Wednesday, 26 December 2012

List: Top 5 Videos of 2012

St. Stephen's Day/Boxing Day is the day to sit back and watch videos  ..... here's the best five videos in no particular order I've seen from Irish artists. Enjoy!

A Dark Horse - Take Me Home

The timing of the release of this video coincided with the epic build-up for the European Championship in the Summer. The song's theme of that feeling of 'Home' is brought to life in this wonderful video by Aoife Kelleher.

Directed by Aoife Kelleher
Edited by Hugh Rodgers
Filmed by Aoife Kelleher & Hugh Rodgers
Assistant Director Dermot Fitzpatrick
Graded by Niall Campion

Featuring Karl Kelly, Sean O' Sullivan & Ryan Boulton


Lisa Hannigan - What I'll Do

Uploaded way back in January, Lisa gets a few trips on the Funderland rollercoaster for this simple but effective video for her single 'What I'll Do'. 

Video produced by Feenish productions
Shot by Michael Kelly and Pauline Rowan, edited by Michael Kelly

The Henry Girls - Watching The Detectives

I love the film noir black and white style of the video that accompanies and enhances this brilliant cover from The Henry Girls.

Filmed on location in Echo Echo Dance Studio, Derry and Crawford Square, Derry. Filmed by Simon O Neill and Gavin Lawson.
Here's a live recording of Watching the Detectives:


Heritage Centre - The Boss

Heritage Centre released a fabulous debut album with hit after hit and no one writing about music has even mentioned it in any end of year lists. Really? Can I be the only writer singing the praises of these guys. The Boss video is a superb video for a great rock tune.

Video Concept by Ciaran Brady
Directed by Liam Byrne
Produced by David Lester Mooney and Heritage Centre
Cinematography by Narayan Van Maele
Camera Operators: Evan Barry and Esme McNamee
Assistant Director: T.J. Duffy
Editing and Effects by Kevin Herlihy
Sound by Stephen Tiernan
Hair and Make-Up Artists Sinead Egan and Jess Muranne


The Young Folk - Way Down South

There are many people and bands producing live 'official' videos using esteemed directors to catch the magical live moments. This video for me is the pick of that trend showing The Young Folk in full flight on stage.  

Directed and edited by Ruairi Galavan.
Cameras: Ruairi Galavan and Matt Finucane.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Top 20 Irish Songs of the Year

Here's the best 20 songs I had the pleasure of listening to this year from Irish artists:

1. Michael Brunnock - Sensation

2. She's A Beauty - Too Much Confusion

3. Twin Terrace - I'd Thought I'd Leave With You

4. The Thomas Donoghue Band - Solace

5. Heritage Centre - Don't You Ever Give Up on Yourself

6. Mossy Nolan - The Wild Mountain Thyme

7. Eric McGrath - Ripples Into Waves

8. Autumn Long - Ships Fall

9. Delorentos - Care For

10. Red Sail - Sitting at the Keys

11. The Young Folk - Letters

12. Cry Monster Cry - The Fallen

13. The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock - Bothar Crua Larthar

14. Emmett Tinley - Marvelous Day

15. Bowens & The Wood - Truth Is .....

16. Mick Flannery - No Way To Live

17. Glen Hansard - Philander

18. I Am Not Lefthanded - Falls to Me

19. Shannon - A Million Miles

20. Sive - Sunkissed

Friday, 21 December 2012

2UIBestow's Top 5 International Albums of the Year

I've decided to widen my focus net to International artists in 2013 which potentially gives me more artists to review, feature and promote. However I see this as an opportunity to focus of quality over quantity with the blog accurately reflecting my music tastes.

Here's the five albums which crossed my path in 2012 which you should check out!

1. Mark Eitzel - Don't Be A Stranger

This is a great album from the America Music Club frontman. No one writes songs as good as this one below. Looking forward to see him in February in the Workmans Club.


2. Anais Mitchell - Young Man in America

Anais Mitchell won recognition for her 'Folk Opera' album Hadestown but 'Young Man in America' has won  me over big time for her passion and her fantastic songwriting.


3. Dry The River - Shallow Bed

After giving me goosebumps at Electric Picnic, 'Shallow Bed' was everything I wanted it to be from folk rockers 'Dry The River'.


