I'd never been to Slovenia before - but it's definitely somewhere I want to return to! I flew into Venice on Monday morning and caught a bus to Ljubljana where I met with a friend who brought me to where I was staying and we had a beer and caught up. It was roasting..... way hotter than I'd expected and had prepared for! I took a short wander around the city grabbing some food and some much needed ice-cream before trying to sleep in the heat!
My gig was Tuesday evening at the MGLC - the International Centre of Graphic Arts, so I had the day to wander and take the city in. I left the apartment at 12 (not the greatest idea to be fair!), slathered in sun screen and went in search of coffee! I found a gorgeous little place run by a Colombian, so I caffined-up before walking up the hill to the castle. What a joy!
I wandered about for another while before heading back to get ready for the show and walk over to the venue. I would be playing outside the stunning Tivoli Mansion in the park. The gig was gorgeous and I got to meet lots of lovely people afterwards, and then headed onwards to Magda's for a late night pint!
Then it was onwards to Vienna - a trek and a half, with a mysterious stop off on the motorway for a period of time, but an eventual arrival 3 hours later than expected. I got to hang out with friends and have great chats, food and then a late night swim in the dark at the Alta Donna! Thursday was spent trying to keep cool while hanging with Maria and Dave ahead of the Arte Hotel gig that night. We decided that since the swim was so great the night before that we would go again after the show! Vienna is another one of those cities that I could really spend a lot of time in! <3
When I played in Germany in April, I was asked to return as a surprise guest performer for a wedding in July! I was delighted to get to play at Bente and Max's big day! Their celebration took place in the grounds of a gorgeous school, by the sea near Kiel.
I snuck in before the speeches and grabbed some dinner, sitting with her friends, hiding out down the back of the room. Dessert was finishing ane everyone went outside to listen to the speeches and I hide in the toilets, no less! Bente's mum announced me to the crowd (the majority of them knew there was a surprise!) and I kicked off with my wedding song, causing tears all around! I performed for about an hour before the dancing and games kicked off indoors. There were a few gorgeous traditions that I'd never seen before - the first was the presentation of gifts on the corridor - mostly gifts containing money - but each note was folded into a shape or character and presented in a unique way! Before the first dance - there was a pass the parcel sort of game. Every time the music stopped, the person holding the box would take out a piece of paper and read what was on it - each time an instruction for a gift to be given to the bride and groom within the first year of their marriage. The gifts were generally spending time with them in one fashion or another - a totally cool idea!
On this trip I also got to play in the Spieker in Eckernfoerde and a lovely little house concert in Leezen, outdoors on the patio! I also got to swim in the Baltic, which contrary to how that sounds, it was glorious!
Two nights opening for the Empress of Soul, Ms Gladys Knight, at the Olympia Dublin - a dream come true! <3
Thanks to Clive Barton for grabbing these shots on Sunday 16th June with Liam O'Maonlaí. I got to open the night, and then Liam asked me up to jam!
My gorgeous friend Fleur Neale came along to The Bedford on June 4th, and took these shots of me - some of my favourite photos of me performing ever!
As Brendan lives in Switzerland, we managed to book some shows there for the launch of the record also! We played ahead of the band Brendan is in The Led Farmers at Zak in Jona and then I jumped up to join them for a couple of songs.
We enjoyed this so much that we managed to book another show in Switzerland in May to do the same thing at Stimmen Festival Ettiswil. We had an amazing night playing to a sold out audience there!
Brendan had booked two more shows for us then too. We headed to Bern to the gorgeous Ono Das Kulturlocal for a show under the streets, and in the presence of the largest glitterball I've ever seen! Then is was off to Brugg to play in Cafe Fridolin - owned by the lovely Alfonzo!
We shot a couple of videos with Ross from The Led Farmers too - like our Instagram pages to see those!
There's talk of more Swiss shows in September and February - so stay tuned!
I was super excited to get back on the road in Germany for a run of gigs! I headed north first - flying into Hamburg for 4 shows in Kiel and Lubeck. A couple of house shows, and my first show in Prinz Willy and a return visit to a favourite - Tonfink! I met a series of lovely people and have set up some more shows for July, so I can't wait to see it all in the sunshine - hoping for a sea swim along the way too!
Then I flew to Cologne to collect my rented car to drive about the place for the next week or thereabouts! I was headed to stay on a horse farm for a few nights, with the loveliest family in Haldern. We headed to see a band called Bailen (USA) in the Haldern Pop bar, and they were awesome - 3 siblings with mega harmonies!
