It is January, 2021, time for a little reflection on 2020. It was a year of many things, especially change. So much change.
When the virus ended the gigs in March 2020, I mourned for a while. Managed to find the energy to complete and release Bittersweet Crimson, which was a huge blessing. THANK YOU to everyone who bought it and helped me almost pay for its creation.
I did two little gigs near home in The Aloe Tree in Ennistymon and then in my friend Hanne’s lovely North Clare home.
But I just could not embrace the livestream gigs that kicked off last year. I miss you all too much. And want to feel the adrenaline, the singing, the flesh and blood of you all – and the livestreams just don’t offer any of that, for me. Maybe this will change, but for now, I am waiting patiently, to be told when I can come close to where you are and sing with and for you.
One of the many ‘things’ 2020 became for me was the year of my guitar.
Early in the year, Steve Cooney released a stunning cd of old Irish Harp tunes, played on Steve’s guitar. It is one of my favourite records of the year.
I began to learn a few of the tunes (with Steve’s blessing). Then I drifted on to Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill, Iarla O’Lionard, Peadar O’Riada. Then I began to write some tunes on this blessed instrument made for me by George Lowden.
In the year of no gigs, alone in the living room in North Clare, it began to feel ok. Just sitting alone, playing guitar – it was healing for me.
And then I remembered…….All through my teenage years in Newbridge, County Kildare, I sat alone in the bedroom, playing my guitar and feeling ok in the world. Even then, just playing guitar for myself was my first healing meditation. And it still is.
So, in the midst of this last ‘interesting’ year, I decided to do something I had considered often, but have never done.
I spent 90 minutes every day in the same spot, learning and creating pieces of music on my guitar.
This photo was taken on the night we recorded these pieces. ‘We’ being Jon O’Connell and myself. Because of Covid, my friend and Engineer of Sound, Brian Masterson could not travel. But he couriered some microphones to us and guided us by phone. For the first time in my life I’ve recorded an album in the precise spot where the tunes were written or learned.
Jon will add some sweet touches himself.
Brian will mix and master.
There will be no songs, only tunes.
You see, I have no words for 2020. No new songs.
Creating these pieces has helped focus and calm my mind, and soothe the heart that aches for those I cannot see and am concerned for. We are all doing our best. This is the best I could have done in 2020.
I’m not a great guitar player, but there is some feeling in the sound of these pieces that resonates for me.
And I hope for some of you, it will be the same.
We will soon be there, and as soon as this is ready to send, I will let you know.
In the meantime, please be safe, be well.
Thank you all for your kindness and patience.