4. Calexico - Algiers

Calexico return with a typical Calexico sounding album but the songs are still of the finest quality. The song 'Hush' for instance is one of the best songs I've heard all year while 'Para' is a free download through soundcloud.


5. Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur

There were some fantastic songs on the latest release from the Canadian singer-songwriter. I adore her vocals and this album provided me with hours of fine background music in my house in 2012.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Mix: Xmas Classics by Irish Artists

Here's a mix of your favourite Christmas songs and carols performed by Irish artists:

Bell X1 - Little Drummer Boy


Shannon - Merry Christmas To You


Mr. Ebby - Let It Snow


Allie Bradley - Have Yourself A Merry little Christmas


Carol Keogh - River


Norabelle - Stay Another Day


Wicker Bones - Must Be Santa


Frank Kelly - 12 Days of Christmas

..................... that's it no more Christmas music until 2013!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

10 Original Christmas Tunes 2012

Here's my Festive round-up for 2012.

Tune for dancing to: The Henry Girls - Mr Snowman

Glorious harmonies, upbeat groove and full of charm Mr. Snowman is a great Christmas tune to have in your collection found on A Murrey Christmas:

A MURRAY CHRISTMAS is a unique collection of original songs, seasonal classics and inspirational readings. Featuring pieces originally broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1’s The John Murray Show, and with proceeds going to AWARE. Mr Snowman is a christmas song by The Henry Girls which they have donated to the album. It also features Gerry O Connor on banjo and Jonathan Berkeley on bass.


Tune for Christmas Bells & charm: Eric McGrath - Till I'm Home Again

Till I'm Home Again is a Christmas Charity Single with 100% of sales proceeds donated to Make-A-Wish® Ireland. Buy here:


Tune with the cute video & a big message: Andrew Handrick - Let It Go

A song for the season about peace and understanding...
'Let It Go' is free to download on Andrew's SoundCloud Page


Tune that tips the hat to Slade, Mud, Wizzard .... : The Aluskas - Merry Christmas To You


Tune for a laugh - Huey & The Hobgoblins - I Hope Santa Has a Dark Side


Tune for reflection - Laura Boyle - That Time of Year

Laura is an exceptional 18 year old singer-songwriter from London. Expect to hear great things from her in 2013 and beyond.


Tune for a Nightmare Before Christmas - Reverend JM's Panic Worship - Santa's Lullabye


Tune to admire - Laurie Cameron - One Christmas Fall

I adore this folk tale from Scottish singer-songwriter Laurie Cameron. Such a beautiful tune. 


Tune for Harmonies - The Lost Brothers - St. Christopher

The Lost Brothers, recorded Christmas ballad 'St Christopher' in Liverpool with the guitarist. Ryder-Jones, who released solo album 'If…' on Domino in 2011, produced and played piano on the song, which also features Babyshambles member Drew McConnell.

The Lost Brothers are the releasing the song in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust, which supports the young homeless in Dublin. The B-side of the single is a cover of Henry Mancini's 'Moon River', produced by M Ward band member Adam Selzer.
Available for download All Proceeds to Peter McVerry Trust


Tune to Air Guitar to: Croupier - Croupier's Carol of the Bells

Enjoy and have a great Christmas! 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Top 10 Irish Albums of 2012

It's great to be in reflective mood looking back on the year of album reviews and basking in the fact that Ireland produces some fantastic music. It was tough to choose a top 10 and even more difficult to order them! Big thanks to these artists and their team for allowing me to review their albums!

10. Sive - We Are Moving

What I wrote: The band realise that Sadhbh's vocals and lyrics are to be kept to the forefront so there's rarely a misplaced guitar solo or overuse of drum cymbals  My favourite track off the album is 'Piece of my Mind'.


9. Master & Dog - Self-titled

What I wrote: There's a nice 'Americana' feel from some of the tracks. 'Bare Cedar' is a lovely delicate song full of charm and atmosphere. It's one of my favourite Irish songs of the year. The other track to appeal to me is 'All Hell Broke Loose' with it's fine vocals and gripping lyrics. Lead vocals on the album is shared by Walter, Phil & Ger so there's real diversity on the album in terms of vocal styles. Lyrically this is one of the best albums of the year.


