Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ELEANOR McEVOY , Alexander's, Chester - Thursday 6th February 2014

Rufus Court
Thursday 6th February 2014

As one of the first through the door at Alexander’s at around 7:30pm on a soggy February night, you are greeted by Holly (the boss), a few friendly members of staff, around half a dozen diners, my regular seat and an empty stage.
There’s not a great deal to do whilst waiting patiently for the last of the diners to hand their well licked dessert spoon to the waitress,  except to slowly slurp your coke and to check that there are no rogue instruments resting on the stands at the back of the stage. There weren’t, so It’s definitely an "Exclusively Eleanor" evening.
Thankfully it isn’t too long a wait before a couple of fellow followers locate us and our catch-ups since our last gig brought us quickly to Eleanor’s curtain call.  A quick glance round revealed a full house of 80 or so faces, old and new, all sharing a similar level of expectation.

Eleanor appeared on stage, donned the trusted Taylor (acoustic guitar) and the audience, as one, switched from transmit to receive as our artiste greeted them with Hank William’s Hey Good Looking.  Easy, comfortable and relaxed could be said of song, singer and audience. The tone was set for the rest of the evening as Eleanor flitted from one instrument to another and from one of her own songs to a cover version, each song punctuated with an entertaining story or description.

Her musical genre refuses to be pigeon holed as she is equally comfortable across the spectrum. Combine her music studies at Trinity College Dublin with her membership of the RTE Concert Orchestra and add album releases entering double figures, then quality  is high on the agenda. Eleanor played the entire gig as though she was in her own front room and the audience welcomed her in as though it was theirs.

 As far as the business end of this evening goes, Eleanor McEvoy  couldn’t have filled this venue on the strength of radio airplay. The local press helps a bit, but only a week or so beforehand.  Alexander’s was full because she has played there before and their customers’ word of mouth spreading the news. Those same customers, and then some, will return again and again because Eleanor’s and Alexander’s reputations go before them.

Website :

(Acoustic Guitar) Hey Good Looking – [Hank Williams]
(Acoustic Guitar) You’ll Hear Better Songs Than This  - [Early Hours]
(Acoustic Guitar) Deliver Me – [I’d Rather Go Blonde]
(Acoustic Guitar) Easy in Love – [Yola]
(Piano)Harbour - [I’d Rather Go Blonde]
(Piano)God Only Knows – [Beach Boys][If You Leave]
(Electric Guitar)True Colours – [Cyndi Lauper][If You Leave]
(Matchboxes) If You Want Me To Stay – [Sly & The Family Stone][Love Must Be Tough]
(Electric Guitar) The Way You Wear Your Troubles – [Out There]
(Electric Guitar) Eve of Destruction – [Eden Kane][I’d Rather Go Blonde]
(Violin) Look Like Me - [I’d Rather Go Blonde]
(Violin) Wrong So Wrong – [Out There]
(Violin) A medley of jigs & reels – [Trad Arr]
(Piano) Milord – [Edith Piaf]
(Electric Guitar) Only A Woman’s Heart – [Eleanor McEvoy]
(Acoustic Guitar) When You Smile – [Out There]
(Electric Guitar) I Knew The Bride –[Nick Lowe][Love Must Be Tough]
(Acoustic Guitar)Carrie – [Joni Mitchell]

 Eleanor McEvoy’s Album Collection
Eleanor McEvoy (1993 Geffen Records) , no longer available, but  re-issued as a special edition 2003
What’s Following Me (1996 Columbia)
Snapshots (1999 Columbia) re-mastered special edition released on the Moscodisc label 2009
Yola (2001 Moscodisc – as with all the following)
Early Hours (2004)
Out There(2006)
Love Must Be Tough (2008)
Singled Out (2009) …. There had to be a “best of” somewhere along the line
I’d Rather Go Blonde (2010)
Alone (2011) .. a spur of the moment “live” studio album
If You Leave (2013)


Friday, January 25, 2013

Uncool Radio is Music to My Ears

Radio was an absolute delight to listen to when the pirate ships (Caroline, RNI, London etc) were churning out popular music of all descriptions to meet the needs of  a young audience who had the pocket money to spend in their local music shops.
In an effort to aid the government in its process of rendering these beauties of the airwaves silent, the BBC created BBC Radio 1 , 2 and Local Radio. Individual commercial radio stations did their bit  initially  and high street music emporia remained busy until people started to get greedy.
Commercial radio stations began to merge and playlists began to lack variety. Similar things are now happening with BBC Local Radio, BBC National radio seldom plays new music by independant musicians. The end product is a tired audience.
The sad state of affairs at the only remaining High Street music store , HMV, bears testimony to this end product.
But just when you're thinking that the music industry is on that slippery slope down to oblivion, a new day is about to dawn ..... in the form of Roger Day

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Eleanor's Alone Tour isn't spent in solitude

Bury Met
Friday 7th October 2011

The Bury Met chooses its artistes carefully. So I doubt that there was little hesitation in giving an affirmative answer when Eleanor McEvoy expressed a wish to play then venue.
Six months earlier Eleanor marked her Met debut when she shared the bill with Dave Rotheray. However, there were one or two empty seats on that occasion.
So if you couple this observation with not the greatest amount of local airplay, then there is no logical reason other than word of mouth and The Met's recognition of a quality musician which brought about a near sell-out for her headlining at the same venue.

