I have just come back from a few days in Westport, County Mayo (on the west coast of Ireland). While there I picked up a copy of "The Home Place", the recently released debut album by Orlaith Keane.
Orlaith is the latest addition to the Keanes of Caherlistrane. The Keanes are the Irish equivalent of the Carter family, or the Copper and Waterson families in England, spawning several generations of gifted singers. Orlaith is the niece of Dolores and Sean. Here is one apiece from the three of them. You can immediately tell that Orlaith and Dolores are related. Uncle Sean guests on the pipes on "Florence". His own contribution today is, of course, a Gillian Welch cover.
"Florence" - Orlaith Keane
"Teddy O'Neill" - Dolores Keane
"Barroom Girls" - Sean Keane
Caherlistrane is in County Galway, just a couple of miles from the border with Mayo. About six miles away over the border is the town of Tuam. When I first went to Mayo in the late 1980s I fell madly in love with a cassette single by a band from Tuam that was only available locally. A year or so later a remade version of the song got a wider release and set them off on a career that endures today. This was that song.
"I Useta Lover" - The Saw Doctors
While driving over to Mayo we stopped in Mullingar, County Westmeath, to pay homage at the statue of the late, great Joe Dolan. I had expected it to be on a plinth but I was wrong - and quite rightly as Joe was never one to put himself above his fans. Of course it does mean that all sorts of eejits pose next to him.
Here is Joe at his finest.