8. I Am Not Lefthanded - The Fire & The Sigh

What I wrote: The songs are characteristically 'I Am Not Lefthanded' with Kathryn's vocals shining throughout over well written subtle indie pop compositions which compliment the vocals and lyrics. 'Brace Brace' kicks off the album in fine style with lyrics describing that feeling of new adventures. 'Return' is such a wonderful song while the catchy 'No Time' has become my regular earworm over the last few days.


7. Mossy Nolan - Self-titled

What I wrote:  This album is a celebration of the trad and folk that's deep within our culture. From the instrumental jigs of 'Two Flats One Pump' and 'Swedish Jigs/I Met Betty Kelly' to Ewan MaColl's 'Tunnel Tigers' and Liam Weldon's 'Dark Horse on the Wind' this album aims to simply celebrate the folk genre in it's purity and showcases the songwriting and vocal talents of Mossy Nolan.


6. Suzanne Savage - Jellymould

What I wrote: The album, recorded in 2011 in Karslruhe, Germany is in the main a pop album with flashes of jazzy keys, effective string sections and rockabilly throughout. Standout tracks include the first single 'Dart', the title track and the jazzy pop sound of 'Just Fine'. For me the best song is the folk love song 'Somewhere in Between' which showcases' Suzanne's soothing and effective vocals.


 5. Heritage Centre - Alright, Check It Out

What I wrote: Every track on the album is quality with my favourite track changing on every listen. Recent single 'Oldest Friend', 'You Are Something' and 'All in the Way' stand out for me on this listen but frankly I can skip to any track and I'm going to hit a quality track 


4. Eric McGrath - Little Ripples 

What I wrote: The album is brimming with gentle charming songs which are well written tales of hope, love, potential and compassion. There's not a note or lyric out of place on the whole album and I've struggled to find a single negative aspect anywhere on 'Little Ripples'.


3. Marc O'Reilly - My Friend Marx*

What I wrote: There really isn't a bad song on the album. Even the anti-war song 'Lord of War' doesn't make me cringe! For me the album hits the high point around tracks 6,7,8 with Narrow Street, Tell Old Joe and Family Reunion.

*Released in 2011 but only review on 2uibestow in early 2012 and released in the UK this Summer.


2. Autumn Long - Drown the Truth

What I wrote"Drown The Truth" is a passionate album of thirteen great tunes which provides almost 50 minutes of the best folk/rock songs I've heard in a long time. ....... I get the sense that this album was a labour of love for songwriter Padraig and that it's been a good number of years in the making. Every song on the album is of the highest quality with meaningful lyrics and passionate vocals.


1. Michael Brunnock - The Orchard

What I wrote:  The thirteen songs are immense deep and often personal songs. The themes within the songs concern change, new beginnings, hope, love, companionship, fairytales, circle of life etc. This is a serious album of great and powerful songs that work! It proves to me what a powerful healer or meditative tool a great collection of songs can be.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Alt Xmas Tune #10: Bill Coleman - Don't Suffer in Silence

I'm bringing my Alternative Festive Tunes to a close with this tale of hope and courage from Bill Coleman's 2003 debut EP entitled 'Don't Suffer in Silence'. Look after yourself this Christmas!

I've swept up after gods in dreams, 
Silent like a windless nightmare, 
Only easing through with time, 
A lost and unfamiliar valentine. 
Standing on her own, 
With a rage within that rarely, seldom, ever shows. 
Like a kiss stung on the wind, 
Or a lie I'd not have thought to save, 
Much less to win. 

Don't Suffer in Silence. 

A quickness in me, 
A touch that I do not remember gracefully, 
And you smile like it's ok, 
But I remember what it was I wanted yesterday. 

Don't Suffer in Silence. 
(In your heart you'll find, 
Your soul entwined with an aching longing, 
To be yourself. 
It's a long road and it's a hard station, 
And I've never been so scared in my life.) 

Still standing all alone, 
With a rage within that rarely, seldom, ever shows. 
Like a kiss stung on the wind, 
Or a lie I'd not have thought to save, 
Much less to win. 

