Cutting loose on new Meadow Sessions with my blues brothers

This is the next chapter for blues fans: Square Pegs in Chapter II of The Meadow Sessions.

The songs here include Trouble in Mind and CC Rider. Director Myles O’Reilly (aka Arbutus Yarns) will post more from The Meadow Sessions soon, he promises, so stay tuned.

Square Pegs were formed five years ago, by Colm QuearneyKeith Duffy, Justin Carroll, Michael Buckley and myself in response to our collective love of playing the blues. We pay homage to the sound of Chicago blues, 1950s’ R&B and New Orleans blues.

  • Read more about Square Pegs here

Rambling away on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Previously host of the great Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert stepped into David Letterman’s shoes back in September as host of The Late Show which goes out nightly Stateside on CBS.

And, after playing previously with Glen Hansard on Letterman at New York’s famous Ed Sullivan Theatre it was a pleasure to be asked back. I was on drum duty as Glen performed the track Lowly Deserter, from his second solo album, Didn’t He Ramble, on Friday November 6.

 

We had a fun time, as usual, and it was great that old buddy Clark Gayton could join in on ‘bone, as regular Curtis was busy gigging elsewhere.

Square Pegs cut loose in Meadow Sessions

Here’s a great new video for blues fans which features Square Pegs in the Meadow Sessions, Part 1. The songs here include Cocaine Blues and Big Legged Woman.

This session includes our good friend Conor Brady on guitar. Myles O’Reilly (aka Arbutus Yarns) will post more songs from The Meadow Sessions soon, so stay tuned.
Meadow Sessions

Square Pegs were formed five years ago by Colm Quearney, Keith Duffy, Justin Carroll and myself in response to our collective love of playing the blues. We pay homage to the sound of Chicago blues, 1950s’ R&B and New Orleans blues. We play gigs when we’re all at home and not away touring. It’s a good-time vibe and we play in the front bar in Whelan’s, Dublin regularly.

Square Pegs have been recording an album over the last while and will be releasing it soon.

Spreading the word about Glen’s new album

I want to spread the word about Glen Hansard’s second solo album, Didn’t He Ramble, which is out now.

We’ve been on the road around the States recently, doing promo and playing in New York, Nashville and Philadelphia.

Mercy by Glen Hansard still

Here’s a video for the track Her Mercy which was shot by frequent collaborator Myles O’Reilly while we were recording in Chicago.

All details can be found at www.glenhansardmusic.com

Interview on Nadine O’Regan’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’

I was invited onto Irish radio station TXFM on Saturday, July 4, ahead of The Frames’ two sold-out shows at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin. Host Nadine O’Regan had yours truly on her ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ show.

Nadine O'Regan

It’s quite difficult to choose songs to play within an hour, so these are just a handful (As as taster, there’s a bit of Peter Gabriel, a bit of Led Zeppelin… that kind of thing).

(The chat we had was the fun bit!)

 

 

 

Three new Frames recordings and a compilation album

It’s a busy summer for me with The Frames. There’s three sold-out Irish shows in July (details here) and a just-announced compilation album, Longitude, which is out at the end of June.

This is not a ‘best of’, more a collection of special songs chosen by the band, and it includes new versions of Revelate and Fitzcarraldo, which were both originally recorded in the mid-90s. These new versions were recorded a few weeks back at Grouse Lodge in Co Westmeath. There’s also a new song, None But I (listen below).

Here’s that new album cover…

Longitude by The Frames

The Longitude tracklisting is:

God Bless Mom
Seven Day Mile
Happy
Revelate (new version)
Fitzcarraldo (new version)
Star Star **
In The Deep Shade
Lay Me Down
The Cost
People Get Ready
Ship Caught In The Bay
None But I (new song)

Speaking about the Longitude album, Frames frontman Glen Hansard said:

“This is a collection of songs from throughout the twenty five years we’ve been a band. We initially wanted to mark this anniversary with a sort of ‘Best of The Frames’. We put together a few different versions, including a certain number of songs from each record and including more popular live and radio songs – but this felt forced and incongruous. After many conversations amongst ourselves we decided it should simply be a collection of our favourite tunes, songs we would be happy to put on a mix-tape for a friend. So, here it is, with no regard to what album is most or least represented. It’s a short collection of tunes we are proud of, some in slightly different versions from the original recordings, and one new song. This is not the sum of our career but maybe some of the songs where we felt we had broken through to a new place or gotten better as a band. We hope you like it….we hope you enjoy it.”

