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Down-home US country music at Monroe’s live

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The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell

Expect some genuine Nashville song craft when Max T Barnes and Craig Curtis play Monroe’s Live on Friday, February 28. 

Max has co-written nine number one country hits and dozens of album tracks for country stars like Randy Travis and Colin Raye. Craig Curtis, meanwhile, is a country songwriter who is fast making a name for himself, as well as being a friend and label mate of Max’s.

They will be playing songs and sharing the stories behind them during their Galway visit.

“We’ll come over there with acoustic guitars and we’ll bring the harmony,” Max says.

Max T Barnes grew up in the country music scene. His father, Max D Barnes, wrote hits for stars like George Jones and Merle Haggard. Max has been in the trade himself for over 30 years, so what’s life like in the competitive, but potentially lucrative, Nashville songwriting scene?

“It’s not glamorous like you might think,” he says. “It’s a job and you go in every day to an office and you get with other writers and you write, and you write and you write. You just stack up them songs like cordwood. When somebody needs a song you pull one off the pile.”

That might sound a little 9 to 5, but Max enjoys life as a Nashville writer.

“It’s not like a factory job or anything, I don’t mean to downplay it!” he laughs. “It’s really loose and it’s a great lifestyle. There’s no set schedule. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and when you want to go to the beach, you go to the beach.”

Did Max’s father share any songwriting tips with his son?

“I’d been playing guitar since I was 10 years old but my dad would never write a song with me, because he took it very seriously and it wasn’t for messing around with your kids,” he says. “But after I turned 18, I was on the road with country music stars, playing guitar. He kind of figured ‘well, the kid’s got something’. So, when I was 19, just about to move out, we got started into writing at the kitchen table. We wrote three in that batch and one of them was Way Down Deep which was hit for Vern Gosdin here in the States.”

Max D Barnes passed away 10 years ago, and his son recalls the country music community congregating to remember one of their own.

“He was a huge influence, not only to me, but big stars from around Nashville,” Max says.  “His funeral was a who’s who of country music. My dad wasn’t famous, but everybody he knew was. George Jones brought his bus and stayed all day, it was like taking the CMA (Country Music Awards) and parking them at the funeral home.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Reverberate – exploring migration and memories

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Joselle Ntumba of Éireann and I, the collective that is presenting the show at Galway Arts Centre, pictured with her family.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

A new exhibition, Reverberate, by Éireann and I, will open at the city’s Galway Arts Centre this Saturday, December 3, at 2pm, and will run until December 22.

Reverberate is an oral history project developed by Éireann and I, a black migrant community archive, in collaboration with members of Galway’s African diaspora.

The organisers invited Black migrants who have settled in Galway to recount their journeys to Ireland, their relationship with the city and county, and to reflect on whether they have developed a sense of belonging.

The testimonies in Reverberate come from eight people of varying age and from different places. The many subjects they deal with include parenting, politics, the effects of the asylum system on lives and the communities and organisations they have built.

Some of their shared background is immediately obvious, but there are deeper connections too and these demonstrate how all humans are affected by the global and local tensions that cause people to leave their homelands and build new lives elsewhere.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Songs of Celebration at Galway Cathedral

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Composer and clarinettist Emma Johnson will join Vox Orbis.

Galway’s Vox Orbis, a female choral ensemble directed by Mark Keane, is joining forces with internationally renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson to present her Songs of Celebration. The concert will take place in Galway Cathedral next Friday, December 9

Emma Johnson, who won the BBC Young Musician of the Future at the age of 17, has since gone on to become one of the world’s biggest selling classical artists, celebrated for her diverse repertoire. The choir will present two of her compositions as well as her Variations on We wish you a merry Christmas with Annalisa Monticelli, piano.

The programme will also include Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, accompanied by concert harpist Aisling Ennis. Aisling has recently released an album of harp solos, Folly of Melancholy, and will perform a solo on the evening too. Galway based soprano Noreena McDonagh will join the choir for seasonal favourite, O Holy Night, newly arranged by conductor Mark Keane.

Vox Orbis promotes the work of female composers, and the programme will include Snow Angel by the contemporary Canadian composer Sarah Quartel, with Nickie Geddes, cello. They have also commissioned leading Irish composer, Rhona Clarke, to compose a set of carols, Sweet the Song, which will also be premiered on the evening.

Tickets at €20 are available on Eventbrite and at the door on the night. Visit voxorbis.ie for more information.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Potato People’ pays homage to victims of Great Famine

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Artist and sculptor Joe McCaul

The Potato People, an exhibition of sculptures based on the Irish Famine of 1845-49, will open in the foyer of Alcantara, one of the new buildings at the city’s Bonham Quay, this weekend.

It’s the work of artist and sculptor Joe McCaul, who lives in Ballinderreen.

These ceramic figures, fired in clay, “tell the harrowing stories of the lives and deaths of our ancestors during the Great Hunger”, he explains.

The exhibition has already had an eight-week run in Kinvara where it was very well-received, Joe adds.

Joe became fascinated by the Great Famine in recent times and with the many different accounts of those tragic years.

This fascination began in earnest when he read The Truth Behind the Irish Famine, by Kerryman Jerry Mulvihill.

“I began to feel a strong affinity with the people in these stories, their tragedy and the horrendous suffering they endured. I felt compelled to find a way to honour the millions who died of hunger and disease – and emigration; the countless stories forgotten in the Famine graveyards all over this country.”

Joe used his knowledge of working with paper clay to express this need. The process was intuitive and experimental, he says, as he worked without pre-planning or pre-drawing.

The resulting figures, which were formed by draping paper clay over armatures of chicken wire and steel bars, “just emerged from my fingertips. I sculpted feverishly for many months, one horrific figure leading to the next – so many stories to be told”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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