Don't Suffer in Silence.
from A Long Time Coming, released 16 October 2003 
Written by Bill Coleman. Steve Fanagan produced, recorded and mixed.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Alt Xmas Tune #9: Anais Mitchell - Young Man in America

One of the big changes for the blog next year is that I'll be featuring and reviewing a wider scope of artists but pinpointing real quality. My favourite non Irish album of the year is Anais Mitchell's 'Young Man in America' with the title track being an epic tale of modern America which demands your attention at any time of the year. 

My mother gave a mighty shout
Opened her legs and let me out
Hungry as a prairie dog
Young man in America
Young man in America
Hungry, hungry, running every which way
Young man in Americay

I come out like a cannonball
Come of age of alcohol
Raven in a field of rye
With a black and roving eye
Black and roving eye
Ravenous, ravenous
What you got, it's not enough
Young man in America

Oh, shelter, mother shelter,
Mother shelter us

My father was a lord of land
My daddy was a repo man
Put me out onto the street
Didn't give a damn for me
Did not give a damn
Daddy, daddy, gonna wish you never had me
I'm a young man

I'm growing right before your eyes
I might grow to such a size
Blow in like a hurricane
Everyone will know my name
Everyone'll know my name
Blowing in, blowing up
Shadow on the mountaintop
Young man in America

Oh, shepherd, father shepherd,
Father shepherd us

In my feathers and furs
Clothes of many colors
Many men will envy me
When I'm in my finery
Me in my finery
Envy me, envy me
Spending all my bright money
Young man in Americay

Maybe I climb the stairs
With a girl of golden hair
Hold her like a sword and shield
Up against this lonely world
Up against the world
It's a lonely, lonely world
For a yellow-headed girl
And a young man

Like the wind I make my moan
Howl in the canyon
There's a hollow in my bones
Make me cry and carry on
Make the foam fly from my tongue
Make me want what I want
Another wayward son
Waiting on oblivion

Waiting on the kingdom come to meet me in my sin
Waiting to be born again
Mother kiss me cheek and chin
Mmm, a little medicine
Mmm, and then I shed my skin
Mmm, and lemme climb back in the bed you made me in

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Alt Xmas Tune #8: Roesy - Trailing The True Star

When I lived in the UK in the early naughties a whole host of singer-songwriters such as Damien Rice, Paddy Casey, Mundy and Damien Dempsey who made their name in Ireland at that time. Roesy was a major part of that scene in Ireland but I never got into his music in the same way I became fans of Damien Rice and The Frames. However, in the last few years I've appreciated his music and lyrics immensely. For this Alternative Christmas song I'm sharing Roesy's well known song 'Trailing The True Star' in the hope that you'll discovery the brilliance that is Roesy's songs.

I for one have got eyes for you 
All the promise of January and warmth of June 
I’d been down 
Down with the crows below 
You came in the night, whispering of white 
And God knows, God only knows 

I’m sailing not failing 
I’m trailing the true star tonight 
High up on a crescent moon 
Your name is spoken, a dream is woven. 

Trailing the true star tonight 
Trailing the true star 
Trailing the true star tonight 

You’re one of loneliness’s favourite things 
Giver of great grace and joy 
The first blossom of Spring 

I’d been down 
Down with the crows below 
You took me by the hand, to make me a better man 
And God knows, God only knows 

I’m sailing not failing 
I’m trailing the true star tonight 
So high up on a crescent moon 
Your name is spoken, the dream is woven. 

Trailing the true star tonight 
Trailing the true star 
Trailing the true star tonight 

I kissed the morning sun 
I pray our lives will be happy and long 
I’m looking down, down at the crows below 
I’m not gonna fall in, cause I know what that bring 
And God knows, God only knows 

I’m sailing not failing 
Trailing the true star tonight 
You’re so high up on a crescent moon 
Your name is spoken, a dream is woven 

Trailing the true star tonight 
Trailing the true star
from Colour me colourful, released 24 March 2006 
N4 Records 2006 
Copyright of WardlawBanks

Monday, 10 December 2012

Live Review: Gemma Hayes at the Olympia Dec 9th 2012

Last night, Gemma Hayes & band performed a quality show for her fans in the grand surroundings of The Olympia Theater which was recorded to be released as a Live Album next year.

