Spring Tour 2017

Spring Tour 2017

Barry McCormack and J. Cowhie will be taking their double-header Spring Tour along
the highways and byways of Ireland this April, kicking off with a show in the
Vintage Room in Dublin’s Workmans Club on Wednesday the 5th. They’ll be guests of
Jim White at Limerick’s Kasbah on the 6th, upstairs at the Roisin Dubh, Galway, on
Saturday the 8th and finishing off with a show in the Triskel Arts Centre’s Gulpd
Cafe in Cork on Sunday the 9th. They will mostly be solo shows, but there might be
some guest musicians along the way.

J. Cowhie’s excellent album ‘Veil’ is available on Bandcamp, as is Barry’s latest The Tilt Of The Earth

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RTE & KCLR FM Sessions

Barry recently recorded a couple of radio interviews and sessions to discuss the new album, “The Tilt Of The Earth”.

On Thursday, November 10th he appeared on RTE Radio 1’s arts show Arena, where he talks about the record, and all things Dublin with host Kay Sheehy. The show also features two songs from the album (“The Great North Road” & “The Chinese Barman) recorded in session with Gary Fitzpatrick on accordion and banjo, and Mary Barnecutt on cello.  You can listen to the show at the link below.

RTE Arena – Nov 10, 2016

Also, back in October Barry chatted with Ken McGuire on Kilkenny’s KCLR, and performed a solo rendition of the album’s lead track “All The Things You’ve Done”. You can listen on Soundcloud here.

Ken McGuire on KCLR – Oct 7, 2016

“The Tilt Of The Earth” now available from Hag’s Head Records

tilt_coverBarry’s sixth solo album “The Tilt of the Earth” is now available on CD for order directly from Hag’s Head Records.

Or if you prefer, you can get the album via digital download from the links further down this page.

Just select from the list below, and click on the Add To Cart button.


Price with postage & packaging to





DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Google Play
iTunes Ireland
iTunes UK
iTunes US
Spotify

First video from “The Tilt of the Earth” released

“All The Things You’ve Done” is the first video from the forthcoming album The Tilt of the Earth (released October 21st 2016). Shot by Raymond Beggan in the City Markets area of Dublin. The Tilt of the Earth is the sixth album by Barry McCormack – an ambitious meshing of folk storytelling with sounds and textures from the realms of Krautrock, art rock and minimalism.

New album, “The Tilt of the Earth”, available October 21 2016

The image on the front cover of Barry McCormack’s sixth album The Tilt of the Earth is of sunset over a stretch of Dublin’s Grand Canal heading west through the city’s arteries—in the foreground the canal waters are flanked by a towpath, on the opposite bank a line of electricity pylons are mirrored in the murk of the water. This scene is lit from behind by the vapour glow of the industrial estates that populate this part of town—it’s a halfway world, a place that lies somewhere between town and country and where remnants of the past can still be seen under the yellow-light of the modern city.

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It’s a similarly skew-whiff world that the characters in these new songs inhabit, negotiating their way through it with difficulty, but not without dignity, leaning against the bar, hiding from election canvassers and avoiding the landlord. The Tilt of the Earth is an album full of worlds colliding and merging, where night makes way for day and the local reveals the universal.

Indeed, the album is also a meshing of a musical kind; of the folk storytelling tradition McCormack has been steeped in since he began writing songs with sounds and textures from the realms of Krautrock, Art rock and minimalism, conjured up with co-producer and collaborator Stephen Shannon and some fine musicians: John Hegarty (keyboards and guitar), Michael Murphy (bass), Gary Fitzpatrick (accordion, banjo and backing vox), Joss Moorkens (drums), Mary Barnecutt (cello) and Bill Blackmore (trumpet).

Recorded in Shannon’s Experimental Audio studios in Dublin over the guts of eighteen months between January 2015 and summer 2016 the album is a major departure for McCormack whose songs have been described as being short films about his hometown and with this ambitious record have evolved to become much more cinematic in scope, scale and feel.

The Tilt of the Earth is released on October 21st 2016 on Hag’s Head Records.

