Reviewed by Robert Craven.
Situated in the North West of Ireland along the Wild Atlantic way and nestled in the shadow of Muckish Mountain, Donegal is Molly’s Bar. Molly’s is playing host to The Dunfanaghy Bay Songwriters Festival and a CD featuring sixteen of this year’s artists has been compiled and released by John O’Donnell Cotter. Both established and emerging artists mix the rich seam of musical styles that captures the essence of the festival. There is quite literally, something for everyone. Opening with The CURE – sounding ‘Somehow’ by Brian Lawlor, the CD sets its stall out, no-nonsense production, a good first-take feel throughout; from the Tijuana infused ‘Odd as it seems’ by Christine B. Phelan, to the full-blooded ‘Arranmore’ by Goats Don’t Shave. There are reflective haunting songs too – ‘Declan’ by Eunan McIntyre (live), ‘Past the point of rescue’ – Mick Hanley (live), Richard Gilpin ‘The famine bowl’ that reflect the new maturity Irish songwriting is developing. Equally the strong vein of Blues too in Irish music comes across in ‘My man blues’ (live) by Tony Floyd Kenna & Rhiannah Warm, ‘Crying Man’ by Lynda Cullen and ‘Painted lady’ by Kate O’Callaghan. Every song and every voice totally unique. There isn’t a weak track on this compilation which reflects the very high standard of the songs performed here, and a very high standard of production makes this a consistently enjoyable listen. A great introduction to the current crop of Irish & International performers just bubbling under the surface, the more you mine into this CD, the richer the reward. For further information on the artists see this link: http://dunfanaghybaysongwritersfestival.org/artists.html Festival Site: http://dunfanaghybaysongwritersfestival.org/index.html