On Tuesday 14th of April USA singer/songwriter Kelley McRae will return to Matt Molloy’s Westport to perform once again at at the Acoustic Yard with her partner Matt Castelein. Joining them as special guests are local duo Nungesser and Griffin.
The Acoustic Yard is organising a series of events as a build up to it’s very own singer/songwriter festival next year. The festival at it’s early stages of development hopes to bring some popular names as well as upcoming songwriters to Westport on the May Bank Holiday in 2016.
Kelley McRae is in the middle of a European tour and is perhaps one of the finest exponents of Americana songwriting. Her plaintive songs and beautiful voice have gained her a reputation and regular invitations to festivals here and around the world.
Kelley grew up in Mississippi but called Brooklyn home for years before teaming up with guitarist Matt Castelein in 2011, when the duo traded in their NYC apartment for a VW VW camper van and hit the road full time.Thousands of miles and hundreds of shows later, they have toured coast to coast in the US.
Drawing comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch, the duo’s music is wide ranging – comprising haunting ballads, tender love songs, and energetic guitar driven songs full of hope. Acclaimed film director Wim Wenders told the San Francisco Chronicle that Kelley’s songs move him to tears, and BBC Radio’s and Old Grey Whistle Test legend Bob Harris calls the songs ‘Brilliant!’
Nungesser & Griffin are a new Americana/Alternative Country duo who formed last year in Westport, Co.Mayo. Gert Nungesser, native of Germany plays guitar, dobro and lapsteel moved to Ireland in 1983 and quickly became involved with many renowned musicians and bands on the west coast, including The Higglers Jug Band and Jassid Orchestra.
Elaine Griffin is a singer/songwriter originally from Co. Louth and based in Westport for the past 20 years. She most notably collaborated with singer/songwriter Joanne Keegan in the 90’s as well as fronting the band Mrs Doyle’s Quartet.
Nungesser and Griffin are writing and recording their first EP, entitled “The Hawks & I” which is due for release in early summer 2015.
Doors open at 8pm and for any further info please email email@example.com.
IMRO supported The Acoustic Yard celebrates it’s 1st Anniversary on Sunday 22nd of February with a gathering of some of the finest songwriters in The West of Ireland and beyond.
Tony Reidy, Gerry Creen, David Dee Moore, Derek McGowan, Brian Duffy and Callum Keaveny or just some of the artists who will be playing in Matt Molloy’s, Westport with doors opening at 7pm. As a special thank you to everyone who has supported the event in 2014 which has included such celebrated names like Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan and UK Voice winner Andrea Begley there will be no cover charge.
It should be a great night and a double celebration with Matt Molloy’s a recent winner of IMRO Connaught live venue of the year.
IMRO supported The Acoustic Yard on Tuesday November 25th will feature three different eclectic styles from traditional folk to Contemporary pop. Briege Murphy, Niall Teague and Joanna Marie will grace the stage in Matt Molloy’s, Westport for the last session of the year which in the past has featured acts from Ireland like Charlie McGettigan and Andrea Begley to Kelley McRae and Gary Ferguson from the USA. The event will return in February 2015 with a special anniversary party and news of The Acoustic Yard singer/songwriter festival which is in it’s early planning stages.
Briege Murphy from Co.Armagh writes contemporary folk songs, many with traditional roots. Her songs have been recorded Niamh Parsons, Frances Black, Rig the Jig, Don Stiffe, Anthony John Clarke, The Border Collies, Scold’s Bridle and The Once to name but a few. She has recorded 4 albums to date of her own songs and one of Irish traditional and American folk covers.
Briege has received a” keeper of the tradition” award for her contribution to the culture of her county and country, and recently won “Best female Bard”, at the Bard of Armagh, humorous poetry competition. She has performed at festivals all over the world including the Westport Arts and Clifden festivals and recently one of her songs was included on an acclaimed compilation album, called ” The Ultimate guide to Irish Folk “.
Niall Teague is a singer/songwriter from Belfast city but has been firmly routed in the Galway music scene for the last number of years. Niall has gained respect as a performer, singer and a songwriter in both Galway and further afield through groups 4 men and a Bass and The Fast Company as well the Sharon Shannon band. His style reflects his broad musical influences which include both Irish and American folk music leading to song and melody which is both rich and diverse. Multi-instrumentalist Niall brought out his debut CD with his band The Fast Company in 2010 with a high quality assortment of original folk ballads, and bluegrass songs.
Joanna Marie is a new singer/songwriter from Dublin whose writing is very much influenced by Joni Mitchell. She spent some time studying songwriting in BIMM Dublin and working on her performance where she met Ola Ersfjord, a producer who encouraged her to record an EP. Following a successful fundit campaign Joanna recorded her debut EP with Ola in Temple Lane Studios, ‘Cold on the Coast’ which was launched to a packed out crowd in Whelans in Dublin in July 2014 . Joanna continues to work on new material and is due to release her new single ‘ Finding our Feet’ in this December 2014.