New Video – “When The Windows Shake”

The video for the song ‘When the Windows Shake’, taken from McCormack’s latest album “Cut Throat Lane”, was filmed by Choice Award winning singer-songwriter Adrian Crowley. A companion piece of sorts to the video he made for Barry’s song ‘Worse Things Happen at Sea’, which they filmed in Paris, this time they shot footage in the more familiar surrounds of Dublin city centre and amidst the faded grandeur of the promenade in Bray. Scenes of cheap raincoats, scraggy pigeons and some majestic views of Killiney Bay are juxtaposed with lyrics about a town under threat from apocalyptic flooding, social disorder and illegal tobacco products.

The songs on Barry’s latest album “Cut Throat Lane” were described by The Handsome Family’s lyricist Rennie Sparks as ‘gritty short films that deeply and sensitively evoke the dark, damp streets of modern Dublin…like James Joyce’s Dubliners McCormack’s new album is a story of Dublin told from many voices…turning dark doings into beautiful art’

The Irish Times gave it four stars, saying ‘there is surely not a better narrative lyricist in Ireland…brilliant’

Barry McCormack and his band, with guests Let’s Get Lost, play Seanachai, Kinsale on May 2nd, Mr. Bradley’s, Cork City on May 3rd (with very special guests Boa Morte), The Pumphouse, Kilkenny on May 4th as part of the Kilkenny Roots Festival (without guests Let’s Get Lost) and The Cobblestone, Dublin on May 17th.

Worse Things Happen on Line 11

I could see the newspaper headlines ‘Sensitive singer-songwriters die of panic attack on Paris metro’. We could both smell the stench of smoke and had alighted onto a platform somewhere on line 11 between Belleville and Mairie des Lilas stations to escape the ensuing carnage.

France had just gone to war in Mali and I had dragged Adrian Crowley here at the worst possible time to film me walking around Paris looking existential; now we were about to meet a gruesome end in a subterranean gas attack. The locals seemed oblivious to their impending doom and went about their affairs with a shrug of their shoulders, as is their wont.

It wasn’t the first time I had got into a flap on French public transport. Having spent a year living in Paris teaching English I had learned the hard way about negotiating the city’s buses and trains and the etiquette involved– the dog-eat-dog jostling for position, the flip-seat politics and the predilection for heavy-petting on packed rush-hour trains. My days were spent going from one end of the city to the other teaching business people in their offices, which mostly involved discussing Ken Loach films with nuclear engineers who spoke barely a word of English. Throw in my own lack of French and the scene was set for daily shame in boulangeries, office receptions and metro station ticket desks. ‘I’ve moved to Paris by mistake!’ is what I felt like shouting at random strangers, but I wasn’t sure how it translated into French.

Somehow I had managed to convince the ever-amenable Adrian to meet me off one of his gruelling tours around Europe with the promise of a room in the worst hotel in Paris, wanton Leffe abuse and some hungover flaneuring. While we rambled, and I rambled on, Adrian would film me on his phone and we might get a video from it.

The hotel was fine, if you avoided the rooms, which reminded me of the rooms I had seen on a documentary about a hostel in Camden Town for Irish navvies fallen on hard times– cell-like, penitential and grim. It was the stench that did it though; years of lung-busting fag abuse had left a bang of stale smoke that was ingrained into the carpets and curtains.

Popping in to see him in his room, I was met by a stunned Adrian, who had, while opening the window to let in some air, witnessed a bloke in the building across the alley pick up a hand gun from the table and place it into a holster. Thinking he might have been mistaken, I took a look myself and indeed saw a scary looking heavy with a gun strapped to his back. I was half shocked and half relieved that the gun incident might deflect from the shit hotel situation. Fortunately, having just come off a tour, Adrian was road-hardened and slightly delirious and seemed to find the whole thing hilarious. I later realised that we were positioned opposite the local police station and we’d seen a plain-clothes cop getting suited and booted before going out to bust some heads (or get a crepe).

Setting out on to Boulevard de Magenta we headed toward my old stomping ground of the Canal Saint Martin area, which is now home to the notorious ‘bobos’ or ‘bourgeois-boheme’. Once a working-class district along the canal and home to immigrants it is now full of bars and cafes teeming with trendy creatives and hipsters. Our plan was to film during the day because the light would suit the camera on Adrian’s phone better, so we went to get fed and watered.