(first middle bit to come)

I didn't take note of the setlist but every song , as per usual, knocked me out. Highlights included You'll Hear Better Songs (Than This) from her Early Hours album. The album version is fantastic as of right , but the stripped down live version spotlights the lyrics and it melts the coldest of hearts. There wasn't a dry eye in house when Sophie (Snapshots) was delivered on piano and the mortgage payer , Only A Woman's Heart got the audience singing the chorus.

(second middle bit to come)

Bury Met was one of the last points of call on the Alone tour, so if you didn't manage to catch Eleanor this time round then I strongly advise that you grab a copy of this album - if you like hearing her performing live, then this album is a must have!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

50 miles to see a support act ? A blonde moment maybe !

Bury Met
Wednesday 23rd March 2011

Well, to drive off on a 100 mile round trip just to witness someone doing a support slot for a band, who you'd never heard a song from, might be considered a bit irrational, especially during these times of austerity. However, after taking into consideration that the support act is Eleanor McEvoy and the last time I witnessed her singing live was 2 albums ago, then this journey was fully justified.I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of Eleanor's latest album - I'd Rather Go Blonde - a couple of months before the official release in September 2010. I was really into it within days of receipt but I had to put it down for a while because I was focussing my attention on another Dublin singer/songwriter who I believe deserves similar public recognition.Click here if you're curious
A couple of weeks ago I returned to Eleanor's latest album and fell in love with it all over again. Come the day of the show I was gagging for this gig , be it witnessing Eleanor as a support act or a main event, it didn't matter !
A few minutes before the gig , a couple sat down next to us. They too were Eleanor fans. I was asked what my favourite track was. "The lusty one with the tubular bells at the end of the track (Take You Home)" was my hasty reply, while gnawing away at the back of my mind was a kick-ass (kick the Catholic church in its present state) song, Deliver Me. Guess what for openers ? Two and a half years evaporated with the opening bars of the first song. I couldn't give a monkey's whether she was billed as support or not. Happily, Eleanor's set was scheduled for far longer than the obligatory half an hour with an obvious weighting towards her current album, I'd Rather Go Blonde. I was absolutely mesmerised with the guitar and percussion looping on her delivery of Oh Uganda- (Video : Phillip Russell , taken at Birmingham's Glee Club)
Her violin was featured a little later in the set. Eleanor used it for 2 songs (Look Like Me and So Wrong) and an instrumental, each of the three saw her using a different way of playing. Add to the above her brilliant wit, exemplified in the way Eleanor sees Nick Lowe's I Knew The Bride from a female perspective, and I can't see any reason why she can't win over the hearts of the fans of the main act.

Deliver Me
Just for the Tourists
Oh Uganda
If You Want Me to Stay (Sly & The Family Stone)
Take You Home
Look Like Me
So Wrong
(A couple of "Trad Arr" jigs - violin)
The Way You Wear Your Troubles
I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock 'n' Roll (Nick Lowe)

As for the main act, I was the one who was navigating unchartered waters. The gig was billed as Dave Rotheray's Life Of Birds. Apart from The Beautiful South and a bit of co-writing on Eleanor's last 2 albums, that is where my knowledge, and indeed interest, had reached up to the night of the gig. Were it not for Eleanor , I would have given the event a miss. So enter stage Dave Rotheray , wearing a hat, coat & scarf, plus four band members: keyboard player, male lead vox, female lead vox and a percussionist whose paraphenalia could only be equalled by Duke Special's mate , Chip Bailey. Once settled , Dave utters, "I wrote this song while I had and ear infection , watching the birds in the back's all about the music industry (etc).... it's called The Sparrow , The Thrush & The Nightingale" Have I wasted my money ? was one of my first thoughts. My second thought was that I'd better not glance over to the missus for the nod of approval. As it turned out , it was a really catchy song, lyrically cohesive and vocals by Jim Causley & Bella Hardy blended perfectly. Each song therefater was described in a witty manner as the audience became increasingly immersed into the complete delivery of The Life of Birds album. Eleanor appeared as lead vox mid way through the set for Almost Beautiful , a sad song about a loved one suffering from Altzheimer's. Needless to say a copy of The Life of Birds CD made its way into my collection at the end of the show.
Eleanor , Bella & Jim along with an array of prominent musicians including Kathryn Williams and Eliza Carthy are listed amongst the co-writers. It should be a collecters piece for any discerning music fan.