There is a really special night of female singer/songwriters at IMRO supported ‘The Acoustic Yard’ on Wednesday 29th of October in Matt Molloy’s. Three great artists with their own original twist on songwriting playing such diverse instruments from the Marimba to the Harp.
Co. Down singer-songwriter Brigid O’Neill is riding the crest of a wave following the launch of her new EP of original songs ‘Arrivals and Departures’. It has already received an enthusiastic reception with Cherrie McIlwaine on BBC Radio Ulster summing it up: “Gorgeous songs, gorgeous arrangements”.
The CD is a follow-up to Brigid’s acclaimed album ‘Inland Sailor’, which still gets regular airplay. It is a mix of country blues, folk and a dash of jazz for her distinctive voice with the quality of her songwriting attracting attention.
Brigid is a regular on the Irish festival scene and has appeared at Cathedral Quarter Out to Lunch, Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, the Bluegrass Festival at the Ulster-American Folk Park near Omagh, Celtic Fusion Festival, Shannonside Music Festival and Fiddlers Green Festival.
Mairéad Duffy is a fresh, contemporary artist on the music scene. She performs playing piano and the harp which gives a unique cutting edge to her music. Originally from Tuam, Co.Galway, the singer/songwriter released her debut single ‘Little Bridge’ in November 2013 and has featured recently on BBC Radio Ulster and Galway Bay FM. Comparisons have been drawn with Kate Bush and Tori Amos. She is currently recording her debut EP to be released at the end of autumn.
Paula Ryan is a compelling Singer/Songwriter from near Ardfinnan in Co. Tipperary. Paula’s insightful songs are inspired by the lyricism and musical passion of her Tipperary roots & driven by the rhythmic influences and of music from other cultures. She has literally travelled all over the world and become a popular figure at major folk festivals. Paula’s original peace anthem “Raise Our Voice” was the Winner of the Shrewsbury Folk Festival Peace Song Competition and Finalist in the Tipperary Song Of Peace. She accompanies her songs on Marimba, Guitar, Bazouki, and a range of percussion instruments including Djembe & Bodhran. In performance Paula provides an entertaining mix of original songs, some of which are in Irish and presented with a deal of good humour.
The Acoustic Yard on Tuesday the 30th of September in Matt Molloy’s will celebrate the new emerging singer/songwriters emanating from the island of Ireland. 5 artists all with a story to tell and each one signifying the diversity of talent on these shores.
Currently working on a new album due for release in Winter 2014, Warren Attwell from Belfast is a pop singer-songwriter with substance. His ever-evolving style combines a raw yet soothing voice reminiscent of Sting or a young Bryan Adams with modern melodic hooks and production influenced by bands like Coldplay, Keane and the Killers.
He studied Music Technology in Queens University music which culminated in his debut solo effort ‘Chapter One’ released in September 2008.
He then spent the next 2 years working hard on his second EP ‘Fallen From Grace’; a collection of songs exploring love, loss, imperfection and redemption. Received with critical acclaim, title track ‘Fallen From Grace’ and heavy hearted foot stomper ‘Time’ received massive radio support. This, alongside his passionate live performances, helped to propel him to the forefront of Belfast’s bustling music scene.
Blending folk, blues and acoustic pop to taste, Brian Casey’s debut solo EP ‘Plain Sailing’ is a collection of songs that find things to be positive about in the face of poor weather and bad news. Released in August 2013, this first 5 track offering showcased a wide range of styles and moods influenced as much by contemporary singer-songwriters of the past decade as they are by the likes of the Beatles and folk/blues artists of the 50’s and 60’s.
Winning positive reviews in national publications and significant radio exposure, Casey toured nationally promoting the EP. Along with an Autumn/Winter tour, Brian will be featured in hard Working Class Heroes 2014 as well as Guinness’s Amplify series.
‘Bricks & Mortar’, the debut release from Sligo songbird Jean Harnett is equal parts ‘Mississippi Delta’ blended with the wilds of West Ireland. This honest, thoughtful, and powerful EP will stir up comparisons to Damien Rice, Alison Krauss, and Glen Hansard, while having a ‘familiar’ and distinct sound all its own. With this record, Jean deftly navigates the waters of complex subject matter (relationships, family, and growing up) with impassioned storytelling, haunting melody, and a swagger that transcends her tender age. Jean has spent a lot of time recording and performing in Seattle honing her particular unique viewpoint in songwriting.
Callum Keaveny from Letterkenny Co. Donegal is an accomplished guitar and keyboard/piano player who has been playing music since the age of 7yrs. He released his critical acclaimed debut EP in January 2014 which he recorded at ‘Mo+Co’ studios in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. This EP has 5 original tracks all of which were composed and performed by Callum and have received considerable air time. He recently played as far afield at the renowned ‘Arlene’s Grocery and ‘The Scratcher Sessions’ in New York. Callum will be touring around Ireland at various venues promoting his new EP linking up with the ‘Guinness Amplify’ series.
