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Keith Mullins goes solo with new album

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Date Published: {J}

Corofin native Keith Mullins launches his debut album The Great Atlantic this month. The talented songwriter will be playing at 3pm in the GAF café, Eglinton Street, Galway City on Saturday, February 20 and later that day, he will be in Canavan’s, Tuam. Keith’s busy weekend will be rounded off with a show in The Crane Bar, Galway on Sunday, February 21.

Keith and producer Liam Caffrey recorded The Great Atlantic in a round log cabin just outside Tuam, where Keith’s friends Larry and Olivia live.

“We ended up being stuck for somewhere to record, we were supposed to do it in Dublin,” Keith explains. “The week that we’d planned to record, the studio wasn’t available for two days. I rang Larry and said ‘we want to do the drums on the first two days. Do you mind if we do it in your house?’. He said ‘yeah, cool. Come down’.”

Larry, a highly accomplished guitar player, joined in with the recording and The Great Atlantic was born.

“Two days turned into three days, and three days into four,” Keith recalls. “We ended up doing the whole album there. We got it all done in about a week; some additional things had to be done – some violin tracks, some backing vocals – but we did them all in my house in Dublin.”

Keith’s emergence as a solo artist came about after his previous band, Pier 19, broke up.

“There was a point where we had stopped rehearsing, we had stopped even hanging out that much and talking about music with each other,” he says. “I was still writing songs, that’s what I enjoy doing most.”

When it came to his new project Keith had thought about calling it The Great Atlantic, but was wary that the name might mislead potential punters.

“The only thing that changed my mind was if I was advertising a gig and people turned up and it was just me, they might be like ‘oh right. I thought it was going to be a band’. As well as that, they are my songs so why not put my own name on it?”

Keith juggles his music career with a busy working life but he never ignores the creative impulse.

“I try and play my guitar once a day, if I can at all, for an hour or two,” he says. “I’d always be trying to write songs but most of the time it either comes or it doesn’t. You could be there for two months and you won’t write a line and then, suddenly, in a night you write three songs. It definitely comes and goes, the ability to do it.”

One of the most affecting moments on Keith Mullins debut is As I Walk You Home, a slow-burning, heartfelt love song.

“I wasn’t going to record it at all,” Keith recalls. “I had demoed songs by myself and given them to a few friends. They all liked that song so I said I’ll give it a chance, I’ll record it.

“It was literally the day we went to record it, I played the song to Brian, the drummer He did the drums and they were great, and we added bass. Larry Kelly added this great guitar part; Ciara Delaney sang over it. All of these layers on top of it; it ended up being one of my favourite songs on [the album].”

Keith’s willingness to push himself in the studio has led to a more assured approach in his live shows and he now comes across as a more confident performer than he did during his days with Pier 19.

 

“Even though I was a singer in a band with four other people, now it’s a completely different thing,” he says. “I feel a lot freer on stage; I used to be very self conscious. I still am a bit but nowhere near as much. It’s great to just get up and lash out the songs. That’s the most enjoyable part really, playing live to people.”

Keith takes a keen interest in all aspects of his music career, right down to designing the album sleeve for The Great Atlantic.

“There’s a great website I go on to a bit called Deviant Art,” he explains. “I came across a guy and I really liked his art work, everything about it. So I cheekily downloaded some and pieced it together in Photoshop, put up the writing and designed the lay out. Then I e-mailed him and asked could I use it. He didn’t charge me or anything like that, he was glad to support another artist.”

While this is an example of an online community that benefits artists, there is also the reality of file sharing and free downloads that make it difficult for musicians to make money from their craft. Keith, however, is pragmatic about this.

“I’m OK with it,” he says. “I don’t mind people downloading my music for free or sharing it, or burning CDs for friends or whatever. The only important thing is that the music gets out and if people enjoy it, brilliant. It’s not about money, although it would be lovely to be in a position to live off music, and that’s obviously my goal. At the end of the day I’m making it so that people can listen to it.”

With a winning debut to his name, Keith Mullins is about to embark on a busy touring schedule that will hopefully see him build a deserved fan base. It does, however, mean time away from work but Keith is clear about the path he’s chosen.

“It’s a great thing when you have an album and someone gets a buzz off it,” he enthuses. “Working in an office doesn’t matter to most people; I don’t go into my job going ‘I’m so great, I get to help people’. I’m doing something that other people are enjoying and, in a small sense, it’s making their life a little bit better. It’s a great thing to be able to do – not that I’m Mother Teresa or anything!”

Keith Mullins plays Canavan’s, Tuam on February 20, Doors 8pm, Admission €10. He is in the Crane Bar on Sunday, February 21, Doors 9pm, Tickets €10.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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