Two gigs in one night but it’s worth it in memory of the great Levon Helm

Live show for launch of Colm Mac Con Iomaire’s new album

The great Colm Mac Con Iomaire launches his new album, And Now The Weather (Agus Anois An Aimsir), at Whelan’s, Dublin this Friday, April 17.

I’ll be playing drums (and a few other bits) as part of the impressive live band he’s assembled for the event. Do come. Below is the album cover…

1

This is Colm’s second album. His debut, Hare’s Corner was released in 2008. Of course, he’s best-known as the fiddle player with our other band, The Frames.

For more visit Colm’s site here.

Inside the brilliant C&C music factory…

So, you’ll know that I love my C&C drums. Well, the new official C&C Custom Drum Company website is live and, drummer or not, I’d recommend you check it out.

It details all the necessary info about their custom kits and details how they go about handcrafting the instruments (such as my kit, below).

Graham Hopkins by Dave Kavanagh

Here’s a small piece from the site’s intro…

“C&C Drum Co is a small, independent company based in Gladstone, Missouri. We are comprised of musicians and craftsmen who share a common bond: the love of music. This bond connects us to our drums and the people who play them. We’ve never tried to be the flavor of the moment or cater to the latest whim. Our goal has always been to build something of lasting value. We are dedicated to making the best drums we possibly can—drums that will outlive us to become a legacy.”

  • Visit the C&C Drum Co site here and their artists’ page here

 

Second Frames instalment from Whelan’s this year

Film-maker Myles O’Reilly has posted the second of three video installments at his Arbutus Yarns website of The Frames’ anniversary gig we played at Whelan’s on Wexford Street, Dublin, in June 2014. (I posted about chapter one previously here). A full-length feature of the gig will be released in 2015 as part of the band’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

November reign! German drum magazine interview

It’s always nice when people from outside of Ireland get in touch which was the case when I was featured in the November issue of Germany’s leading drum magazine, Sticks (snippet below).

sticks magazine

In the interview, I speak about my career to date (from Therapy? to Glen Hansard, and more), influences, my gear, and touring highlights.

If your German is good, you can read the entire piece here as a PDF.

Recording Christmas songs with the great Tom Jones and Rosanne Cash

I play drums and provide some backing vocals on a new Christmas album alongside the great Tom Jones, Rosanne Cash and Rhiannon Giddens.

The Wexford Carols was produced by four-time Grammy winner Joe Henry and recorded recently at Grouse Lodge Studios in Co Westmeath, Ireland. The below picture was taken during recording.

Wexford Carols group

Starring the celebrated Irish singer Caitríona O’Leary, the album features Irish Christmas music through a variety of folk styles, including traditional Irish, Americana, Blues and Gospel.

With lyrics by Luke Waddinge and William Devereux, set to popular tunes, the recording of these carols from the 17th and 18th centuries represents a diverse piece of work for me. Needless to say it was an honour and a pleasure to play with these guys.

The full tracklisting for the album is below…

Wexford Carols

  • Tell Shepherds – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  • An Angel This Night – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  • Jerusalem Our Happy Home – Tom Jones, Singer, Caitríona O’Leary & Rhiannon Giddens Backing Vocals
  • This Is Our Christmas Day – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  • Now To Conclude Our Christmas Mirth – Rhiannon Giddens, Singer, Tom Jones & Caitríona O’Leary Backing Vocals
  • The Darkest Midnight In December – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  • An Angel This Bright Midnight – Rosanne Cash, Caitríona O’Leary, John Smith, Graham Hopkins Vocals
  • Behold Three Kings – Rosanne Cash, Singer, Caitríona O’Leary, John Smith, Graham Hopkins Backing Vocals
  • The Angel Said To Joseph Mild – Tom Jones, Singer, Caitríona O’Leary, Rosanne Cash & Rhiannon Giddens, Backing Vocals
  • A Virgin Queen In Bethlehem – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  • Christmas Day Is Come – Rhiannon Giddens & Caitríona O’Leary, Vocals
  • The Enniscorthy Christmas Carol – Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Caitríona O’Leary, Tom Jones, Vocals

The full list of musicians on the record can be found here. Wexford Carols is out now on iTunes, Amazon and the Heresy website.