The next night I played a house concert on the horse farm. Their amazing home is a converted carriage house and is such a fantastic room to play! Tuesday I drove off to Aachen to hosts Hella and Robert where I played unplugged in a room with the most beautiful acoustic- I'm a fan of natural reverb, and even with a full room, it was still there - so beautiful!
Wednesday was May day in Germany - a day for celebration! We visited a local family home for a barbecue, some live music and some garden games. A great way to spend my day and night off!
Thursday I was back on the road - leaving the horse farm and my lovely friends to head to Grevenbroich for a night! Some other lovely friends made the journey over from Meerbusch to see me, and a local living Irish woman also, who had reached out to me online (the wonders of modern technology!). It was a great night, and the host tells me, his first ever 'silent' collection (no coins!)
I spent the next morning siphoning hotel wifi and doing some admin about my upcoming single release, ahead of my drive to Erftstadt. I'd been in touch with the guys about this gig but had no idea what to expect - except that I'd been told it was sold out and that it would be streamed online. Phillip and the team are using a local old cinema to host gigs, and the gents from MUXX TV are streaming it. It's a local community project with lots of young people involved in the filming, sound and lights - and it was just gorgeous! Check out the whole show here.
I woke the next morning to a hint of a migraine - and with a 3 hours drive ahead, headed back to bed for a 40mins before check out. It was gone enough to get on the road and make my way to Bretten. As usual it's difficult to drive up to a strangers house in a foreign country -so I'm sitting outside, texting a picture of where I am to make sure it's right when the sound guy, Tommy arrives! The show that night was in a converted supermarket - owned by Frank - an awesome guy who let us, and a host of others use his home for the night! Another gorgeous gig!
Finally then for the last gig of the tour - a 3hour drive to munich airport to return the car where my lovely hosts came to collect me and bring me to their home. A jam with a local living Irish woman and a unbelievably interested group of young people who stayed for the entire show topped off my German tour. The next morning I travelled to the train station in style - in a bright green tuk-tuk. Sure how else would you travel?!
After recording this record in Switzerland last year with Brendan, we decided to launch it around Ireland in April of this year. With the help of Brendan's dad we booked a few shows, and hit the road!
We kicked things off in Dublin - to an almost full house in the Cobblestone. Thanks to most of our Fund It campaign supporters and friends for coming out for the night. My friend Andy Sheridan came along to take some photos on the night - you can check them out here!
Then it was off to Clare, for a stint on Clare FM early in the morning on the Friday (once we got my car jump started by my friendly neighbours!), followed by a lovely session with the Ennis Singers Session that evening.
The highlight gig of the weekend was the show at Brendan's local, Kilkishen Cultural Centre on the Saturday night. Playing to a full house, of lovely locals, and some friends and family who travelled for the gig was only gorgeous! Followed by a session in the local pub, with sandwiches and profiteroles - sure what more could you ask for!
The last gig of the tour was in a favourite venue of mine - Mick Murphy's in Ballymore Eustace. Thanks to Roy Thompson (who runs the night, but will step away at the end of this season!) for hosting us, and to the lovely audience who came out. Great to see some familiar faces in the room!
I was delighted to be invited back to the London Irish Centre to join in the St Patrick's Day celebrations again this year. Kila were playing three shows and I was opening for the two evening shows in the centre. Two gorgeous evenings of music, surrounded by an amazing room of people, community spirit and happiness!
My lovely friend Fleur Neale came along to take photos too! <3
If I’ve learned anything on this trip it’s that it’s a small world. And that people are amazing. And there are really good people out there. That's three things - I know! There were many moments of synchronicity on my trip and it made me sure that I was in the right place.
I flew from LA to Nashville, arriving to a hotter than usual October evening to rent a car and head for my host's house. I met Sharon and Chris Burgess in Dublin at the Ruby Sessions – the night Theo Katzman blew us all away (alongside the amazing Mick Pyro, stunnjng Eve Belle and dance-tastic Le Galaxie ). I mentioned a possible trip to Nashville and their immediate response was that I could stay with them. Numbers swapped and deal done. When I got in touch a couple of months ago they confirmed I could stay and took away the worry and stress of having to find somewhere to stay. I arrived to an amazing welcome, tour of the house and dinner cooked by chef Chris on the table. Additional furry welcomes from Panda (the cat who likes company while eating and will ‘ask' you to join her and purr contentedly when you do) and Ella, short for Nutella (the dog, who gets ridiculously excited at the prospect of a glass of water with ice cubes in it). Cuteness central. I had just arrived as the sun was setting over Old Hickory Lake and Sharon told me we could go kayaking and put on the pontoon. #happinessis
I headed for Thomm’s studio at 10am on Tuesday. By pure chance it was the same side of Nashville and only a 25 minute drive. After a quick chat and over coffee, we went through the songs, me playing them and him writing up charts for everyone the next day. It didn't take long, and if we'd recorded just that, me and him, I'd have been happy. I knew it was going to work out! I left after a couple of hours to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, staying only 3hours, when I could have stayed me - well I actually couldn't as they were closing, but how and ever !
