- 28 Sep 21
The first in our series of six nights of discussions with the artists behind some of the greatest Irish albums ever recorded takes place tonight, with Conor O'Brien of Villagers leading the way.
Conor O'Brien of Villagers will kick off the Up Close & Personal series in the Grand Social tonight, as leading Irish artists discuss seminal albums. The series is presented by Hot Press, in association with Up Close and Personal Promotions, and comprises a series of live conversations with the artists behind some of the finest ever Irish albums.
Taking place across six dates, this intimate discussion series will involve a deep dive into a number of classic Irish albums with the artists who created them, talking about the background, the songs, the recordings and the mood of the times in which they were created. It promises the most fascinating insights into some of the greatest Irish albums ever recorded.
In tonight's opening event, Conor O'Brien of Villagers will discuss his acclaimed second album Awayland, which won the Choice Music Award, on its release in 2013.
Chatting to Conor O'Brien – who will perform some of the tracks from the album on the night – will be Paul McLoone, best known for his work over the past number of years with Today FM, and also as the lead singer with legendary Derry outfit, The Undertones.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) night will see Gemma Hayes discussing her beautiful, Mercury Prize-nominated debut album Night on My Side with staff writer Lucy O’Toole, who is one of the brightest stars in the Hot Press firmament. A musician herself, Lucy has a wide-ranging, in-depth knowledge of Irish music.
Sunday October 3rd we sit down with Mary Coughlan, to discuss her legendary debut album Tired and Emotional, which sold an astonishing 100,000 copies in Ireland. Mary will interviewed by Hot Press contributing editor Paul Nolan, who has been one of the magazine’s outstanding writers and contributors on matters musical, cultural and sporting since his first letter to the editor was published under the T. J. “Bolloxy” Ryan pseudonym back in the ‘90s.
The line-up for this initial Up Close & Personal series also features Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny, Tim Wheeler of Ash and Damien Dempsey discussing seminal albums, with all of the shows taking place live at The Grand Social Dublin between September 28th and October 20th (see full list of dates below).
“We’re really looking forward to the Up Close and Personal series,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said. “Over the course of six nights this month and next, some of the most important – and brilliant – albums in Irish music history will be revisited and explored in a unique way, with the artists themselves offering both personal and musical insights."
Only 50 tickets will be available per show – and a number of the nights are sold out, so grab the remaining tickets while you can! This special series of intimate conversations, is produced in association with Aidan Shortall of Up Close and Personal Promotions and is supported by the Live Performance Support Scheme and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
September 28th - Villagers on Awayland: An album of remarkable poise and beauty, Awayland is the highly acclaimed second album from Villagers. Released in 2013, it deservedly won the Choice Music Prize that year, and was hailed for its powerful and wonderfully literary songwriting. Confirming Conor O’Brien as one of Ireland’s most brilliant wordsmiths, it remains an important and influential benchmark for Irish songwriters who aspire to greatness. (Tickets available here)
September 29th - Gemma Hayes on Night On My Side: Released in 2002, Night On My Side is Gemma Hayes’ beautiful and brilliant debut album. Produced by the legendary Dave Odlum, and packed with gorgeous songs, Night On My Side was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. Gorgeously arranged and soulfully delivered, it established Gemma Hayes as an iconic Irish voice – and a very special songwriter indeed. (SOLD OUT)
October 3rd - Mary Coughlan on Tired and Emotional: Mary Coughlan's debut album catapulted her to overnight fame in 1985, drawing comparisons with the work of Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Van Morrison and Edith Piaf. After an outstanding appearance on the Late Late Show, the record went on to sell a remarkable 100,000 copies in Ireland, establishing the soulful blues singer as a unique powerhouse in Irish music. (Tickets available here)
October 18th - Tim Wheeler (Ash) on 1977: Recorded with producer Owen Morris – who would later mastermind Oasis finest moments – while the three members of Ash were still in school, 1977 is the phenomenally successful debut album from the Downpatrick outfit. Debuting at #1 in the UK charts, the brilliant punky pop songs masterminded by Tim Wheeler, established Ash among Northern Ireland’s finest ever. (Tickets available here)
October 19th - Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny on Planxty: Released in 1973, Planxty – the debut album from the band of the same name – rescued Irish folk music from the leather-elbowed ballad groups. With uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn joining Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Christy Moore in what was a folk super-group, they combined songs and tunes in a marvellously innovative mix – irrevocably changing the course of Irish music completely in the process. (Tickets available here)
October 20th - Damien Dempsey on Seize The Day: Damien Dempsey's sophomore album, produced by John Reynolds and released in 2003, confirmed the Donaghmede man as one of Ireland's greatest singer-songwriters. The following year, it scored him the only ever double win at the Meteor Music Awards 2004. Featuring the talents of Sinead O'Connor and the legendary Brian Eno, Seize the Day confirmed Dempsey’s status as a folk genius, capable of standing alongside Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew. (Tickets available here)