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Jim McKee growing into his craft as he launches new album

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The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

Kinvara resident Jim McKee and his band play the Backstage Bar in Monroe’s on Friday, June 30.  The County Tyrone native has just released his second studio album Goodness comes from the Heart, which was recorded locally.

“I started off recording with Bruno Staehelin in Open Air Studios,” says Jim. “I put the vocals and drums down there, and a bit of bass, and a little bit of electric guitar. I took it to another studio after that, Bruno’s wife was very ill.

“We ended up going to a man called Tony Trundle, he’s got a studio called Cuckoo Studios in Kinvara. To be honest with you, he’s responsible for the overall sound. A lot of the strings, and wee bits of guitar.”

Jim wanted his latest album to have a full sound and plenty of toe-tapping moments.

“I started the rehearsal of this album with my drummer first, he moved in next door,” Jim says. “I wanted to get grooves and rhythms that were not too fast and not too slow; I was thinking festival as well as a singer/songwriter vibe.”

Jim McKee is a visual artist as well as a songwriter and two of his paintings make up the artwork for Goodness comes from the Heart. Does he have to set aside separate times for painting and songwriting?

“As somebody once said, ‘when the dog bites you just go with it’,” he replies. “When I’m painting, a lot of the time I’ll get inspired to write. I tend to paint and write every week, it’s part of my day. I’ll go for a good walk and process ideas; I’m always working on something.

“I’m doing a book at the moment, illustrations, and I’ve done a few songs for that too,” he adds. “It’s a kid’s book. I’m always writing and working, I won’t have enough life left to record all the songs or to finish all the art projects and ideas. I just take them as they come; it’s a juggling match, really.”

Last year, some of Jim’s songs featured in locally shot film Songs for Amy, which sold out at the Galway Film Fleadh. The film also featured tracks by Loughrea’s Ultan Conlon.

“That took up a couple of years, believe it or not,” Jim says about his involvement with Songs for Amy. “I worked on set – they auditioned me for a part and I got a different one. I ended up being Tom the busker, singing Galway Bay outside the Club Áras on Dominick Street. I really enjoyed it. I had four songs in it, myself and Ultan. We had to coach the actor [Sean Maguire] to sing our songs.”

Being involved in Songs for Amy brought Ultan and Jim McKee very far afield.

“We ended up going to Newport Beach, California, for 11 nights,” says Jim. “The film got an award [at the Newport film festival] there, and we were showcasing songs every night, myself and Ultan. We went to Cannes as well, sang there. Glasgow Film Festival, then there was the Galway Film Fleadh. It took us off on a lovely trip, a couple of years.”

Cannes may bring images of glitz and glamour to mind, but it’s not a world where Jim would like to spend much time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Sharon goes global for lockdown album The Reckoning

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Sharon's new album will be available from this Friday.

Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, Sharon Shannon has gone global for her latest studio album, The Reckoning, which is being released this Friday, November 27.

The Reckoning, which was composed, written and recorded during lockdown, features more than dozen remote collaborations from locations across the world.

All the twelve tracks have been co-written by Sharon and band members and various guest collaborators.

The full-on method in which it was recorded marks a new departure for the Clare-born musician who lives in Galway City, she says.

“Normally when we work on an album, we do one track at a time,” Sharon explains. “But with this, it seems to be an avalanche when you’re working on 13 or 14 tracks every day. It’s like a minefield!”

One of the key tracks, The Jolly Roger, resulted from a challenge which rugby player Robbie Henshaw presented to Sharon during the first Covid lockdown. Issued via Facebook, her task was to learn a new skill. And she did. After five days of intense practice, she created The Jolly Roger Facebook video . That clip of Sharon and her electric guitar has attracted more than 289,000 views since it was uploaded earlier this year.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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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Artists going to dogs in aid of annual auction

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Work donated to MADRA by Galway artist Grace Cunningham and Achill Island’s Padraig McCaul.

Works by some of Ireland’s top artists, including Grace Cunningham and Finbar McHugh from Galway as well as Padraig McCaul from Achill Island and Charles Harper from Valentia Island, will go under the hammer at this year’s MADRA Dog Rescue Charity Art Auction.

The popular event, which kicks off for viewing next week, will take place online year due to Covid restrictions.

The event, will open for registration and online bids next Thursday, December 3 and will remain available to view and bid online until Monday, December 7 .

The goal is to raise €3,000 to contribute towards vet bills for the Connemara-based dog rescue and adoption charity. MADRA is facing major bills, all without the financial support that’s normally generated by its two charity shops – they have been closed for months this year due to the pandemic.

“We have stunning artworks available with an amazing variety of subjects and styles,” explains MADRA co-founder and director, Marina Fiddler, adding that the organisation is “honoured that so many talented artists have donated such beautiful pieces to support the homeless dogs in our care”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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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Celebrating Romania on Great Union Day

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ConTempo, will perform a programme from thier native Romania for next Tuesday's lunchthime concert.

The next instalment of the lunchtime music series, From Europe with Love, will take place next Tuesday, December 1, at 1pm. Hosted by Galway Music Residency, it’s the last one for 2020.

It promises to be a special event as Galway’s Ensemble in Residence, the ConTempo Quartet, who are from Romania, celebrate their homeland on what’s known as Great Union Day. This national holiday marks the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

ConTempo will perform a varied programme, showcasing the best of Romanian music. This will feature works by celebrated composers George Enescu and Theodor Grigoriu alongside lesser-known musical treasures. There will be a strong folk theme throughout, making for a lively lunchtime show.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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