We did all the recording over two days, Wednesday and Friday, hanging with Lynn Williams on drums and Mark Fain on double bass. Andy was on hand to control the desk -and it all went so easily and quickly.
On the Thursday Tomm was teaching so I headed off to a writing session with Jason Herndon, who it turns out is guitar tech for Blake Shelton. As you do, like!
By the time Saturday came around we were mixing, and finished at 3 to head to a gig where Thomm was playing with his friends Peter and Eric. Sunday morning saw me back to listen through before I headed off after an hour and a half with the tracks on my hard drive. Record done!
Headed to meet Jason in a Starbucks to finish writing our song, before heading back to my hosts, for an afternoon on the pontoon, a long kayak and an evening of dinner, music and darts.
Nashville was amazing and I couldn't have asked for more - I'll definitely be back and I can't wait to release this record!
Booked myself a short trip to Germany to play a few gigs around Dusseldorf! A few days before I flew I got a request on Facebook to come and play at a summer party at a Klinic near Dusseldorf! It was HOT so I deserved that cocktail!
Following this gig, we jumped in the car and headed for Haldern, to spend some time with Catja and her animals, and play the amazing Haldern Pop Bar that night. It's been something I've wanted to do for some time, so I was delighted to be invited to play there!
Up early the next morning to go meet the guys from MuxxTV for a session before I headed back to my friends Sabine and Thomas for a house concert. Given the gorgeous weather - we made it a Garden Concert!
Then one more show before I headed home - it was a busy weekend! My friend Jules came to pick me up and take me to where she lives. She'd told me she lived in a place with a great community vibe, where they had communal spaces, one of which I would play in. What I got far exceeded what I expected! Nestled in a national park, the old hotel/nursing home building is home to 100 residents, of all ages who live together, but independently. They opened their homes to me and came to see me play in their common room, where I even got Jules up to play violin with me, after which we all had a huge barbecue with lots of Sect (german bubbles!)
Was very excited to be asked to Vienna to join the The Song Factory with my friend Ray Heffernan. Both of us met Shane O'Fearghail way back in the day in The Legal Eagle where we used to go to an open mic night on a Wednesday. The night has since moved, but it's still the Zodiac Sessions, only now in Bruxelles.
We arrived to Vienna, to Shane and a drink along the Danube before we got some traditions schnitzel and headed to catch up with some Austria dwelling musicians. Saturday morning we got prepped for a song writing session with some locals, and got to record some videos.
Let Go at the Song Factory
We spent the afternoon talking about music and songwriting before splitting up into groups to write together for an hour or so, and later perform what we had written. It's amazing what you can come up with when you've got a deadline fast approaching!
That night we played a set each in the Ruby Marie Hotel with great singalongs and an extended session!
After the Shannonside Winter Music Festival, Brendan and I decided it was time to make more music, and do something with the songs that we learned for the opening concert. Brendan made arrangements for us to go to Soundville Studios in Luzern, so I booked flights and headed his way. Over 10 days, we recorded 13 tracks, made videos in a swimming pool and did a photoshoot in a water reserve tank of a nuclear war bunker - sure where else would you do it?!
Here's a video from Neubad!
The record will come out in early 2019 - so stay tuned for updates!
Was beyond honoured to be invited to join a host of musicians to raise funds for the Together for YES campaign!
Anyone who knows me will have gotten the recommendation from me to listen to John Smith, so I was very excited to open for him at his Dundalk show at the Spirit Store.
As ever there was a gorgeous crowd in, along with a few of my cousins who had never been to the Spirit Store, and friends who came out to support me! Derek and the Spirit Store team made it the loveliest of evenings and a singalong to Great Lakes topped the whole thing off.
Like I said - check out John Smith!
News from Grainne