Heidi Talbot, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, John McCusker & Paul Meehan
Rejoice in the energetic polkas and slides of West Kerry and waltzes, marches and reels from Scotland, as four folk musicians at the top of their game come together for the very first time. Chanteuse Heidi Talbot has garnered rave reviews for her live performances, both with Cherish the Ladies and as featured soloist with Idlewild, King Creosote and Eddi Reader among others, and the pairing of her expressive vocals with the extraordinary voice of trad maestro Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich is a match made in heaven.
Winner of BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year, John McCusker goes where other trad musicians fear to tread, sharing a stage with the likes of Paul Weller, Roseanne Cash, Paolo Nutini, Teenage Fanclub and Eddi Reader in addition to being a member of Mark Knopfler’s band since 2008. Completing this stellar line-up is Manchester-born guitarist Paul Meehan, who has toured with such high profile bands as Lúnasa, Na Dorsa, North Cregg and Buille. Unmissable!
“Simply vocal heaven” – The Sunday Times [on Talbot]
“Ó Beaglaoich’s voice shimmers” – The Irish Times
“One of the UK’s most gifted and versatile musicians” – The Guardian [on McCusker]
“Outstanding’’ – Folk World [on Meehan]
About Heidi Talbot
Heidi Talbot’s fifth solo LP, Here We Go, 1, 2, 3… plays to the tune of quiet skips and giant leaps. It crosses the ages, jumps into the unknown, traverses oceans and musical styles – from folk, through Americana, to classic pop, and back again. The Co Kildare singer / songwriter, who now resides in Scotland with her musical partner and husband John McCusker, is joined by a host of musicians and co-writers on the album, including Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow), Duke Special, Adam Holmes and Boo Hewerdine. “The title, Here We Go, 1, 2, 3, takes that idea of jumping, whether it’s into new musical territories, new bands, a new studio, new label, new family – new everything, really,” says Talbot, the recipient of 2008’s Indie Acoustic award and multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations. A lot has happened since my last album. We’ve built a recording studio, and started a label, and I’ve got a different band. I’ve had a second daughter. I’ve lost my mum. So, it feels like – okay, get ready to jump…”. Here We Go, 1, 2, 3 explores the tricks and traits of time – the way it passes, rushes, falls back on itself. “The album was written over a couple of years,” Talbot says. “I stopped touring, stopped recording, took some time after having another baby, and sorted everything out in my head a little bit.” And although it was recorded in just ten days - “it’s the quickest album I’ve ever made,” she offers – it’s a measured and unhurried long-player which reflects on birth, and death, and getting older, from gorgeous country-pop meditation ‘The Year That I Was Born’ (co-written with Louis Abbott), through downtime bluegrass psalm ‘Do You Ever Think Of Me’, to exquisite mortal jig ‘Time To Rest’, written by Adam Holmes.
The album revels in the comforting, and restorative, powers of music. A strong sense of family and home is reinforced by the album having been recorded in Talbot and McCusker’s self-built studio, housed in a converted eighteenth-century bothy next to where they live in the Scottish Borders. The title track is inspired by an old gospel song. “I loved the idea of it being quite uplifting, of it not being a funeral hymn, even though it’s about death,” Talbot offers. The same could be said of a bright and beautiful album that touches on grief, depression and love. “It’s as sad as you want it to be,” she says, smiling. It’s equally heartening, cheering and enlightening. Hope springs eternal.
About John McCusker
Born in Bellshill, near Glasgow, John began playing whistle and fiddle as a child and joined the legendary folk outfit Battlefield Band aged 17. During his 11 years with the band, he also released his first two solo recordings, 1995’s self-titled debut and 2000’s Yella Hoose. His most recent albums include Under One Sky and the reissues of Yella Hoose and Goodnight Ginger re-mastered deluxe. John has long been renowned for his skill at transcending musical boundaries: striving to keep his music fresh and exciting, never leaving the past behind but always embracing new sonic adventures. As a live and studio guest he has shared stages with Paul Weller, Paolo Nutini, Teenage Fanclub, Graham Coxon and Eddi Reader. Since 2008, he has been a member of Mark Knopfler’s band, playing arenas around the world including a double bill with Bob Dylan at The Hollywood Bowl and 20 nights at the Royal Albert Hall.
