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Eamon O’Leary — All Souls (29 June 2018)

Eamon O’Leary — All Souls (29 June 2018)

  Eamon O’Leary — All Souls (29 June 2018)Eamon O’Leary — All Souls (29 June 2018) ★★       Eamon O’Leary je písničkář z newyorské Lower East Side, původem z Dublinu. ‘All Souls’, své první album pro Reveal Records (z 29. června) napsal úplně sám a nahrál s Jefferson Hamerem (Anais Mitchell), Benjaminem Lazar Davisem (Cuddle Magic, Joan As Police Woman, Okkervil River). Das ist překrásné, průzračné album temnoty a světla. Strávil 20 let života v New Yorku spolu s osobnostmi, jako: Sam Amidon, Beth Orton, Bonnie Prince Billy, Anais Mitchell, Anna and Elizabeth, Martin Hayes (The Gloaming) Jefferson Hamer, Bridget Kearney (Lake Street Dive) and Benjamin Lazar Davis. Ten s ním spolupracuje i na tomto albu. Pro písně je charakteristické používání steelky a organu. Pokaždé, když písně slyším, je mi dobře. Není to proto, že jsou smutné nebo tragické. Spíše proto, že tak dokonale zachytily časy, které si aréna obvykle nevšimla. Období, které činí život vzácným a stojí za to ho žít. Eamon zpívá s lehce skromným vědomím, že všechno je, jak má být, protože to je ta cesta. Nezní jako Leonard Cohen. Když poslouchám, vím, že co dělá, je nadčasové a klasické. Má některé z nejlepších recenzí. Za dlouhou dobu.
★★      „Eamon O’Leary je jedním z nejhlubších hudebníků a písničkářů zvenku ... je to tajná zbraň, podzemní hrdina.“ — Sam Amidon 
Location: Dublin, Ireland ~ New York’s Lower East Side
Album release: 29 June 2018
Record Label: Reveal Records
01 Harbinger     3:24
02 Bywater     3:05
03 Omaha     4:17
04 The Second Bottle     3:50
05 Marina Blue     4:59
06 Our Old Dominion     4:54
07 Monique     3:12
08 The Weary Child     5:58
09 The Painted Road     4:31
10 Trouble No More     2:46
★★         Eamon O’Leary is a songwriter from New York’s Lower East Side, originally from Dublin, Ireland. ‘All Souls’, his first album for Reveal Records (out 29 June), was entirely self~written and recorded with Jefferson Hamer (Anais Mitchell), and Benjamin Lazar Davis (Cuddle Magic, Joan As Police Woman, Okkervil River). A beautiful, sparse album of darkness and light.
★★         “Eamon O’Leary is one of the deepest musicians and songwriters out there… a secret weapon, an underground hero.” Sam Amidon
★★         All Souls is ten songs that highlight O’Leary’s musical talent and his knack for writing heartfelt, poetic lyrics. Like Leonard Cohen, Smog, Jackson C. Frank and Palace before him, this is music from deep within the mind and from the soul, personal stories wrapped in extremely delicate layers of sound. Eamon O’Leary has spent twenty years in New York developing his songcraft, appearing live and collaborating with esteemed artists such as Sam Amidon, Beth Orton, Bonnie Prince Billy, Anais Mitchell, Anna and Elizabeth, Martin Hayes (The Gloaming) Jefferson Hamer, Bridget Kearney (Lake Street Dive) and Benjamin Lazar Davis. ‘All souls’ is released on June 29th LP / CD / DL on Reveal Records.
★★         “Eamon O’Leary’s songs, no matter how familiar I am with them, make me well up each time I hear them. This is not because they are sad or tragic or miserable but because they so perfectly capture the moments that are not usually noticed, the moments that make life precious and worth it. He sings with a gentle modest knowing that everything is like it is because it is that way. He doesn’t sound like ‪Leonard Cohen but I feel the same when I listen. What he does is timeless and classic; some of the best music I’ve heard in a long time.” — Joan As Police Woman
by Neil McFadyen. 29 June, 2018
★★         Following his early days in Dublin with the renowned Mayock family, Eamon O’Leary moved to New York in the early 1990’s and has been quietly sharing his skills as a singer, song writer and guitarist with a range of Irish and American musicians. Whether it’s alongside guitarist Jefferson Hamer as The Murphy Beds, in his many collaborations with fiddlers Patrick Ourceau and Kevin Burke; with Nuala Kennedy, or in partnership with Nuala Kennedy and John Doyle as The Alt; his soft voice and intricate guitar style lend a quiet, beguiling artistry to any project he contributes to.
★★         This month Eamon releases his second solo album, All Souls, on Reveal Records. All Souls is a collection of self~written songs delivered with a quiet modesty that belies their intricate structure and beguiling poetry. Take, for instance, the album’s opener — Harbinger. Introduced by solo guitar full of depth and craft, it’s quietly reminiscent of mediaeval inspired 1970’s folk. The multi~textured vocal opens alongside drums and electric guitar and there’s a quiet shift towards a sound that’s more rooted in American folk; with a hint of weary melancholy,  enhanced by the barely perceptible rough edges to Eamon’s voice. It’s a captivating start to the album.
★★         For anyone familiar with Eamon’s debut solo album from 2013, Old Clump, the honest simplicity of the music will feel like the welcome return of an old friend, which is fitting. Although there are changes to the personnel joining Eamon for All Souls. He is joined by a number of old friends, among whom Emily Miller‘s soft backing vocals and perfectly placed harmonies remain a constant, and invaluable, aspect of the album. Later in the album Marina Blue, a Folk Radio song of the day in March offers a bolder introduction, and Emily’s harmonies seem to come from a deep, silky, soulful place. Declarations of love don’t come more earthy than this love song to the city of Montreal…
