This isn’t going to be easy. We wanted to do an article on Len Graham’s new book, Joe Holmes- Here I Am Amongst You. First, let’s abandon any pretense of journalistic objectivity here. To the knowledgeable reader, Len Graham is already an icon. There is no more respected performer and scholar of real Irish songs than Len. His career is filled with triumphs, awards, friends and artistic achievements that cover four decades. His contributions to song cannot be overemphasized. The… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on August 27, 2010 at 10:30 —
Well, it has happened again. In writing a few in-depth reviews the last few months on Kevin Burke, Brian Finnegan and Alan O’Leary, we have let slip a number of goodies. So, brace yourself, darling. This is gonna be one of those machine gun columns covering 11 albums. One quick note. Have you Googled Copperplate Distribution as we have encouraged you? No? Copperplate is the best place in the world for the true trad fan, and if you are not familiar with it and Alan O’Leary, you cannot call… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on August 2, 2010 at 21:00 —
Well, this Article is supposed to be about Brian Finnegan’s new album, The Ravishing Genius of Bones. The great temptation is to write a travel article, instead. Finding Brian Finnegan. Unbelievably, I found myself on a splotchy cell phone connection to Brian when he was in Moscow. Moscow! “I’m over here doing some concert work with Boris Grebenshikov. He’s great! You should see where we’re playing! It is like the Royal Albert Hall of Russia!” Moscow?
The Irish music…
Added by Bill Margeson on July 8, 2010 at 22:43 —
Kevin Burke’s new album is entitled, Suite. The first thing you are going to have to do is drop the idea that you know what a Kevin Burke album will sound like. Any reader of this site knows, or should know, who Kevin Burke is. The credentials speak for themselves. Of course, he was the fiddler for the iconic Bothy Band of the early 70’s. The Bothy Band was one of the progenitors of a resurgent traditional music era that has only grown since the band was joined by the likes… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on June 11, 2010 at 9:30 —
The regular reader knows the frequency we bring the London distribution and promotion firm, Copperplate Distribution, to the fore, as a service for you. Copperplate founder, Alan O’Leary has been mentioned on these pages almost as often as Liz Carroll, Jimmy Keane and Reeltime over the years. For good reasons. And, here they are.… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on May 17, 2010 at 17:56 —
There are two great things about listening to as much Irish music as we do. Well, three. The first is that when you get about 500 cd’s a year sent to you, you get to listen to a lot of Irish music, and a lot of that is from groups and soloists you have come to trust for delivering the goods. The real deal. Second is the bit when you find a really fab, super new talent who just knocks you down. The third is when someone sends a great, great album you had missed. This month we have an… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on April 18, 2010 at 17:16 —
Tradition in Review
Let’s take a break from the normal argy bargy of the column reviews. Let’s speak briefly this month about one of the giants of the music. All the young musicians out there blasting away, some with real ability (we’ll review Teada’s brill new album next month, along with a new fiddler on the scene Grainne Murphy). All of these musicians worldwide simply stand on the shoulders of the immortals, such as Seamus… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on March 19, 2010 at 23:22 —
Hope all is well in Dublin at headquarters! Here in Chicago, we have finally, completely had it with winter. Blizzards. Cold. Ice. Skidding cars. Skidding people. Bah. Humbug.
Well, we have received about 70 albums in the mail in the last couple months. So, here are the best of ‘em. There will be 9. This will be fast. Brace yourself, Bridgid:
1. Altan! They are JUST out, as of March 1, with their 25th anniversary album on Compass. This is cool. They went back into their own… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on February 21, 2010 at 21:00 —
Here they are and here we go. No Irish music Awards are so quickly spread around the world, nor so massively read about, thanks to the incredible reach of LiveIreland. As usual, these Awards represent the best of the best for the past year. Stunning stuff, and congratulations to all the winners. The envelopes please!!
