available from Claddagh Records and other outlets, and online from www.whinstone.net

Barry Kerr – Cairn
Cairn by flute-player, uilleann piper, whistle-player and singer Barry Kerr is the fruit of being awarded the Liam O’Flynn award in 2020. A collection of some of Kerr’s own compositions, the six-track album also includes a set of jigs composed by O’Flynn, ‘The Return of the Pedalboard’ and ‘The Piper’s Stone’. Barry spent time researching the Liam O’Flynn Collection at the Irish Traditional Music Archive as part of the award. Kerr’s tunes include ‘The Holy Trinity Reels’ with Ryan Molloy on piano and ‘The Travelling Piper’ with Niamh Dunne on fiddle. The album was recorded by Seán Óg Graham.

Purchase the digital album on Bandcamp: https://barrykerr1.bandcamp.com/album/cairn

Lauryn Gaffney – I’m Here To Say Goodbye
I’m Here To Say Goodbye is the new musical by award winning Dublin composer and playwright Lauryn Gaffney, whose musical Big Shot had its off-Broadway premiere in New York in 2019. I’m Here To Say Goodbye has been produced as an online, audio-only musical and tells the story of two strangers trapped in an elevator. Both ladies are on the way to important appointments, but instead they each have no choice but to hear something of the other’s story. The musical stars Gaffney and Aisling Sharkey. Visit: https://spoti.fi/3sv6hGk

John Walsh – Irlandalucía
Flamenco guitarist John Walsh recently released his debut album, Irlandalucía, featuringoriginal flamenco compositions. This release comes after Walsh spent four years studying flamenco in Andalucía, Spain, and working with Ballet Ireland, Riverdance and Michael Rooney’s De Cuellar Suite. Visit: https://johnwalshguitar.ie/store/

Danny G & the Major 7ths – The Lookout
Soul rock band Danny G & the Major 7ths have just released a new album The Lookout, and lead single ‘When it All Runs Out’. This second album comes over six years after the debut record Love Joints was released in 2020 and follows on from it with a more developed sound exploring the genre of neo-soul. Commenting on ‘When it All Runs Out’, Danny G said: ‘This song was inspired by visiting Venezuela. I wondered how a rich country could have a population living in poverty. How the actions of world leaders, fighting for or making deals for oil and other natural resources could make this earthly paradise look like it was in ruins. I’m asking what we’re going to do when it all runs out.’ Visit: https://www.dmajor7ths.com/

To submit your music for inclusion, visit: https://bit.ly/38vquCn

Published on 8 January 2021

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