In 1987 I went to America armed with guitars and songs, full of terror and excitement, in my determination to find an audience beyond the shores of Ireland. In 1990 Riverside was released and so began 22 years of recording and touring in the world.
It took The acoustic Motorbike to finally get me to Australia in 1992. Immediately I fell in love with the place and every 2 years since have returned to sing my songs, and very happily so.
One of the most amazing experiences of my working life happened in Australia in June 2011. I was invited by the organisation Dalai Lama in Australia, to come to Australia and sing a particular song (As I waved goodbye) before he spoke each evening. It was an unforgettable experience for many reasons.
One of the effects, was that when I returned home to Ireland, the songs began to flow. So by November 2011 I had 15 or so songs, and felt very strongly it was important not to delay recording. For the first time in my working life, the songs seemed to consciously speak of happenings in today's world. Often my songs are dreamy or aspirational, and hopefully timeless!
But I felt real urgency about these songs. One is 'A seed was sown', inspired by my response to the Queen of England's visit to Ireland in May 2011, and her bow at the monument to commemorate Irish rebels in the Garden of Remembrance. Gaman, inspired by the tragedy in Japan in March 2011. Dignity and Backbone, inspired by the arrival of the IMF in Ireland in late 2010, after the near collapse of Irish banking. The Race runs me, inspired by the running career of Ireland's greatest female athlete, Sonia O'Sullivan.. Just a few examples.
The songs also felt bigger than me. My recent recordings were somewhat minimalist; these songs asked me to invite some legends of Irish song and music to join in. Rita Connolly, Steve Cooney, Iarla O'Lionaird, Glen Hansard, Eimear Quinn, Donal Lunny; many of the people I most admire in Ireland came to the songs and shared their gifts with me. We even sought the services of a 16 piece orchestra to bring some majesty to the work. My dear friend and collaborator in Recording, Brian Masterson pulled it all together in his empathetic way.
Every Record is in some way born of love, but this truly was a labour of love all the way through.
This New Morning comes to Australia at last, and I am happy to release it in Australia and New Zealand on Stem Music through The Planet Company/MGM; our first venture together.
And hopefully in March 2013, I will come to sing these songs in the wonderful place that is, Australia.
See you down the road,