It was while we were sitting in a café looking out on to the stretch of the canal where it disappears underground (the Parisian ‘renovator’ Baron Haussmann had it covered over in parts to stop the local denizens using it for protection during times of political upheaval) that something serendipitous happened– a gentle but steady snowfall began. At first we didn’t particularly take heed, but heading back up toward Rue de Lancry Adrian noticed that the streetlights were particularly bright and the shadow of the snowflakes against the light was striking. Passing the bridge by Hotel du Nord (the location for a famous scene in the eponymous film) I suggested we shoot something and see what it looks like. I began to walk up and down the bridge in the snow while Adrian shot on his phone. We then walked down toward the painfully hip ‘Chez Prune’ café and we got some more footage at the bridge there.

We had earned ourselves a break for refreshments, and as head of catering for the shoot I demanded we repair to ‘Le Patache’ on Rue de Lancry. When I had lived along the canal the bar had been run by a bickering elderly couple who were like a Gallic version of the couple who run the shop in Father Ted. By closing time the husband would be stocious drunk and his hard-bitten wife would have to shut up shop (this involved dragging huge wooden shutters up from the cellar to place on the windows, a la Mrs Doyle). It was clear that since I’d been here last the couple had moved on and the place had been done up by new bobo owners. While I supped on a Belgian beer, Adrian got his phone out and shot some footage of me supping on a Belgian beer. Soon it was time for Adrian to retire and for me to return to my own dingy cell to watch CSI Miami in French.

My concept for the video had been that I would be on the streets of Paris then descend into the metro, take a train and emerge somewhere in Dublin. However, having no storyboard or structure and a limited amount of time to do it (Adrian is a busy man) I had come to realise that this plan was way too ambitious. So instead we had decided to continue filming me walking the city around looking moody. The next morning we lit out for the parts of Paris that I had wound up feeling most at home in while living there– the gritty areas of Belleville and Menilmontant, where the streets are thronged with immigrants and arty types, the gutters are piled high with strange gunk and the architecture is modernist and ugly. I had thought that this might be a great place to get shots of north-eastern Paris’s faded grandeur. Sadly, while wandering up Rue de Menilmontant on a grey Tuesday morning I began to realise that it had all looked better in my head than in reality.

So we headed for that legendary necropolis Pere Lachaise, which was bound to serve up no end of rich pickings for Adrian (never a man to let a spooky mausoleum pass without a giving it a good once over). It was here we were approached by a strange man who seemed to have walked out of a film (this seems to happen a lot when I’m with Adrian) who we politely brushed off and we continued on our way. I was beginning to wonder if cruising in cemeteries was something that Parisians were into when we stumbled on the strangest sight. It was the burial place of a man named Victor Noir, which Adrian had heard was used as a fertility aid by Parisian women. There is a life size statue of him lying horizontally on the tomb that in the words of Wikipedia ‘has a very noticeable protuberance in Noir’s trousers’. According to legend, if one straddles Victor and kisses him on the lips you’ll get pregnant/find a husband/improve your sex life. As a result of all of the action he’s been seeing the lips and privates of Monsieur Noir have become ‘well-worn and shiny’. (This is the Parisians’ version of the moving statues, the dirty feckers). Having spotted a virginal patch of snow stretching along a row of tombs Adrian got me to walk through it, filming the prints left in my wake. He was confident that we had enough for a video, but I had one more location I wanted to check out before calling it a day.

It was this whim I wanted to satisfy that would lead us to our near-perilous situation on the metro. While roaming through YouTube looking for footage of metro stations I had stumbled on Serge Gainsbourg’s seminal song and video ‘Le poinnceneur de Lilas’ ( ‘The Ticket Puncher of Lilas’). It’s a song about a metro station attendant having an existential crisis who ends the song by predicting that once he’s finished punching holes in tickets he’ll punch one in his own head. We would go there in homage to the man himself and try to get something on film. We had nothing to lose.

We stepped on to a train at the Pere Lachaise station and soon we both felt uncomfortable trying to get a standing spot in the centre of the carriage. While fighting with the hordes for air I was reminded of how the metro is hell at certain times of the day. This was when I got a whiff of what smelled like smoke and my over-active imagination kicked in. Here in the heart of North African Paris, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were about to strike back at the French colonialists who had just sent in troops to the Sahara. No doubt about it, we were about to meet our makers. Adrian may not have been thinking the same thing, but I was sure he had smelled the smoke. We bailed at the next stop and gasped for air. After a few minutes I had to admit to myself that it was probably just the smell of a scorched tyre on the train. We dusted ourselves off and got on the next train heading for Porte des Lilas. Once we had got there, we found that it was a pretty mundane place with little of the romance inspired by the video. Still and all, we’d got there in one piece, so Adrian took out his phone and filmed me sitting on one of those plastic seats observing the trains arriving and commuters alighting.

