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


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.

New Album Launch Gig on Oct 18th

Barry launches his fifth and latest album, “Cut Throat Lane”, in the Kevin Barry
room at the National Concert Hall on Friday the 18th of October. He is delighted to
announce that Choice award nominee, and superb chronicler of the everyday, Mumblin’
Deaf Ro will be the special guest on the night. The launch will feature most or all
of the band who performed on the album, which is being manufactured as we speak.
Tickets are 10 euro and are available by clicking on the LIVE DATES link above.



















Irish Times Recession Sessions

Barry is featured in the “Recession Sessions” section of today’s Irish Times, performing the song “The Dogs on the Street”.

Skin in the Game

Barry is featured, along with Christy Moore, Roddy Doyle, Rita Ann Higgins, Gerald Dawe and others, in Donald Taylor Black’s documentary film, “Skin in the Game”.  The film examines the current financial crisis in Ireland through the responses of a number of artists who are using it as subject matter for their work.

A song gets the academic treatment

Dobbins_cover_Touchnet_largeBarry was recently delighted to learn that the song “I Fell into Old Ways”, from his 2006 album “Last Night, As I Was Wandering”, is included in the book “Lazy Idle Schemers: Irish Modernism and the Cultural Politics of Idleness” by University of California Davis literature professor Gregory Dobbins.

Dobbins uses the song to illustrate how “Irish modernism still has the capacity to jar conventional positions about work and propriety”.

The book, published by the legendary Field Day, is available here

Feb 22nd gig announced

Barry will be playing the Young Hearts Run Free event, with the great Andy Irvine on Friday, Feb 22nd at James Joyce House, 15 Ushers Island in Dublin.  Also on the bill are the Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Lisa O’Neill, and the Dudley Corporation.

Musical cohorts for the night will be Joss Moorkens on drums and Michael Murphy on bass.

Sadly, this gig has already sold out, but we’re told there is a standby list that you can ask to be added to in case any openings pop up.

New video in the works

Some stills from a video-in-progress being put together for a new song, filmed during a stroll around Paris by Adrian Crowley.

Odessa Club on Jan 24th with Mumblin’ Deaf Ro

Barry will be opening for Mumblin’ Deaf Ro (who just received a well-deserved Choice Awards Best Irish Album of 2012 nomination for his album “Dictionary Crimes”) at the Odessa Club on Dame Court, on Thursday January 24th. The cover is a mere €8.

What’s on your rider?


From the Irish Times, August 31st 2012, with Tony Clayton-Lea.

What’s on your rider? I usually promote my own gigs, so technically I’d be providing myself with a rider, which would be an act of self-delusion of Norma Desmond-esque proportions.

What would be on your fantasy rider? Someone taking care of my library fines.

What’s your pre-gig ritual/routine? I used to suffer from terrible stage fright, so my ritual involved pacing and chain smoking. Nowadays, I drink water.

How do you get to the gig? I’ve scabbed a lift to the last couple of gigs (thanks to the Spook of the Thirteenth Lock).

What’s the best gig you’ve been to? Teenage Fanclub supporting Nirvana at The Point in 1992 (I think) was the most I ever enjoyed a set. Nirvana were fairly ropey.

And the worst? It wasn’t the worst, perhaps, but the Bob Dylan gig in Vicar Street a few years back was a bit of a let down.

Who is the most famous person to have shown up at one of your gigs? I played for President Higgins at the Áras last month. I had to fight the urge to curtsy.

Most embarrassing on-stage moment? Curtsying to President Higgins at the Áras last month.

What’s your crowd-pleasing number? I have a song called “After This Low” that people are keen on. Someone made a video for it on the interweb that shows graphic scenes of violence; it seems rude to ask for it to be taken down.

What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a gig ticket? Probably not more than €30. I can’t really deal with the bigger, more expensive gigs, and you can usually hear them for free from miles away anyway.

Chatting between songs – good or bad? I’m a chronic between-song blatherer; Irish audiences expect and demand it. I once went to a Tindersticks gig where they ignored the crowd for the first few songs until someone shouted “Speak to us!”.

Groupies – would you? The closest I get to groupies are earnest, bespectacled blokes who want to discuss High Llamas’ records. They never put out.