Congratulations to Martin Simpson!

February 25, 2008
Congratulations to Martin on winning two of the biggest Awards of the night at 2008’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards! Martin’s latest CD, Prodigal Son won Best Album of the Year and his song, "Never Any Good" about his late father, won him Best Original Song. Martin was presented with his awards by Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel fame and Aled Jones, himself a multi-million selling artist and currently presenter of one of Radio 2’s biggest shows, Good Morning Sunday. Aled described Martin as "an icon" and "one of the best guitarists of his generation", whilst actor Bob Hoskins, in the audience that night, told Martin that "Never Any Good" could have been about his own father and had brought a tear to his eye. Congratulations also to melodeon player, Andy Cutting, who very deservedly won Musician of The Year and who performed with Martin on the night, alongside Danny Thompson and Kate Rusby.

Karan Casey signs to Compass Records

February 15, 2008
New album, Ships in the Forest, to be released in North America April 8, 2008

The Compass Records is excited to announce the signing of Karan Casey, an artist whose voice has been described as "Angelic. Haunting. Spellbinding." (The Calgary Herald) and "among the loveliest in folk music..." (The Boston Globe).

Karan Casey is one of the most influential and imitated vocalists in Irish and American folk music; a natural innovator, she proves that the ancient and the modern make excellent bedfellows. On Ships in the Forest, her fifth solo album and debut with the Compass Records, Casey’s warm, soulful voice ebbs and flows around ballads both timely and timeless. Produced once again by Donald Shaw (of Capercaillie fame), the album was recorded at Casey’s home in County Cork and features the members of her current touring band, Caoimhín Vallely (piano), Kate Ellis (cello) and Robbie Overson (guitar) along with special guests Kris Drever, Niall Vallely and Cillian Vallely.

The songs found on Ships in the Forest range from fresh arrangements of tried and true folk standards ("Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair" and "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye") to "The Fiddle and the Drum", Joni Mitchell’s 1969 anti-war madrigal and Martin Furey’s newly-composed "The Town of Athlone". Casey says of the album: "I feel that this is by far my most ambitious album to date. I think it has taken me all my years as a singer to come to the point of feeling confident enough to tackle the big songs within the traditional repertoire."

As well as touring extensively with her own band, over the past two years Karan has performed with Peggy Seeger, Liam Clancy, Solas, Lunasa, Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Karen Matheson and Donald Shaw and was involved in Mick Moloney and Paul Wagner’s Absolutely Irish film project which will be screened on PBS in 2008.

New ventures for 2008 include The Vallely Brother’s Big Band, Karan and Seamus Egan’s new project involving Aoife O’Donovan and Lau, and Niall Vallely’s "Turas na dTaoiseach/Flight of the Earl’s" event, which was premiered in Belfast’s Grand Opera House in November 2007 and is to be repeated during 2008 in Louvain, Belgium.

Casey began 2008 with critically acclaimed appearances at the renowned Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow and will be touring North America throughout February and March.

To hear samples from Ships in the Forest click here.
For Karan’s tour schedule click here.

Heidi Talbot’s IN LOVE AND LIGHT now available.

February 15, 2008
"Heidi Talbot sings in a voice that’s both awestruck and tender."

Look out for a new star in the glittering firmament of great Irish singers: with the release of her new album In Love and Light, Heidi Talbot is truly set to shine. After five years as lead singer with the Irish-American supergroup Cherish the Ladies, and high praise for her debut solo outing, 2004’s Distant Future, Talbot now extends her talents over a broader, bolder musical canvas, in company with a stellar cast of guests. Drawing on the full, diverse spectrum of influences that inform her singing, In Love and Light complements Talbot’s exquisitely expressive, honeyed yet ardent voice with guest contributions from producer Boo Hewerdine, Eddi Reader, ex-Solas guitarist John Doyle, fiddler John McCusker and flute/whistle ace Michael McGoldrick.

The launch of In Love and Light at Glasgow’s world-renowned Celtic Connections festival last month kicked off an exciting year for Talbot, who’ll be featured as a guest on forthcoming albums by Radiohead drummer Philip Selway and the new trio collaboration of John McCusker, Kris Drever and Idlewild singer Roddy Woomble. Stay tuned for upcoming reviews in Harp and Irish America Magazine.

To sample tracks from In Love and Light click here.
To learn more about Heidi Talbot click here.

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill’s WELCOME HERE AGAIN available now.