An expanding portfolio as a producer features debut albums by Kris Drever and Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble. He’s also manned the controls for top folk chanteuses Eddi Reader, Heidi Talbot, Eliza Carthy and Linda Thompson. Film and TV work includes soundtracks for the movie Heartlands (2002) and 16 Years of Alcohol (2003), Billy Connolly’s World Tour of New Zealand (2004), Jennifer Saunders BBC sitcom Jam and Jerusalem (2008) & Starlings sitcom for Sky TV (2012). John was awarded the coveted BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year in 2003 and also The Spirit of Scotland Award for music in 1999 and again in 2009. 2016 saw John receive the Good Tradition Award and perform with his band at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at The Royal Albert Hall.
In celebration of his 25th Anniversary as a professional musician, John McCusker released ‘Hello, Goodbye’ on April 29th 2016 and embarked on an extensive UK & European tour. A wonderfully evocative set of compositions, ‘
About Brendan Begley
Brendan Begley is bursting with the wild and beautiful music of West Kerry. As a singer he is a gentle giant. On the accordion, he is a force of nature. His is music that could not exist were it not for the mountains, seas and storms of his native "Corca Dhuibhne" more commonly known as the Dingle Peninsula.
Born into a famous musical family, the youngest of nine children, Brendan soaked up the music and song of West Kerry from an early age. Slides, polkas, songs and slow airs all run through his veins. He now carries on the tradition of his home place while playing with the next generation of Begley’s, namely his children Bréanainn on Guitar, Cormac on concertina, Conchúbhair on accordion and Cliodhna on fiddle and sean-nós dancing.
He has three acclaimed solo albums to his name, as well as numerous recordings with the groups Boys of the Lough and Beginish. With the Boys of the Lough, he has toured extensively throughout the United States, and has been featured repeatedly on the Garrison Keilor radio program "A Prairie Home Companion". He also does work with TG4 researching and presenting proggrammes and also is involved in the organising of Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh which is held in west Kerry each February.
About Paul Meehan
Guitar, banjo, bass player! Paul has performed and toured with Lunasa, At First Light, Liz Carroll, Karan Casey, Micheal McGoldrick, North Cregg and much more.
‘Paul Meehan’s album ‘The Lower Road’ features fluent guitar and banjo work, a brilliant musician with great tunes. Recommended even to those who think they hate the banjo! It’s simply a great album’ - Mike McGoldrick
For some time now, Paul Meehan has been considered a musician’s musician. Supporting others with his driving yet understated, inventive and pulsing playing, creating a platform for Ireland’s leading lights to shine. Finally, he has emerged from the shadows, to release his eagerly awaited debut album “The Lower Road”. This immensely talented multi instrumentalist takes centre stage, playing Banjo and Guitar on this beautifully crafted, fresh and energetic, yet solidly traditional album.
Born in Manchester, Paul was introduced to the guitar and banjo at the tender age of 8. Schooled by traditional music ‘guru’ Peter Carberry and by renowned teacher Angela Durkin, his playing flourished in the company of contemporaries such as Mike McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly & John Joe Kelly. It’s no coincidence therefore that his musicianship is so highly regarded by his peers. Returning to Armagh in his teens he quickly established himself on the local music scene, counting Arty Mc Glynn and Cathal Hayden, Stockton’s Wing & Mairtín O’Connor amongst his major influences. Playing music professionally since the late 1990’s, Paul has variously been a founding member of North Cregg, The Karan Casey Band, Na Dorsa & Buille. He recorded 2 albums and toured for 7 years with, arguably, Ireland’s leading traditional group Lúnasa. He has performed and recorded with the legendary American fiddler Liz Carroll and collaborated with international touring acts such as Altan, Natalie Merchant, Paddy Keenan, At First Light, Tommy Peoples, John Carty, Tejador and Brian Finnegan of Flook to name but a few.