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Monday, December 14, 2009

Celine Carroll saves us from reality TV and touches the sky

The Cherry Tree

Saturday December 12th 2009

CELINE CARROLL filled this venue in the middle of the office Christmas party season and the final stages of the X-factor.

I should imagine that most of the party goers would end up with a night to forget, while the telly viewers will end up forgetting what happened on Dec 12 in a few months from now , but those who witnessed Celine Carroll with her band will have unforgettable memories of what was one helluva gig.

That taken-for-granted term, full house, doesn't tell you much about the tremendous amount of hard work and the struggle over recent times that went into making this night happen. Had she done this a while ago, Celine , to use her words, would have "Fell on her arse in her own back garden". But thanks to the hard work of the few , there was now many waiting to attend this gig.

So, at around 10pm , Celine entered the stage. She seemed to be taken a bit by surprise, yet at the same time relieved at the size of the awaiting audience. How fitting it was to start the show with Home, to welcome the faithful to her patch. It's the first track off her previous album , Itch. A brilliant song to open with because it begins with just Celine and her acoustic guitar and the rest of the band gradually come in.

And before the audience's welcoming applause had chance to fade, we were treated to one of the best intros to arguably the most addictive song of the Itch album, Slow My Wheels. Driven along by a brilliant bass and kept in tight time with the tapping of the drum rims. Just two songs in and I was already up in the clouds.

As for the band , 3 lads popped up from Cork to assist Celine with the instrumentation, Paul Seymour on keyboards, Johnny (Green Tie?) Campbell on Bass, and Jerry (ex Hothouse Flowers) Fehily on drums. In perfect harmony on backing vocals was Celine's pal from round the corner, Siobhan Lennon.

This quintet delivered close on 3 hours worth of songs from Celine's three albums with a couple of, as yet, unreleased ones, to the point of and beyond perfection.
There were no repeats or plugs throughout the entire set. Apart from a couple of happy birthdays the first half focussed on the music. The second part of the show saw Celine giving out a few thank yous against each song to friends who have played a supporting role. Every person who was mentioned received the warmest applause. As for jokes and banter, let's just say here was a Dubliner on her own patch loving every minute.

The biggest challenge in this report is to describe her music, suffice it to say that putting words to music is a great art , putting music into words is nigh on impossible. Let's find a pigeon hole and say she's between easy and jazz , but there is of course the Irish section in the downtown HMV shop. So we'll dispense with that idea and take her CDs away from all of these categories and just file them under uncomplicated quality. Who does she sound like ? There's an easy answer - nobody else but Celine Carroll. How does she deliver her music ? With honesty and a lovely voice with the added edge of that beautiful female Dublin lilt. One guarantee is that once you hear a Celine Carroll song, it will never want to leave you. This tired old music world has many a gap in it and Celine is here to breathe a bit of life into at least one of them.

Back to the show and it's difficult to centre upon a highlight because it was perfection all the way, but Bird In A Cage definitely jaw dropped about a hundred people into total silence.

The main set closed with You're Every Beat Of My Heart which was dedicated to yours truly ... as was the first song on the Encore ... Apologise. (Her latest single, followed by my first encounter.)

The big finale consisted of a medley of Celine's Christmas Carrolls which launched the crowd into a big festive sing-song. And finally we said our goodbyes as we all headed for home , many armed with CDs, in the early hours of Sunday with Christmas, for the time being, on our minds and Celine forever in our hearts.

On a personal note , I believe that this was a wonderful finale to a year which saw Celine get significant radio airplay on both sides of the Irish Sea. From the solid foundations that were laid in 2009, may they enable Celine's musical career to become further established in 2010.

Celine Carroll - Lead Vocals , Acoustic Guitar, Piano
Jerry Fehily - Drums
Johnny Campbell - Bass
Paul Seymour - Keyboards
Siobhan Lennon - Backing Vocals

Home (Album : Itch)
Slow My Wheels (Itch)
Itch (Itch)
Yeah (Such a Beautiful Light)
Grey Sky Blue (Itch)
I Believe In Love (Such a Beautiful Light)
I Won't Be Your Fool Anymore (Such a Beautiful Light)
Before You Go (Such a Beautiful Light)
Don't Sit On The Fence Too Long (Catch You As You Fall)
Standing On My Own Two Feet Again (Itch)
Take It All In (Such a Beautiful Light)

**Interval **

You And I (unreleased)
You're Still Here (Such a Beautiful Light)
Bird In A Cage (Itch)
So Wrong (Itch)
On The Water (Catch You As You Fall)
Sweet Heart Of Mine (Such a Beautiful Light)
Love Disappear (Such a Beautiful Light)
Better Than This (unreleased)
Heart Of Gold (Such a Beautiful Light)
You're Every Beat Of My Heart (Such a Beautiful Light)

** Encore **

Apologise (Itch)
I Love You I (unreleased)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Let It Snow / Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer/Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

