Reviews and musings on music and arts events in the Clare, Limerick & Waterford regions & occasionally further afield
Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Julie Feeney Clocks in at The White Horse
photo Donagh Glavin via twitter
No one could ever accuse Julie Feeney of being lazy. Three years after her second highly acclaimed album Pages was released, Julie Feeney is back on the gig circuit with a brand new album. Clocks a collection of eleven new self penned songs. Over the last few years, she has worked incredibly hard at every aspect of the music business, both the creative side and also the business end of connecting with her audience and crucially, successfully funding her musical ventures. I caught one of the ten gigs tour at the White Horse Inn in Ballincollig, Co Cork last Thursday. What the low ceilinged V shaped upstairs room lacked in comfort, it made up for in atmosphere as the venue was packed with enthusiastic followers of the singer.
Feeney has a strong clear contralto voice and employs a vocal timbre suited to Renaissance or traditional music influenced perhaps by her years as a professional chorister. The lyrics cover a spectrum from frothy to wistful to poignant, the catchy melodies a mix of the lyrical and jaunty. A major part of her appeal is the sophisticated orchestration of her own musical arrangements. A string trio included, Louis Roden of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Mary Barnacutt, recently heard in Cork as part of Set the First at the Triskel. New Yorker Joseph Brent on mandolin, violin and guitar was pivotal. I loved the lushness of the two violin cello blend in the song Grace Fergal Murray was on piano and Eugene Ginty added subtle understated backing vocals and occasionaly a recorder (ot two) line to the blend.
Dressed in a theatrical black ensemble (its first airing apparently), with her trademark matching themed headpiece, the performer gave a vocally demanding performance singing with hardly a pause for two hours mixing songs from the new album with numbers from her back catalogue.. With such a rich palette in the accompanying ensemble, I did long to hear more of the individual instrumentalists and maybe a duet or two with the male vocalist. How unusual to hear a mandolin player and one of international standing to boot. One sensed that although Feeney engaged in some stage banter she was most comfortable when singing and sing her heart out she did. Following the set, a long line formed to meet and greet and the chanteuse who gave no hint of fatigue as she warmly greeted her fans.