Special guest last night was Joe Chester who was really impressive with a perfect singer-songwriter set. His guitar playing was exceptional throughout and he was joined by a Double Bass player which gave great depth to his songs. I'd rate his performance up there as one of the most assured and confident performances I've seen in a long time.

Gemma was joined on stage initially by Ann Scott on keys, ukulele, guitar and percussion and then the rhythm section of Karl Odlum and Binzer joined the band. You could sense from early on that this was a special gig for Gemma and it took a number of songs before she looked more calm and assured on stage. Early tracks like the Kate Bush song 'Cloudbusting' didn't come across too well due to this unease and sound issues with the ukulele! It wasn't until the introduction to her track 'Oliver' and the interaction with the crowd joker that the mood changed.

Standout tracks on the night were 'Keep Running' and 'Shock to the System' from her most recent album 'Let It Break' and the older tracks such as the brilliant 4.35am off her 1999 debut EP and 'Back of my Hand' from her Mercury nominated 'Night on my Side'. The crowd pleasing tunes were the three covers of Cloudbusting, The Buzzcock's 'Ever Fallen in Love' and Wicked Games by Chris Isaak.

As a fan of an artist like Gemma Hayes who has four full albums and a few EP's released there are always going to be songs that you want to hear live that isn't in the setlist. However including three covers at the expense of great songs like 'Ran For Miles', 'Hanging Around' and 'Home' left me a tad disappointed. On a positive note the encore of 'Let A Good Thing Go' followed by a rendition of 'Have Yourself A Merry Christmas' was quality. Joe Chester and the Discovery Gospel Choir joined Gemma for the festive number and brought the night to a commendable finish.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Alt Xmas Tune #7: Glen Hansard - High Hopes

Hats off to Glen Hansard for this moving video for his new single 'High Hope' shot in his home town of Ballymun. The video is shot with real empathy which shows the renewed hope that the people of Ballymun have and gives a nice glimpse to a future in Ballymun which is completely different to the stereotypical constraints that has hindered it's cultural development.  'High Hope' is indeed a great alternative Christmas message.

I'm workin' on the high hope
And if it all works out, you might just see me
Or hear from me in a while
[ Lyrics from: ]
I'm gonna make it across this tight rope
Then I'm comin' for my prize
No more I'll be waitin' 'round
While life just passes by

Maybe when our hearts realign
Maybe when we've both had some times
I'm gonna see you there

I'm gonna see you there, lay
Where we can be natural, lay

Cause I've been livin' in the half life
Not sure which way to turn
Why must a man lose everything
To find out what he wants

I'm gonna wait until it feels right
And when that time has come
Wild horses won't keep me back
From where you have gone

Maybe when we're both old and wise
Maybe when our hearts have had some time
I'm gonna see you there


After all we've seen
We can do anything, lay
Where your heart is strong
Where we can go on and on, lay
Where your good times gone
Where we are forever young, lay
Where your heart is strong
Where we can go on and on, lay, lay!

I wanna see you there

Here's a nice acoustic version of High Hope from KDHX radio. 

& Special Guest Nicole Maguire,

Vicar Street,
17th December – Extra Date,
18th December – Sold Out.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Alt Xmas Tune #7: Gemma Hayes - Home

There's nothing like being 'Home' for Christmas. The definition of 'Home' is a tricky thing of course as it could be psychological as well as physical! Tomorrow night 'Home' for me is the bliss feeling I'll have at Gemma Hayes Olympia gig. Love this tune!

The fully seated gig has approximate stage times as follows: doors open 7pm/7.15pm, support from Joe Chester about 8pm, Gemma Hayes due on stage around 8.45pm/9pm. More info:

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Alt Xmas Tune #6: The Gorgeous Colours - It's OK To Be Normal

A this time of year we like hearing songs with jingles, strings, trumpets, nice sentiments and a backing choir. Well this little song has all that and contains the wonderful Alternative Christmas message that ...... It's OK to be Normal

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

In Focus: MRU Awards Update

On Monday I wrote a post bringing light to the first Music Review Unsigned Awards to be held in the Mercantile on December 16th. 

The Editor of MRU has issues with this statement: " a question mark hangs over it's integrity." I outlined two reasons for this statement that (a) Many of the artists in the shortlist did not release anything in 2012 and that (b) the majority of the bands playing on the night made the shortlist but the bands were booked before the shortlist was announced. 