Brian Lalor, a Laois native who now resides in the North Cork area has recently released his debut EP ‘Hand Full of Seeds’. This collection of songs has been described by some, as refreshing and honest. With over a decade of experience writing, performing and recording music, covering everything from folk to metal to garage band Brian has been busy writing his own material whilst also learning his stage-craft combining, the sounds and spirits of Chuck Berry to Tom Waits through Steve Earle and Fats Domino. All this experience soul-searching and mining for musical gold has led to the already mentioned ‘Hand Full Of Seeds’, completely self-funded and recorded at Golden Egg Studios in Portlaoise. In describing the EP, Brian sees it as “a blend of acoustic country blues folk and rock”.
The Acoustic Yard singer/songwriter sessions at Matt Molloy’s, Westport has a surprising special guest on Tuesday August 26th with none other than Andrea Begley last year’s UK Voice winner.
Although not known as a songwriter Andrea from Pomeroy has written some superb tracks on her hit top ten CD ‘The Message’, songs that effortlessly blend in with the rest of the Album. She worked as a singer/songwriter before being catapulted to fame on the hit show and The Acoustic Yard is delighted to get the chance to hear her originals songs and experience her wonderful ‘voice’ with her one and only appearance in the West of Ireland.
Partially blind Andrea has continued her success as a regular guest on television and radio programmes including a recent appearance on the BBC ‘Songs of Praise’ programme filmed at the Albert Hall, London. She also works tirelessly as an Ambassador for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
Joining Andrea on the bill are fellow Northerners Brendan Monaghan and Dennis McCalmont two great singer/songwriters who have been travelling similar paths in sharing their compositions.
Co. Down native Brendan Monaghan has been performing his material all over the world sharing the bill and writing material for other top recording artists. He has released an impressive 5 albums ‘Precious time’, ‘No more words’, ‘Look no further’, ‘Flicker of hope’ and ‘Never too late to come home’ all released on Brambus Records. Brendan will be promoting his new release at ‘The Acoustic Yard’ the retrospective album called ‘Lovers always win’.
Dennis McCalmont originally from Derry has build a reputation from a solid base in Mayo with his live shows and numerous recordings. His new CD ‘Forevermore’ is a great follow up for his previous CD the highly acclaimed ‘#SoulRecall, both recordings have enhanced his songwriting credibility. The Dennis McCalmont Band have been playlisted in France and were named ‘Artist Of The Month’ for October last year on ‘365 Radio Network’ in the USA. Dennis manages to cross musical boundaries from mainstream rock into funk, soul, folk, country and blues, he applies his sturdy and sensitive vocals to attract an ever-increasing number of fans both here in Ireland and abroad.
Doors open 8.30 and further info is available on www.theacousticyard.com
Country Bluegrass Special at The Acoustic Yard
This month’s IMRO supported ‘The Acoustic Yard’ on Tuesday 22nd in Matt Molloy’s has got more than a hint of a Country Bluegrass feel with two singer/songwriters from the USA both coincidentally called Gary Ferguson and Belfast born songstress Janet Holmes sharing the bill.
Irish audiences are known for their love of American Folk, Country and Bluegrass music, a fact Gary Ferguson discovered on his first tour of Ireland in 2005. Gary Gene Ferguson has toured in Ireland every year since then, working with such Irish musicians as Mick Hanly, Charlie McGettigan and Frankie Lane. His upcoming July 2014 Irish tour marks his tenth trip to the Emerald Isle, and to commemorate the milestone, he’s going to tour Ireland with a special appearance at ‘The Acoustic Yard with none other than his namesake renowned Bluegrass player Gary Alan Ferguson.
Gary Gene Ferguson a longtime resident of southeastern Pennsylvania, is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who’s been a mainstay of the bluegrass and Americana scenes since the 1980s. In addition to the Gary Ferguson Band, Gary has recorded or performed with such distinguished bluegrass musicians as Ronnie McCoury, Robbie McCoury, Mike Auldridge, Alan O’Bryant, Ron Stewart and Jimmy Gaudreau.
A five-time finalist in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest, Ferguson is an acclaimed songwriter, best known for the Larry Sparks hit, “Last Day at Gettysburg,” which rose to number two on the Bluegrass Unlimited Top 30 chart.
Gary Alan Ferguson from Fredericksburg, Virginia is an engaging singer, songwriter and versatile multi instrumentalist whose music blends influences from rock, soul and gospel to folk, jazz, country and bluegrass. His performance and/or recording credits include the Knoxville Grass, Donna Fargo, Claire Lynch, John Starling and the Virginia Squires and is currently writing songs for East of Monroe’s upcoming debut CD.
Janet Holmes has become a mainstay of Irish Country and Bluegrass music especially up north where she is a regular at festivals. Her beautiful voice encapsulates a smooth country sound blended with a more modern Americana feel. Her latest CD ‘Wonder Why’ has proved that now she is one of the finest country singer/songwriters this part of the world by writing most of the tracks. She will be joined onstage by her musical partner and husband Dobro player extraordinaire Colin Henry.