“If I return it will be in the spring
When the guns go silent and the sparrows sing
I’ll skin a rabbit and nail it to a door for you
My marina blue”
★★         All Souls also differs from Old Clump in that the wide range of special guests on the earlier album is replaced by more of a core band. Double bass player and vocalist Bridget Kearney featured on Eamon’s previous release. Her work with Lake Street Dive (whose retro~soul tinged ‘Free Yourself Up’ was released in May) might seem a world away from the soft harmonics of Eamon’s solo work, but Bridget has a wonderful feel for texture, exemplified by the way her bass seems to blend perfectly with the soft vocal layers in Omaha. Opening with a simple drone and Eamon’s delicately picked guitar, there are times when the remnants of his Irish accent work their way to the surface. By the third verse, the song is emboldened by electric guitar and keyboards, and the backing vocals drift into comforting harmonies before the steady drone of the opening is mirrored as the song comes to a close.
★★         That quiet organ drone makes another appearance in Our Old Dominion; a beautiful blend of early 20th~century spiritual and alt~folk. Washed up once on a strange shore, the singer finds companionship and peace but is tempted away to the sea again and never returns. “As the ocean’s dead did around me throng/I saw the night it would be long.” It’s akin to a modern retelling of lives lost at sea, in which Eamon’s voice compels attention, and takes on a nostalgic sweetness in the chorus. The organ comes courtesy of multi~instrumentalist Benjamin Lazar Davis. In addition to vocals and pump organ, Benjamin contributes drums, baritone guitar, and glockenspiel to the album; and it’s the soft whisper of his brushed snare that emerges as the album’s lead percussive voice. A long~time collaborator of Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman), Benjamin has also mastered African drumming styles through projects exploring Ghanaian and Central African music with Bridget Kearney.
★★         Bywater, inspired by the bohemian New Orleans district that sits on the edge of the Mississippi, introduces an increase in tempo; but it’s a sweetly and temptingly laconic one. The soft electric guitar for Bywater is one of two guest appearances on the album from Eamon’s musical partner in The Murphy Beds, Jefferson Hamer; whose 2013 Child Ballads album with Anais Mitchell earned a BBC2 Folk Award. Jefferson also adds a beautifully sparse electric guitar to The Weary Child, a song that seems to yearn for a life on the road.
★★         The Second Bottle opens with Thomas Bryan Eaton‘s pedal guitar, which quietly occupies much of the album. A song that embraces hope, The Second Bottle has the clearest country roots on the album, but as with every other aspect of All Souls, it’s beautifully understated. It’s a flavour, rather than a style, and the song writing is, as ever, exquisite. “The moon may not shine, nor the stars align/ but they might, if you spend the night”. Eamon has a magical way with words. He can encapsulate a moment, a notion, a hope, in a few short lines. Among the soft organ, bass and layers of guitar, Monique comes across as a song of regret, but with a hint of hope “If I could play you like a bow/would it curl your toes?/or would it leave you cold?”.
★★         Closing the album, Trouble No More feels like the slowest possible waltz, the lyrics present a stark finality — “he breathed his last in the bathtub one evening”, but also, as ever, a smattering of confidence — “our love may be wrong but our timing is right”. The closing, short, flourish of acoustic guitar, bringing the album to an end with the softest possible exclamation mark.
★★         Eamon inhabits two worlds. There’s the New York trad Irish scene, where his knowledge of the music and technical skill make him a popular choice for the area’s trad musicians. Then there’s the altogether different, but not entirely separate world of the singer~song writer, where his contemplative poetry intrigues the curious; and the intricate yet seemingly sparse arrangements seem to effortlessly ensnare our attention. It’s been proven before that the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but finding the right balance takes a master’s touch, and Eamon O’Leary has that touch. All Souls seduces the senses with songs that individually open from a distance and come rapidly closer, but collectively flow along like a gentle river current. An album that’s sure to become a firm favourite.
★★         Lives with his wife and kids in the shadow of the small and perfectly formed Ochil Hills, near Stirling. Earns his crust as a map geek. Stays sane by listening, reading, writing, walking and having his horizons widened.
★★         https://www.folkradio.co.uk/
Label: https://revealrecords.bigcartel.com/
Website: http://www.eamonoleary.net/ / http://www.jeffersonhamer.com/
Bandcamp: https://eamonoleary.bandcamp.com/

Eamon O’Leary — All Souls (29 June 2018)


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