It happened somewhat accidentally, to be honest. The wonderful accordion player Johnny B. Connolly and I have been playing together for a couple of years and he was heading home to Dublin for two months over the summer, which was the only logical time to record an album. After talking it over, it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to go there and really immerse myself in the project instead of recording at home where it is easy to be distracted by the details of life. There are, of course, all sorts of other benefits to recording in Ireland, but the decision to do so was purely practical.
Was the studio process in Ireland different to the US?
In some ways the studio process was different, but that absolutely came down to the resources available. The actual recording process itself was very similar. The difference was that we were working with Trevor Hutchinson at his Marguerite Studios and had access to the decades of experience and sound equipment that Trevor has been collecting as well as his own, incredible ear for the music.
Did you set out to achieve anything different on the album?
We did. I sing a very broad range of music from Irish, Scottish, English, and American traditions, but I really wanted to anchor this one in the song tradition of Ireland. I wanted it to sound effortless and welcoming, the way that the music was sung to me as I was growing up. It's undeniable that I am American and that I sound American, and I don't think it does anyone any good for me to pretend to be Irish or to falsely put on a dialect or affectation, but I think it is possible to re-root the music I sing in the tradition and that is what I was most hoping for.
Your song choices are very strong on the album. How did you source the material.?
Thank you! The songs were a combination of songs I brought to the table for producer Aidan Brennan to consider and songs that he brought for me to consider. We started talking about which songs we would be working on back in March and very deliberately decided to wait to make any final decisions until the week of rehearsal before we were in the studio. We knew that there would be a certain organic way that the material would develop with both of our ideas and some of Johnny's and we didn't want to force anything artificially. Aidan is a great resource for contemporary Irish songs as well so I was very happy that he suggested (and co-wrote one of ) the three more contemporary songs on the album.
What have you planned for the launch?
We are launching the album at the KVMR Grass Valley Celtic Festival on Sept 28 and 29 with the worldwide launch on Oct 1. That looks very funny to me.... worldwide! Meaning the album will be available for purchase online and download. The wonderful guitar and bouzouki player Sean Earnest ( The Yanks, The Paul McKenna Band, Kyle Carey) will join us for a month-long tour of both coasts of the US for the initial CD release shows. We have hopes of another tour in the Spring and possibly some shows in Ireland and the UK with more of the band, but that's too much for me to get my head around with everything still left to be done right now, so I'll have to keep you posted about that!