One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is the release of GruffWuff; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging.
It was a truly fantastic way to mark 5 years of BarryGruff and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved and the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next is Nathan Conway.
Nathan is one of Ireland’s most underrated songwriters, a veritable treasure trove of magical songs. Taking old folk, gospel and good time rock n roll, to create a beautiful, timeless and assured soulful country sound. Conway’s intuitive storytelling and striking vocals bringing it all home, painting vivid pictures with his words. Beautiful, timeless and assured.
Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out Nathan Conway’s sublime and soulful debut with The River Valley Band, Sonny Boy and his GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Babycheeno’ – of which you can download here for FREE.
What was your personal high point of this year, musical and/or otherwise?
This year I started playing just the guitar and me. I like to hear the effect of instruments and voices working together, not so much the lyrics but other people wanted something else from me and I couldn’t ignore that anymore. I played in a house in Dublin, Guitar and vocal. I played to writers and players that I have a lot of respect for. People who I want to listen to and the people I would like to be listening to me. They went to a lot of effort to be there. The response was big and loud. I tell myself that I’m different from other people playing music and that I don’t want any ego trip about it. But I did need some kind of vindication and I got it there. A lot of writers got up and did one or two of their songs afterwards. Hearing them all together and backing each other up and me singing along was a great feeling.
‘Wine in the Water’ by The Annulments.
I must have listened to this 10 times over, the first time I put it on. And then 20 times, the next time.
It’s almost simple. It’s almost a standard. It’s almost a cliché. But it’s none of those things.
It’s really deep in a way that only the simple truths can be. Listen to it 30 times and find out.
Favourite new act discovered in 2015?
Algiers: When I was shown this band it was the video of the song ‘Black Eunuch’ that I saw first. The ingredients aren’t new, they never are. But what they do with the standard line up is new to me. Great dynamics. Echoes by The Rapture had the same new energy whenever that was. 10 years ago? Probably more. The band have belief in themselves and their music. And so they should.
Favourite album of 2015?
Can’t comment on that. There must have been some great ones but I never got around to them.
What are you plans for the new year? What can we expect from you?
All of the family life I’ve been living has been dripping through into my music for the last couple of years. I have a record with that influence coming out in a couple of weeks. It’s a folksy and country affair with some lovely players on it. Yesterday I changed the title to Babycheeno. With one thing and another it took a lot of time to put together but that’s ok. It’s all about the process now and the people I get to work with along the way. I hope to do some playing with Aoife Ruth over the year. She plays the viola on the aforementioned record. We think we could make a good sound in the country style. But the way things go I bet we’ll be gone electric in a couple of weeks.