February 6th 2020 was the date of my last solo show .
It was in a lovely festival in Geneva.
Then the virus came.
During 2020 I just surrendered to this new world, and let go of the need to be out there doing the gigs.
Steve Cooney had just released his beautiful cd of old harp tunes.
I picked up my guitar, and began to learn the beautiful Bridget Cruise from that record.
After a few more tunes, I decided to try and interpret the stunning Aisling Gheal.
I’ve been listening to Iarla O’Lionaird sing it for decades.
Then I tried some classic tunes from Peadar O’Riada, Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill, and then Cathal Hayden.
Basically I returned in my mind to the teenage boy in Kildare in the 1970s, sitting alone in a room, playing guitar every day, with no audience.
And I loved it.
Slowly new, original airs began to invite their way into the instrument, so I added them.
I decided to commit 2020 to my friend, the Lowden classical, made for me some years ago by the legend that is George Lowden.
Every day for 90 minutes I’d just sit in the same spot and either learn or write a new tune.
As the year progressed, I found this exercise most healing, in a year when healing was needed.
By October I had about 15 pieces of music.
Brian Masterson came on board. Jon O’Connell came on board.
We were going to go to Windmill Lane.
Then the next lockdown happened, and I decided to record this music at home, in the room where the pieces were written or learned.
Jon recorded my performances.
Jon added some gorgeous music himself, as did Adam Shapiro and Susan O’Neill.
Brian mixed and mastered in Dublin.
And here we are in February 2021, about to release my 3rd record in 12 months.
First there was Live in De Roma from a concert in Antwerp.
Then Bittersweet Crimson in July 2020.
And now, I present Out of the Blue.
My first album of 11 instrumental tunes.
No songs. No lyrics. Just music.
The first 200 pre-orders will be the first to be shipped and will be signed.
I’m both excited and nervous, making this announcement.
In a year of stillness, it is a shock to me that this has been completed.
Nervous, but happy and grateful.
Thank you Brian Masterson and Jon O’Connell for believing this was a worthwhile project and for guiding me through it, and bringing so much to it.
Hanne Fisker took the photo.
Myriam Riand designed the artwork.
It is gone to the printer today.
Thank you all and off we go………