Female Vocal Album of the Year…
Added by Bill Margeson on December 30, 2009 at 21:00 —
A quick note---next month is The Livies. They are our annual Awards for the best of the best for 2009. Don't miss them! No Awards are seen and heard worldwide so quickly, and by so many people!!!! Now as to the reviews:
The natural thing is to try NOT to go to extremes. I mean, it sounds so silly, over the top, wacky when you start “raving”. Your friends begin to fear for your mental state, and you walk around with your eyes in a glazed state that invites intervention. Thank heavens your… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on December 23, 2009 at 8:00 —
LiveIreland Dec. 2009
I remember well when I started collecting antique images of Ulysses S. Grant, America’s greatest general. When anyone starts collecting, they are all in a mad rush. For me, it was anything with Grant’s image on it. For others, it is coins, stamps, old samplers, antique maps…whatever. And, for all those collectors, the result is always the same. The madness subsides, and through whatever process one goes through, the taste becomes more specific. Twists, turns and… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on December 10, 2009 at 0:30 —
We are all saddened at news of the loss of Liam Clancy. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are major figures in the history of Irish music, especially in America. From the mid-50's onward, the Clanceys and Makem were Irish music to many millions of Americans through their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, an iconic program in the history of music in America. But, the Clanceys and Makem were much more than simply popular entertainers. They were noted collectors of old Irish songs,… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on December 5, 2009 at 21:20 —
Well, this is just perfect. Mick Moloney is out with his brand new album on Compass. Entitled, If It Wasn’t For The Irish and the Jews, it is a continuation of the albums in which Mick is the acknowledged best----turn of the 20th century Irish-American, Tin Pan Alley music. The previous album, McNally’s Row of Flats, was a hit, and won every award available in Irish music, including a couple from this venue!
As usual, with a Moloney album, the liner notes are worth the… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on November 16, 2009 at 23:00 —
We love Martin Simpson. This talented Brit is out with his---what is this?----14th album? On Compass, it is entitled, True Stories. There are 13 cuts in all. Wonderful songs---several penned by himself, and there is also a lovely variety of instrumental treats. Simpson is one of the best guitar players in the business, as well as playing a terrific banjo. We love love love his songs and interpretations. We know of no one who more perfectly blends his voice with his guitar. Masters… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on October 15, 2009 at 7:00 —
Let’s do something a little different this month. First, a review, and then some good, old-fashioned, gossipy newsy stuff from inside the music. Sound good?
First, Fiona Mackenzie is out with a fab album, A Good Suit of Clothes—Songs of the Emigrant Gael. Epic title, hey? Boy, we like her voice. The entire album is in Scots Gaelic, with translations in the liner notes. Well, we THINK it is Scots Gaelic. How would we know? It could be in Irish, but as it is out… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on August 26, 2009 at 19:30 —
K. Milwaukee Irish Fest.
The big mamoo. The grandaddy. The mack daddy. The BIG ONE.
Gorgeous weather all three days, really. Big, big crowds, but not a new record, according to management. Probably about 129,000 over the four night-three day event. Hits? Surely, Scotland's Salsa Celtica,
The Red Hot Chili Pipers
from Scotland,and… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on August 19, 2009 at 9:30 —
On deadline and freezing in Chicago as I write this—leading me to again question the entire orthodoxy of global warming. If it is July, why do I have frostbite? Hmm?
Down to business. Scottish label supreme, Greentrax scores yet again with a brilliant piece of work. Entitled, People and Songs of the Sea, and make no mistake. This is a gorgeous album of people and songs of the Scottish sea. Every now and then comes an album where the liner notes and accompanying descriptions… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on July 6, 2009 at 14:48 —
June, 2009 LiveIreland
So many newsy bits and albums. So little time. Under a nasty deadline from Monsieur Lattimer. Normally, I would complain to the publisher, as with the other publications I write for---but David is also the publisher.
Oh, well…First---and this is important--- if you are going to be in Ireland on July 11, check out the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the Shaun Davey/Rita Connolly Concert being… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on May 28, 2009 at 17:30 —
The first time we ever heard Kevin Crawford play the flute was many, many years ago with the best all-instrumental group in the history of Irish music, Moving Cloud. The group’s two albums on Green Linnet still stand as the gold standard for musicians who love traditional music the world round. No question. Done. Dusted. Kevin also did a lovely solo cd for Green Linnet, entitled, The Dflat Flute. Still superb, lo’ these many years later. The videotape fast forwards, and I am seeing… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on April 19, 2009 at 20:00 —
Derry’s Maranna McCloskey is just out with a brand new album entitled, At Last. For the people familiar with the talented alto’s singing, this will come as welcome news fully justifying the title of the album. It has been a long time coming, and it is already receiving solid reviews and airplay, as witnessed by the LiveIreland award for Vocal Album of the Year, 2009.
Maranna was born in the mid 70’s in Dungiven, Co. Derry. There is a musical pattern to her talent that… Continue
Added by Bill Margeson on April 12, 2009 at 19:00 —