Dave Rotheray - Guitar, vocals, narratives
Gary Hammond - Percussion (various)
Damon Butcher - Keyboard
Jim Causley - Lead Vocals, Accordian, Portable Xylophone and keyboard
Bella Hardy - Lead Vocals, Violin, Portable Xylophone, shakers
Eleanor McEvoy - Lead Vocals (guest)

FOOTNOTE I went to see Eleanor and The Dave Rotheray Band performing at Edge Hill Station, Liverpool a couple of days after this gig. There were a couple of changes from her Bury Met set. The most significant difference was that she changed from Fender to acoustic. Oh Uganda was even more impressive. There were also a couple of song changes. One noticable addition was a switch to keyboards for Harbour - for the intellectual, check the lyrics for the use of Harbour (verb) and Harbour(noun) !
A friend of mine (Mark Huddart) shot this video of Eleanor singing Almost Beautiful

Monday, November 08, 2010

1-2-3 , It's as easy as BBC for Celine Carroll in the UK

1-Growing Fan Club , 2-High Profile Gigs, 3-Radio Interviews


CELINE CARROLL’s visit to the UK at the end of October 2010 witnessed her tending the airplay crops from her impressive list of radio stations in North West England. There was also a small matter of 2 gigs at established music venues, coupled with press releases across the full spectrum of media publication platforms.
This 5 day tour of Merseyside and Cheshire was always going to be unforgettable – the fun started straight after she left home. Ryanair Flight FR445 was still on the Dublin tarmac at the time it was due to arrive in Liverpool.
Fortunately for Ernie Welch and Roger Westwood at Winsford’s Cheshire FM (Wed 8pm-10pm), their guest, Celine Carroll, was only delayed by about an hour. So there was plenty of time to hold an interview , perform a couple of live songs and plug the forthcoming gigs in Liverpool and Chester.

The following morning saw Celine visit Andy Wrob at 7 Waves Radio(Mon-Fri 7am-10am) to say thank you to the weekday breakfast show presenter for all his support and airplay.

Two UK radio stations supporting an Irish independent musician is good going in many people’s eyes, but the best was yet to come. There was a small matter of an interview and 2 song set with Billy Butler on BBC Radio Merseyside on the agenda. This Liverpool based station proudly boasts the largest local radio audience outside London. An impressive coup indeed, especially as this was her 2nd appearance in 12 months. More importantly, the letters BBC stand out like an honours degree on anybody’s CV. Even major musicians are flattered by a return visit to BBC Radio Merseyside’s legend, Billy Butler !

The third radio interview and live set fell between Celine’s gigs. And like many a feast it was rather fitting that the best was saved until last. Tony James has been playing Celine’s music week in week out for the past 12 months or so. So it was fitting that Celine should be afforded airtime on 7 Waves Radio(Sat 7am-11am & Sun 7am-10am). Both discussed their in depth knowledge about the music world as a whole as well as Celine’s music and forthcoming gigs in particular. Between them they provided a refreshing escape from the same old same old which has now become the tiring monotony of UK radio output.

Celine’s two gigs were at high profile music venues. The first of which saw her headline a Liverpool Acoustic show at the View Two Gallery in Mathew Street, just about opposite the Cavern Club. The show was listed as part of the annual Liverpool Irish Festival.

Her other gig was at Alexander’s Jazz Club, Rufus Court, Chester. This particular venue is a nationally recognised music venue.
The gigs at each venue were well publicised on several websites as well as their respective press releases. The write up for the View Two Gallery made its way to the Liverpool Irish Festival annual brochure, while Alexander’s gave Celine a full column in the Chester Chronicle.
Gig reviews will duly warrant the same enthusiasm as those that have been previously published because her quality never waivers. Couple the pre-gig publicity with the fact that both of the aforementioned venues and radio stations have no hesitation over welcoming her back, then the result is without question. Celine Carroll has well and truly announced her arrival in the UK.

Click here for Celine Carroll's website

The week after her visit to the UK Celine headed off for a tour of The Netherlands. Here is Celine singing All I Want Is You at Hardewijk.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nothing Rhymed ? ..... more like Nothing Changed !

Nothing Rhymed - Gilbert O'Sullivan

40 years or more ago the inequalities of this world inspired Gilbert to compile this classic line.

"When I'm drinking my Bonapart shandy eating more than enough apple pies, will I glance at my screen and see real human beings starve to death right in front of my eyes".

And yet still this remains a familiar story.

I bet the word "Genius" was included amongst the foremost of your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Please please get me Don't Get Me Wrong ! Right?

I'm looking for CD album by Frances Black called Don't Get Me Wrong. The title track was written by Celine Carroll.
It was released in 1998 on one of those big conglomerate record labels. For reasons best known to themselves this big record company has decided to sit on it.
You can buy the original song from Celine - please do so by the way. It's on her debut album called Catch You As You Fall, (Produced by Declan Sinnott) from iTunes or Celine's website
I can't tell you what Frances' version sounds like , but it looks a bit like this