** Take A Bow **

Mustn't forget a tremendous support act , JEZZEBELLE

Next time you go to a live gig , spare a thought for the sound technician, the artist and the band. It's highly likely that a bit more than a 1-2, 1-2 followed by a quick tune up and line check took place in the half hour before the doors opened.
Celine , the band and the sound technician were at the venue a good 5 hours beforehand. Progressing from fizzes , bangs & feedbacks through to ironing out the finishing touches before settling for a finished item fit for public enjoyment.
The sound technician had this to contend with. Note the masking tape below the faders,just to help him cue in the right mic as Celine moved from piano to acoustic guitar.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Celine Carroll - Sweet Heart of Mine

Former RTE 2FM legend, Mike Moloney, worked for a little while on Sligo & Donegal's Ocean FM. He had a Sunday evening show called the Irish Album. He wasn't there all that long , but in that brief stint Mike uncovered some real gems. One such song was called Apologise by Celine Carroll. Such was the quality of that song , I had to buy a copy straight away. I tried all the usual places (HMV, Virgin, Amazon etc) with no success. So I wrote a speculative email to info at artiste name dot com - and I got a reply. I gladly parted company with a tenner and the album (entitled : Itch) was mine. This was followed a couple of days later by an email asking what I thought of it. Now you won't get that sort of service from U2 !
It didn't take long for me to return a few words , the album was uncomplicated and easy to get into. A couple of tracks were already beginning to emit that play-it-again demand and I wanted the world to know that I'd managed to get hold of a quality album.
I decided to contact Chester's Dee 106.3, one of my local radio stations - and on Sunday 18th September 2005 on Gavin Matthews' Request Fest , Apologise got its first UK hearing. However, although I was thrilled at the time for myself and , more importantly for Celine, my particular quest to help Celine Carroll get due recognition had only just started. But a couple major family health issues put paid to that activity for a while.
Throughout our personal trauma, Celine was very supportive. And without getting too carried away, that support will always be greatly appreciated.
18-NOV-06: Celine Carroll Gig Review We weren't exactly confined to quarters during our son's illness. We've popped over to Dublin to see Celine live , and she has visited us in the UK. Indeed, health matters have much improved and this state of normality seemed to coincide with the release of her new album Such A Beautiful Light.
I will always treat Itch as a favourite album , like Celine, it's part of the family. However, in both songwriting terms and in the quality of studio production, Such A Beautiful Light is years ahead. Indeed, there is even a theme running through it. It's a "Love" album , not luvvy-duvvy stuff, but it addresses all aspects, from the happy go lucky summer sound on Sweet Heart of Mine through to the wintery cold of loneliness in I Remember a Time.
The release of this album signals the re-launch of my own quest to get more recognition for Celine's music. And to that end Celine posted me a copy of the first single from the album - Sweet Heart Of Mine with a view to getting UK radio airplay.
After much deliberation, I posted it off to Billy Butler on BBC Radio Merseyside. Our cheers on either side of the Irish Sea were so loud when Billy played it in July, I'm certain that we launched the Isle Of Man off its moorings.
Airplay in both Ireland and the UK led to several live appearances on various radio stations, the most significant being on Ireland's national station RTE Radio 1, where Celine and her band performed on the legendary Pat Kenny Show.
Here in the UK , Roger Day (BBC Radio Kent and other networked stations across the southern counties of England) and Aled Jones (BBC Radio 2) both played her current single. But it was BBC Radio Merseyside's Billy Butler who featured her regularly and on the afternoon of Friday October 2nd, Billy's audience witnessed Celine's first live UK performance.
That weekend saw Celine make a cameo appearance at Crystals in Birkdale on October 2nd followed on the Saturday by her first solo performance at O'Connors in Orrell Park, Liverpool. Celine's weekend finale was at Telford's Warehouse in Chester(see the video).
Celine recently appeared at the Cherry Tree, Walkinstown, Dublin on Saturday December 12th , the same night as the final of X-Factor. How nice it was to have a full house on her own patch. I flew out just to be with them all .... read it here
Recent links to this blog : [Roy Norry][Mike Wilson]

Had it not been for that follow-up email in 2005, I shudder to think what would have become of Celine's musical career. I would have still been in posession of a musical masterpiece in the form of the album, Itch. Our family would have one less friend and the musical world would be missing out on a fabulous follow-up album . .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Go Faster Stripes - Kat Flint

Come on, let's make her famous - buy her latest album 'Dirty Birds' from

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Tua Nua - All I Wanted

Thought you knew your '80s,try this - I'm addicted to it. Oh yes !, and the singer ? ... She's Leslie Dowdall.

One of Eurovision's better songs

Dawn Martin, singing Ireland's Eurovision entry for 1998, (Is Always Over Now) should have walked it,came 9th.
Written by Gerry Morgan

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Frontiers - The Corrs

Just to show that I believe both versions of this Jimmy McCarthy song are as good as each other - here's The Corrs (Sharon & Caroline)

[Mary Black - No Frontiers]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beth Hart - World Without You

Just why Beth isn't a bigger star over here is beyond me .... reminiscent of Janis Joplin, don't you think ?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eddi Reader - Ae Fond Kiss


As Burns Night approaches , I dropped in on this on YouTube ...... isn't this just downright beautiful ?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Juliet Turner - Take the Money and Run


Juliet is about to embark on a UK Tour, promoting her latest album, People Have Names. I'm off to see her at Telford's Warehouse , Chester March 9th and probably The Met, Bury, March 21st