Thursday, February 6, 2014
THINKING OF HOME
To say its an exciting time would be an understatement. However with excitement, comes nerves, expectation and hope. These coming few weeks will determine a lot for me as an artist.
After having my debut TV special "THIS IS THE MOMENT, LIVE" broadcast last year, its now time to take to the road again. Im looking forward to performing for many of you again. Singing songs from the special, but also from my new album "THINKING OF HOME". There are still tickets left for my gigs and all details on on my website www.paulbyrom.ie under "news and events".
As the release of my new album is fast approaching(feb 18th), I thought it might be nice to share with you some thoughts and feelings I had behind the song selection. This is technically my first so called "IRISH" album. For many reasons, I've never done one before, as there was so many other styles of songs I wanted to record first. However, late last year, I thought, its time to release songs from my homeland. The album is called THINKING OF HOME as it is full of songs that remind me of home, but also has one or two songs that reflect my new home here in the United States. I have even taken the bull by the horns and decided to put two of my own songs on the album. So this will either be a HUGE success, or a disaster!!!! Either way, I wont die wondering!! Lets look at the set list....
This is a song that was written by one of America's biggest country singing stars Garth Brooks. There have been many discussions as to what war he refers to in the song, however it has never been confirmed. I believe it is left vague so to represent all the Irish who fought in many wars for other countries or beliefs. It represents the courage, valor and fighting spirit of many Irish men through history.
I love singing it because its full of gusto, and indeed I hope that wherever I cast my last breath, Ireland will "take my hand" and bring me home.
This is a beautiful old Irish poem by Patrick Kavanagh which was later put to music to the old Irish song, The Dawning Of The Day and originally recorded by Luke Kelly. It tells the story of him loving a women. Knowing that by telling her his true feelings, he would risk being hurt, and did anyway!! Its based in Dublin, and indeed Raglan Road is but a stones throw from my house in Dublin. Its a haunting song to me in many ways, and one of my favourites on the album.
THE LAST ROSE OF SUMMER
Well when I started training as a boy soprano at the age of seven, it wasn't long before I was entered into singing competitions around Ireland. Nothing but medals and confidence to be gained, I loved every minute of them. My mother would drive me everywhere and sit through the whole competition. Sometimes listening to the same song being sung over 100 times as the competition would require that. She was, and still is, an incredibly patient woman who has forever supported me.
This song was one of the first songs I learnt for these competitions and remains dear to me.
It is an old Irish "parlor song" and was written by Thomas Moore, who many of you will recognise from being the man who wrote Love Thee Dearest.
A SUNNY MORN IN SEPTEMBER
I can't believe I am putting one of my own songs on this album. When I came to New York four years ago, myself and my wife, Dominique were so excited. We didn't know what lay ahead for us on our American adventure, but we were extremely happy and excited at the prospects. When doing some sightseeing, we decided to stop by ground zero to pay our respects to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Whilst there I couldn't help but imagine that there were probably lives lost of people very similar to Dominique and myself. Starting out in life as a young couple, making plans together and hoping for a happy future. Even people that were older, looking forward to retirement, or watching their children and grandchildren grow. It struck me that in the flick of an eye lid, loved ones were taken and all these bright futures were taken with them. That there were many left behind wishing and longing for one more day with their lost loved one.
This song is about just that. Cherishing those we love, and reminding them of your love .Simply because, in the flicker of an eye lid, that person could be gone. This song will always be performed with the memory of the good people who lost their lives on 9/11.
THE MINSTREL BOY
Another Thomas Moore melody on the album. This is one of his finest. It is believed that he wrote this piece about the friends he made whilst studying in Trinity College, who later fought and died in the Irish rebellion of 1798.
It became even more popular with Irish Americans who fought and died during the United States Civil War and also WW1. It is often heard on St. Patricks day being played by bagpipes throughout the States and Canada, and was famously performed at John F Kennedy's funeral.
Its full of heart wrenching lyrics and stirs emotion within me each time I perform it. It was a must on this album.
This is another one of my compositions. I collaborated with my musical producer and long time friend Joe Csibi on this. Its a song I wrote whilst thinking of all the Irish who, like myself, had travelled to America in hope of a better life. Many would have travelled by boat, and would have been too weak to survive the long journey. However those that did, and arrived in New York, would of had to have passed by The Statue Of Liberty. What they must have thought when at last they saw her face. Knowing they had made it, and hoping that they would be allowed to stay, once they passed inspection in Ellis Island. Although we don't travel by boat to America anymore, not much has changed.
THE TOWN I LOVED SO WELL
Well this is without question one of the most popular songs ever to come out of Ireland. It tells the story of a young man growing up in Derry. Having a simple life and being happy. Eventually leaving Ireland to better his life, only to return one day and discover that everything had changed. For the worse. His hometown was under British rule and his people oppressed. However this is not a rebel song. This is a song that talks about peace, and the hope for a "bright brand new day". This is why I love the song. The young man ended up having a large family of which I married one of his daughters!
FROM CLARE TO HERE
Clare is a small county in the West of Ireland, and this song by Ralf McTell is a song that tells again, about emigration. I have grown up hearing many recordings and performances of this, and have always loved it. I recorded it simply because of that. I hope you enjoy it as its a very different style to many of the recordings I've done to date.
I've often been told that this song is the Americans version of Danny Boy, in terms of popularity. When I first heard it, I fell in love with it, and when doing my tv special I wanted to pay tribute to my new home in the show. I always love singing it, and similarly, whilst THINKING OF HOME, I often think of America. So this is my tribute to the land that has given so much to me as a person and an artist.
GO LASSIE GO
Often this is called Wild Mountain Thyme, or Will Ye, Go Lassie Go. There is no "correct" title. However what I love about it is that it always gets people singing along. Its such a beautiful song and as I have a very understanding producer and label, they let me pick all my songs. This had to go on it as I hope by the time I perform it live, you will all sing along!!
Whats there to say that hasn't already been said about Danny Boy. It must be the most recorded song of all the Irish songs. If not, of all the songs ever written!!!
It has been done in many versions. Some great, some not so great!! However, its always lovely to hear it, and I adore singing it every time I take the stage.
Many have their beliefs about what it is about, but I am glad to clear it up for you now!
Simply put, it is the final words a father says to his son as he leaves Ireland to find a new home. His hope is that he will see his son again, and prays that if not, he will return and visit his graveside.
I always think of those loved ones I have left behind, and pray that on my return, they will all be there to greet me as usual. My soul is Irish. My heart is Irish, and this song means more to me than just nostalgia.
THE CROPPY BOY
The last track on the album, as its the saddest. Again, it refers to the rebellion of 1798 and tells of the young "croppy" who stops by a church for confession before heading to war. However, whilst there, he is betrayed and sentenced to death.
Many lost their lives for what I call home. For the freedom many of us enjoy today. Im a proud Irishman, and wanted to finish the album with reference to those who made my country what it is today.
I hope you enjoy my album, and pray you'll spread the word for me in getting as many as possible to hear it and hopefully buy it. It is tough times to sell albums these days. Its down to the word of mouth. I am very fortunate that I have the best fans in the world, and trust you will spread the word for THINKING OF HOME. Lets try get that Billboard NO.1 ! ! ! !
Posted by Paul Byrom ... at 8:40 PM