February 15, 2008
Irish fiddle virtuoso Martin Hayes and Chicago-born guitarist Dennis Cahill possess a rare, almost telepathic musical kinship. The duo’s new album, Welcome Here Again, is a fresh departure; eighteen tracks, not one of them over seven minutes, but with that same burning intensity and depth of emotion found in their previous collaborations, The Lonesome Touch (1997) and Live in Seattle (1999). It was once common for Irish musicians to record one tune at a time, to make each one a self-contained masterpiece and in Welcome Here Again this tradition is revived. The mesmeric rhythms, the tantalizing slow release of melody, the extra tone from viola or tuned-down fiddle, all of that and more can be found on this album.

Welcome Here Again is the first release on Green Linnet since its acquisition by the Compass Records Group in May of 2006 and the first studio album by Hayes and Cahill in over a decade. Hayes and Cahill are featured on the cover of this month’s Irish Music Magazine and have upcoming reviews in The Irish Times and The Irish Echo. Martin Hayes is to be featured in The Wall Street Journal this March and is the recipient of TG4’s 2008 Gradam Ceoil Award for Traditional Musician of the Year. Hayes and Cahill will kick off their Australian tour on February 24, 2008.

To sample tunes from Welcome Here Again click here.
To find tour dates for Martin & Dennis click here.

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill on NPR’s All Songs Considered

February 15, 2008
Nashville, TN - "P. Joe’s Reel" from Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill’s new release, Welcome Here Again, was featured this week on NPR’s All Songs Considered. Click here to listen.

To hear clips from Welcome Here Again, click here.
For tour date information on Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill click here.

Martin Hayes in the Press

February 08, 2008
NPR’s All Songs Considered has confirmed they will lead off Monday’s (Mon, February 11) show with a track from & announcement about Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill’s Welcome Here Again (February 12).

Also, The Wall Street Journal has confirmed they will feature Martin & Welcome Here Again in their “Cultural Conversation” section of the “Leisure & Arts” page. This will run sometime between March 10 & 13.

Sample tracks from Welcome Here Again here.

Martin Hayes named TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year

February 08, 2008

Irish fiddler Martin Hayes is the recipient of TG4’s 2008 Gradam Ceoil Award for Traditional Musician of the Year. "The Oscar of the traditional music world" (The Irish Times), the Gradam Ceoil is the highest accolade a traditional Irish musician can receive. Co. Clare born and now New England resident Hayes was delighted with the news, "To me, it’s recognition from inside the world of the music itself, which I haven’t had in awhile." Martin Hayes began playing the fiddle at the age of seven, was competing nationally by the age of thirteen, and has captured six All-Ireland titles.

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill’s latest release and first studio album in over a decade is titled Welcome Here Again. Hayes and Cahill are featured on the cover of this month’s Irish Music Magazine and have upcoming reviews in The Irish Echo and The Irish Times; appearances on WFUV’s "Ceol na nGael" and "A Thousand Welcomes".

Welcome Here Again

Available now in Ireland through Eclectic Music Distribution/RMG
February 12th in North America through Ryko Distribution
February 18th in the UK through Proper Music Distribution

Paul Brady Meets Sarah Siskind

February 08, 2008
PAUL BRADY Meets Sarah Siskind

An Evening with Ireland’s Pre-eminent Singer/Songwriter
and one of Nashville’s Brightest New Voices

Nashville, TN (February 8, 2008) - For one night only, February 23, 2008 @ 8pm, the Irish Arts Center will present Masters in Collaboration: Ireland’s Musical Greats in Partnership with a New Generation of Artists. Featuring Paul Brady and Sarah Siskind, only 99 seats are available for this rare event, to be held in the Donaghy Theatre (553 West 51st Street, NYC) of the Irish Arts Center. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased by contacting Sydney Snyder at 212.757.3318 x 204. Proceeds from this concert will go towards furthering the educational work of the Irish Arts Center.

Paul Brady is one of Ireland’s most enduringly popular artists, and widely regarded as the pre-eminent Irish singer-songwriter of his generation. He has chosen Sarah Siskind, a gifted, up-and-coming Nashville-based singer, instrumentalist and songwriter whose influences run from Irish and British folk music to Pearl Jam and Led Zeppelin via Mahalia Jackson, Jerry Douglas and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, to be his partner in a unique collaboration. During a week long workshop, Brady and Siskind will invite each other into their repertoire, exploring their distinct musical styles and approach to songwriting. Whatever emerges from this musical dialogue will be presented for the one-night-only engagement at the Irish Arts Center on Saturday, February 23rd, and may form the basis for future collaborations.

The Irish Arts Center’s Masters in Collaboration Series was inspired by renowned Irish musician-folklorist Mick Moloney to bring together Ireland’s great musical artists with new genres of music and new generations of musicians, in an effort to broaden and deepen the musical conversation between Ireland the United States.

More information:
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