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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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…
The Longitude tracklisting is:
God Bless Mom
Seven Day Mile
Revelate (new version)
Fitzcarraldo (new version)
Star Star **
In The Deep Shade
Lay Me Down
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.”
I’m double-jobbing with two great gigs on Friday night in Dublin (April 17). First off, as I wrote here, I’ll be playing the full show for the launch of Colm Mac Con Iomaire’s new album.
Before that, I’ll take part in the now-annual tribute night for the late, great Levon Helm, The Band’s legendary drummer and vocalist, and one of my heroes (pictured below a couple of years ago at his place in 2010).
Acts playing on the night include John Murray, The Strypes, The Minutes, Gavin Glass, The Lost Brothers, The Group (Last Waltz Tribute Act), The Trouble Pilgrims and Luan Parle. Each act will perform music from all stages of Levon’s career.
More information here or contact Roisin Dwyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more.
All proceeds go to the Irish Cancer Society.
Tickets €17.50 (excluding booking fee) are available from the Sugar Club and by emailing email@example.com.
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).
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
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.
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.
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…
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.