& THE CITY FATHERS
^ Upstairs ^
Dublin-based singer, Carol Keogh & band play Whelan’s on Thur 11th Dec following the release of her debut solo album, entitled Mongrel City on 17th Oct 2014.
Keogh’s debut album has been eagerly awaited by those who crowdfunded it in 2012 on the Irish website Fundit.ie. But great things take time to build and attention to detail is evident in this artfully arranged and meticulously crafted album in the old-fashioned sense of the word. At the same time, Mongrel City is a performance piece, showcasing the abilities of a group of musicians who have collectively shaped this material over a number of years. And it showcases the exemplary writing and unique voice of Carol Keogh, the songwriter.
Keogh emerged as a singer and writer of note back in the mid 90s as the frontperson for Dublin four-piece The Plague Monkeys, who released two critically acclaimed albums before their split in 1999 (Surface Tension and The Sunburn Index). Later projects included The Tycho Brahe, who also released two acclaimed studio albums, and Autamata, whose Liberty Bell and Out of This (both co-authored by Keogh) were particular favourites. The latter was recorded by the Dublin Gospel Choir and is still regularly performed as part of their repertoire, and Autamata’s own version, featuring Keogh’s finely tuned vocal, has become a Christmas staple on many Irish radio stations.
Keogh has worked with noted Irish musicians and songwriters, such as Sharon Shannon and Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames, The Swell Season) amongst others, and it is Keogh’s voice in duet with Jerry Fish that many listeners will know from his 2009 radio single Back to Before.
This, Keogh’s first album under her own name, comprised of original, selfpenned songs, will mark a milestone in the career of a songwriter and singer better known for her collaborations. She is backed on the recording and on stage by her band of musicians, ‘The City Fathers’, who provide the rich tapestry into which Keogh’s voice and words are woven on this classically recorded album.
“Classically recorded” because the tracks were cut largely as ‘live’ instudio performances by the five-piece band and Keogh, with few overdubs and very little digital programming. Several ofthe tracks were recorded in one uninterrupted take, with Keogh and piano player Romy performing together. The warmth and heart of the performances is audible in these renditions of an exceptional collection of songs. One of the core album themes is Keogh’s hometown of Dublin, and indeed Dublin is the Mongrel City of the album’s title, taken from the lyrics for track two, The Relics of Saint Valentine.
Other tracks, such as Forty Foot, Grand Parade and Limbo Estate ring some of the cultural and political changes that the city (and by implication, the country) has been through in recent times. But it isn’t all politically charged; there are lush and moving love songs on here too, in particular the opening and penultimate tracks London Song and Raptors, where Romy’s piano flows around Keogh’s soaring vocals.
Band members were Romy, Dave Hingerty (The Frames), Elton Mullally (The Tightrope Walkers), Martin Moran (The Tightrope Walkers) and composer, Colin J Morris. Album guests included Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Bill Blackmore, who provided string and brass arrangements, for a little touch of symphony.
The live show to launch the album will feature The City Fathers and special guests, and the band will perform the album in its entirety before kicking back with some friends and basically having a celebratory stage party. It promises to be a special and memorable night.
In addition to her songwriting, Keogh is an accomplished visual artist. To compliment the album launch, she will open a solo exhibition of paintings, also entitled Mongrel City, at Dublin’s Gallery 27 on South Frederick Street on Thursday 2nd October. The show will be introduced by writer and journalist, Peter Murphy.
Strictly over 18′s, I.D. may be required.