My first attempt at a proper solo album was “If We Only Knew”. It was a labour of love and it took quite a while to finish.
In 2014 I had mainly been singing Irish Traditional songs. This had influenced my writing style and I felt it was time to record. To begin with I actually spent close to two weeks in a professional recording studio. I was still pretty new to the recording process and it really didn’t go well for me. After spending quite a bit of money I realised I wasn’t happy with how it was going. It all sounded rushed or fake. I came to the conclusion that I needed to take my time with the whole thing. So I bought my own recording gear and started from scratch, determined to do it myself. It was a bit of a daunting prospect, but it felt right. I wanted the songs to sound a particular way and I knew there wasn’t a chance of that happening if the process was rushed.
I got a bit obsessive with minor details and I ended up spending months locked away in my small bedroom where I hung cushions and duvets on the walls to deaden the sound. I became a bit of a hermit agonising over the smallest of details, recording and re-recording. But I don’t regret it. At the time I needed to be happy with the finished product. I realise now that that process has the potential of taking the heart out of the music. Since then I have learnt that there can be beauty and honesty in the flaws. But after all the time spent away tinkering in the dark I eventually did get it to a stage where it was mixed and mastered and I was happy.
It was an amazing feeling to finally have the product in hand. It was my work, my album. And I’m not afraid to say I was very proud to have it completed. Finally after years of saying I was a musician, it felt like i had something solid, proof that I wasn’t just a spoofer. Up until then it was all just a pie in the sky dream. Now I could have a proper album launch, get it reviewed and played on radio. It all became real and solid. I had something of a grounding or a legitimacy. It let me settle and breath for a while. Which was badly needed. It’s not easy to live with the weight of a conventional “9 to 5” living bearing down all around you every day.
I had a bit of fun with the cover and sleeve art. I got a good friend of mine, Mitchel Nevan, to draw certain images that mimicked themes from each of the songs. So for instance, the song All For Parting is about a man leaving for Battle and his love saying her last goodbyes. So I got Mitchel to draw men going to war and a couple embracing. I hid these images throughout the album sleeve.
I got to launch “If We Only Knew” at the Ennis Trad Fest with friends and family on November 11th 2014.
As a THANK YOU for being a subscriber I’d like to give you a FREE downloadable track from the album. This song is called “Welcome Poor Paddy Home”.
And if you would like to listen to more songs from “If We Only Knew”, you can find the full album HERE.
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