We hopped on a train to take us back in towards the city (getting some more shots of me contemplating life and death on an empty carriage) and we were done. We later headed for ‘Le Zorba’ bar in Belleville near the birthplace of Edith Piaf for libations where memories become hazy, apart from the angina inducing bar bill we were handed at the close of the evening.

Barry (and band) plays The Cobblestone, Smithfield, Dublin on Thursday 19th of December. Special guests for the night are The Pigeons.

A Trip Down “Cut Throat Lane”

Barry recently did an interview with Alan Corr for RTE, in which he talks about the inspirations behind his new album, “Cut Throat Lane”.




RTE also recorded Barry performing two songs from the album – “Creatures Of Habit” and “Cut Throat Lane” – which you can find in the videos section.

“Cut Throat Lane” now available from Hag’s Head Records

“There is surely not a better narrative lyricist in Ireland; all 10 tracks brim with real life in all of its sticky, boiling mess. Brilliant”
Irish Times“…the songwriting and arrangements sparkle…a singular songwriter who defies categorisation…he occupies a creative space all his own and we’re lucky to have him”

Hot Press

cutthroat_coverBarry’s fifth solo album “Cut Throat Lane” is now available on CD for order directly from Hag’s Head Records.

Or if you prefer, you can get the album via digital download from Amazon and iTunes by following the links further down this page.

Just select from the list below, and click on the Buy Now button.

 


Price with postage & packaging to:




DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

iTunes IRL
iTunes UK
iTunes US
Amazon UK
Amazon US

New album “Cut Throat Lane” released on Oct 18th

cutthroat_cover

Barry’s fifth solo album Cut Throat Lane is a love song to Dublin that sees the city in the midst of an economic meltdown yet with life very much going on, almost as normal.

The album evokes the ordinariness of urban life alongside its sinister shadow self, it captures private moments behind twitching curtains in tandem with its hectic street life. All the while the songs are hooky , melodically stronger and musically more nuanced than anything he has attempted before, thanks to a band of exceptional backing musicians and the light touch of Stephen Shannon, who produced the album with McCormack.

According to the annals ‘Cut Throat Lane’ was once the name of a thoroughfare in Dublin’s Liberties, until it was changed to something more appealing by the city authorities (the equally unsettling ‘Murdering Lane’ once stood next to it). It was this strange street moniker that gave McCormack the inspiration for the album title and its title track; a song in which goings on are observed by a man killing time on the steps of City Hall, watching the ‘dirt and confusion’ (the words used by Charles Dickens to describe the slums of Dublin) and ‘the ebb and the flow’ of the city.



Never Leave The House from Cut Throat Lane

The observational and voyeuristic concerns of the flaneur  are to the fore throughout the album; in ‘The Night Before The Horse Fair’ the possible carnage of the Smithfield horse fair is the backdrop for a relationship meltdown as witnessed by a reluctant guest; ‘A Moment Of Silence’ chronicles the hysteria that engulfed the country as the Troika first came to town ; ‘Worse things Happen At Sea’ describes a city and its suburbs dealing with the curse of gang shootings  and the presence of ‘shadowy creatures’ who are condemned to roam the streets in search of drink, drugs and soup kitchen hand outs.

While it all sounds grim and gritty, Cut Throat Lane is imbued with a sharp sense of humour, like the people of the city that inspired it. Indeed, the album’s production and arrangements are brighter and poppier than anything McCormack has done before, thanks to producer  Stephen Shannon, who works his not inconsiderable his magic on it, and to the top-drawer musicianship on display: venerable local folkie Gary Fitzpatrick layers on six part vocal harmonies and plays some mean banjo and accordion; Joss Moorkens of The Dudley Corporation brings his subtle drum skills to the songs; Michael Murphy from The Chapters puts down some swingy bass lines, while John Hegarty almost steals the show with some virtuoso keyboard and electric guitar playing, which are worth the entrance alone.

Barry, with full band, launches Cut Throat Lane with a gig in the Kevin Barry Room at Dublin’s National Concert Hall on Friday, October 18th.  Special guest on the night will be 2013 Meteor Award nominee Mumblin’ Deaf Ro.