The music was written and performed on my ragtag collection of guitars
and other stringed instruments including 12 string guitar, National
Steel guitar, Spanish guitar, slide guitar, ukulele, and tiple. Two
tracks feature fiddler Rosie Shipley.
I always had a sense of the kind of guitar music I wanted to make, but
I also wanted to stress the physicality of playing music; the sense of
touch, of graininess, that you get when you dig deep into the strings
and the wood. Many of the pieces are evocations of places and people
in Ireland and around the world. Fergus River Roundelay is for a
river in my native Co. Clare; Crows of Homer is inspired by a town in
Alaska; The Desert And Two Grey Hills is about looking for something
and someone in New Mexico; Stranger in Texas features a 5-string banjo
I picked up on a porch in Crockett, Texas where Lightnin' Hopkins used
to play; Deora Dé is a lament on an old National Steel guitar; Dancing
Sweeney is the bockety dance of an outsider; and The Song Sings Itself
is so named because it came easy and when I put the National Steel
lead guitar on it it just seemed to sing.
The final tracks, Oldcroghan Man and Clonycavan Man, were composed
for two Iron Age bog bodies lately discovered in Ireland, carefully
preserved by the earth to which they were committed long ago. Time
and the bog seem to have burnished them into an essence of their
persons and personalities. Oldcroghan Man was about six foot five; a
powerful man. Clonycavan Man was five foot three and wore hair gel
that could only have come from France. What stories they could tell!
When I saw them in the National Museum in Dublin, I immediately
thought about writing this music.
I hope you enjoy it.