Stevie Dunne talks to TradConnect about his new album Banjo

With the release of his new album on the shelves we caught up with Stevie Dunne.  The new album is simply called "Banjo" and we have been listening to it all week.  Watch this space for a review that will follow. Stevie is regarded as one of our finest banjo players. Born near Clogherhead, a small fishing village in County Louth he now resides in Belfast. Like most artists these days he has been playing music since an early age, in his case 10 and progressed to the guitar at the age of 12.  His early inspiration came from the music of Christy Moore, Tommy Makem and other great Irish singers. From guitar to banjo was a natural progression and the session circuit followed for many years. He recorded his critically acclaimed debut album in 2010 called About Time. 
He explains why he is back in the studio so soon after his debut release. After he released About Time he was bitten by the bug of studio recording and decided in late 2011 that another album would be good fun to do. The first album was all about his banjo and guitar playing and he wanted to do an album with not only banjo but fiddle and accordion, to go back to his roots to when he started off playing banjo, usually at home with fiddle and accordion. 
He explains "I asked Dave Munnelly whom I met when touring with the Irish Sea Sessions in 2011 and also Stephen Hayden whom I have known for several years and play with regularly in his bar in Pomeroy County Tyrone. Sourcing material for the album was more of a case of what not to put on as opposed to finding tunes to put on. Unlike the first where I wrote one third of the album there are only a few compositions on this one, notably Finian's Arrival for my son and The Road to the Rock and Home before Dawn denoting an icy journey to Stephen's bar one winters night."
In addition to that he also asked Arty McGllynn and he was very keen to come in and record on the album as was Michael McCague, Ryan O Donnell, Tracy Ryan, Eamon Murray and Sean Og Graham. As to recording he says that "I recorded this album in Sean Ogs Big Banana Studios where Beoga have recorded their last album How to Tune a Fish. We had many late nights, the latest being at two in the morning where myself and Stephen recorded together the sets on the album he plays on. Due to Dave's hectic schedule he was able to record in Philip Masures Folk Studios in Herentals Belgium."  With regard to any oddities on the album he tackles The Drunken Sailor in the key of A minor and Tomorrow Morning which he plays in G as opposed to D.  "It was a real pleasure and honour recording with all the lads and I felt the addition of the song which Tracy has done a wonderful job was something that I felt would give the listener another facet of my playing." 
It has resulted in a great great album so watch this space for a review. You can find out more about the album on his brand new website
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Below is a track from the album called Down the back lane master

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