Last night the post was shared on Facebook by MRU and the issues I raised were commented upon. One of the reviewers maintains that there were many protocols in place for the judging of the acts nominated. This is welcome news which refutes my integrity claim. It was also cleared up that the bands were not required to have released anything at all through 2012. Being on the 'Scene' and gigging was enough to be considered. Again this clears up the question marks I had. In short the Awards celebrate those artists which impressed the MRU crew throughout 2012 and that's fair enough. 

I can understand very clearly why those involved in the monumental task of organising an awards show felt my comment as harsh and unfair. The positive message in the original post was lost among the negativity which is a real shame. 

For the record I'm delighted that the following bands are in the mix for awards on December 16th. 

Autumn Long for Best Album,

David Hope For Best Male,

Suzanne Savage for best Soul/Jazz/Funk,

The Thomas Donoghue Band for Best Acoustic,

Fox E. & The Good Hands for Soul/Jazz/Funk and will be amazing live on the night. 

Eric McGrath for Best Male,

Fiach & Bob Kelly for this awesome video concept,

Wicker Bones and Peter Doran for Best Unsigned Act 2012

The Henry Girls, Fling and Fiach for Best Folk

I'm looking forward to the Winning list on December 16th

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Repost: Top 10 Original Irish Christmas Tunes

Repost by Popular Demand!

Someone out there in the world has linked up to the following post from last year and is making the hits fly through the roof. I'd thought I'd repost and update for all them new people visiting the blog for the first time:


This is the first of three 'Top 10' countdowns I'm planning for the Christmas season! Here are in my opinion the best 10 original Christmas tunes by Irish artists [excluding the very obvious Fairytale of New York!].

10. Bill Coleman - Sit With Me

Thanks to Aidan from Golden Plec I was introduced to this today and it's a great tune. Sit With Me is a heartfelt Christmas song which reminds you that life and all it's struggles continue through the Christmas period.

"So I won’t be back,
Goodbye my darling,
I will miss you so,
I am so sorry."

 Sit With Me by bcoleman

9. Track Dogs - How Christmas Was Meant To Be

This is the current single from Spanish settlers Track Dogs. It's a typical Track Dogs number with the sound vocals from Garrett Wall and that wonderful trumpet elevating the song above the ordinary!

 How Christmas Was Meant To Be by Track Dogs

8. Alien Envoy - Christmas in the City

This track appeared on the Alien Envoy album from last year called 'Nine Lives'. I love the vocals of Nick Kelly and the strings which add so much to the charm of the song. This video was recorded on December 30th 2009 upstairs in Whelans:

7. Shayne Thomas Byrne - Coming Home

'Coming Home' is not a Christmas song but it references coming home for Christmas so it gets into the list. 'Coming Home' is the album closer of Shayne's debut album released this year and it's a great song.

Update: Not Available

6. Funzo - This Christmas

This track was the winner of Christmas FM’s ‘New Christmas Classic’ award in 2009. The song reminds me of the old Paul McCarty Christmas classics or even Jona Lewie's 'Stop The Cavalry'.

5. Séan Needham - A Child Could Save Us All

A song about the true meaning of Christmas that's actually good? This is a song written about being home in Donegal for Christmas and I love it!

4. Emmett Tinley - Christmastreet

This is a beautifully written tune from former Prayer Boat singer. It's taken from the singer's 2005 debut solo album called 'Attic Faith'. Buy the album here:

3. Miss Paula Flynn - Happy Christmas, Valentine

A love song for Christmas? Yes and it's beautiful! I love the video too! There's even a hint of Jingle Bells at the end of the tune!

2. Declan O'Rourke - Christmas Wine

Declan released this single back in 2006 with Nina Kinert. It's beautifully sung and the lyrics are superb.

1. Mick Flannery - Christmas Past

The original version of this tune features Kate Walsh on vocals but in the video it's Lisa Hannigan providing the co-vocals. Again for me this song is all about the lyrics. There's no attempt at sloppy Christmas sentiments here, it's all about the anguish of love:

"Oh yeah I forgot this part
This is where you break my heart
You told me that you loved me then
Did you really mean it friend"