All That Beauty was recorded in the winter of Northern Ireland, up in the hills in a converted shed on a Dairy farm outside of Belfast. My farmer grandfather would have said it would be a good place to milk cows. But he didn’t know much about recording music.
When it snowed I would almost have had to agree with him. If it started to snow we would walk outside, look up into the sky to try and work out if the snow was going to stop or not. If it looked like it was settling in we would have to leave the hills and the studio or we might not be able leave later on. I guess you could still keep milking cows when it snowed.
One night we did leave it too late and the drive back into town was a little dangerous! As we slid all over the road my producer, engineer and driver Hammy would only say, “We’ll be ok as long as we don’t use the brakes”. I kept thinking, but what if we need to stop!
Safely back in town, Hammy and I would sit in the front room of his house with a whiskey, looking out across the Irish Sea and discussing the plan for the next day in the studio. One night Hammy said, “Charlie Webb from Leonard Cohen’s band is coming over from London to sing on another songwriter’s song. We could ask her if she would like to sing on some of your songs”. Charlie said yes.
Many other great musicians played and sang on this album; all of them Irish except for the previously mentioned English girl. I’m a lucky Australian, but I had to go to Ireland to be one.