2011 was an amazing year, during which I toured Holland with Jan Douwe
Kroeske and 2 meters crew; then went to Australia in March. There I was
invited to return ...to Australia in June to sing for the Dalai Lama each
night of his 3 week tour of Australia.
Then tours in Belgium, Ireland, and Switzerland. all the while I was
watching and reading about events in the world, and quietly writing songs.
Though not all the songs were quiet.....
By November I realised there were 20 songs needing to be loved. So of
course, I began to think about a record. Every singer thinks about a record.
These days thinking about a record is interesting, because so many people
have lost the love of records, and don't buy them anymore.
I still love the feel, the smell and the sound of record, whether vinyl or
cd. I don't have a huge collection; but I really care for what I own,
because they are part of my life.
Anyway, I began to think about these songs, and what to do. Speaking with
Brian Masterson, my recording engineer from over 30 years ago, the songs
began to grow with each conversation. In the beginning, it would be me and
my guitars and a few friends playing.
But no, I decided these songs needed more.
So I invited some of my heroes, and some of my friends, to come and sing
with me, and play with me.
Glen Hansard of the Frames and The Swell Season; Rita Connolly,
Iarla O'Lionaird, Eimear Quinn, who are some of Ireland's greatest
singers. Steve Cooney, my guitar hero. A new friend, Dirk Powell
from America on Banjo and mandolin. Mairtin O'Connor, who plays accordion
and gets deep into the soul of a song. Conor Byrne, my nephew and friend,
who's flute tones grace many of my songs. Donal Lunny, an Irish legend,
who was one of my childhood heroes with my brother Christy. Robbie Harris,
and Samuel Arnold, new friends who played percussion and sang.
Frankie Lane, a great dobro and pedal steel player. Caoimhin O'Raghallaigh,
a young Irishman who is playing a significant part in reviving the true soulfulness
of Irish music. He played fiddle. And Joe Csibi, my friend who arranged
the 16 piece orchestra on 5 tracks.
Everybody gave their all, none more than Brian Masterson, who produced the
record with me, and mixed and mastered it. I feel blessed. And in the end it
is all about the songs. The songs brought us together, and together we try
to honour the songs.
Making a record is one of the great privileges of my life. It is still in
2012, the only way I want to present my work to people. These songs are
really important to me. On this record, these songs were given all the love
No note left unsung, no note left unplayed. Just enough. I am proud of This
New Morning, and I thank all who helped bring it to life.