Introducing: Our Hero From Horse Country

This Is Horse Country

Our Hero From Horse Country is the new project from Knoxville Morning / Band On An Island rabble-rouser, Ciaran Dwyer.

Under this new moniker, Dwyer will release a trilogy of solo, acoustic albums. The first of which of is ‘A Horse Walks Into A Bar’, a carefully curated a selection of 11 acoustic jams that celebrate his favourite Newbridge pub, Con Cummins. Each song has a relevance to his favourite local boozer, either written there, sang there or have some sort of sentimental attachment to the place. Recorded in a single day in the heart of Horse Country itself – The Curragh of Kildare – with Karl O’Neill (who also mixed it with Rubber Keogh). There are some old tunes, some new ones and some cover versions, including one of his all-time favourites ‘Blue Murder’ by Brian Brannigan. Introducing his new project, Dwyer has shared a first single ‘Buster Blue Eyes’ – a personal favourite I must hasten to add. Ponderous and reflective, ‘Buster Blue Eyes’ shifts seamlessly through the gears, from a gentle acoustic strum to a stirring, rousing and triumphant crescendo. A side-project created with love, care and attention and as far as intros go, ‘Buster Blue Eyes’ is perfect.

You can listen to ‘Buster Blue Eyes’ below. And if you’re down with that, the whole A Horse Walks Into A Bar album is here.

2015 According to Knoxville Morning

Knoxville Morning 2015

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 Ciaran Dwyer, of Knoxville Morning.

The Knoxville Morning project was inspired by a trip around the USA taken by chief troublemaker Ciaran Dwyer. The result of which is a combination of sweet folk, country and Americana. While it certainly wears it’s US influences on it’s sleeve, Ciaran’s intuitive storytelling remains a cornerstone as does their home town roots. A longtime BarryGruff favourite that never cease to deliver, again and again.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out Knoxville Morning’s fabulous self-titled debut LP, and their GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Bridget’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

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Best of 2013 w/ Ciaran Dwyer of Knoxville Morning


It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Ciaran Dwyer from Knoxville Morning and his picks from 2013.

Irish Song of the Year: Lethal Dialect (Feat. Jacknife J) – ’13 til Infinity’

My love of lyric writing came from being an obsessive Hip Hop Fan in secondary school and it was this that led me to folk music and to the poets that are my heroes today. I’m quite new to Lethal Dialect and when I heard this song it blew my mind on first listen, the easy going production and flow is perfect and the song couldn’t have come at a better time, slap bang in the middle of our best summer in years but its the subjects that Lethal raps about that really bring me in. Like all great writers he writes about his own environment and what he sees around him turning the often banal into things of beauty. The last verse (especially the last two lines) give me shivers on the scruff of my neck every time I hear it, one of the best tributes to a woman I’ve ever heard in a song. Pure Poetry, Pure Genius.

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Album of the Year: The National – ‘Trouble Will Find Me’

This was a toss up between this and Push the Sky Away by Nick Cave which also blew my mind this year. Trouble edges it for me as The National have been my favourite band for many years now and every album is a step up the ladder of greatness, this one being probably my personal favourite alongside Boxer. The highlight tunes on this for me are ‘I Should Live in Salt’, ‘Demons’, ‘Humiliation’ and ‘Pink Rabbits’ (one of the finest songs they’ve ever written). Matt Berninger is the man of the match on this album, outdoing himself with his Vocals and pushing himself to new heights with his lyrics. I was lucky to see them tour twice this year and the second time ranks as one of my favourite shows that I’ve ever seen.

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Song of 2013: The Mighty Stef – ‘The Hardship’

I can remember loving this song the first time I ever heard it being played in a sound check in Detroit. It hadn’t yet become the absolute Monster of a song it is today but had all the hallmarks of a Mighty Stef classic even back then. The word Hardship has been thrown around our bands in jest for a couple of years now, often in the middle of real hardship where some comic relief is needed to keep the train on the tracks. If there’s one thing I know about Stef and his operation is that he has had to work incredibly hard through all manners of Hardship to get any little thing he gets in Music. The singing on this is perfect, a master-class in how to deliver a song, full of emotion and passion and going right to the end of his range as a singer. ‘The Hardship’ is an anthem to all of us who are in this game for the long run.

BarryGruff Presents #3: The Last Tycoons, Sive & Ciaran Dwyer :: Flanagan’s :: Newbridge :: Dec 14th

So, it’s gig #3 for ‘BarryGruff’ Presents’ in Flanagan’s, Newbridge on Wednesday, December 14th. Entry is FREE as always and judging by the gigs #1 and #2, this is going to be immense!

Now based between their native Dublin and Berlin, The Last Tycoons have taken time out of their busy schedule for a headline show in Newbridge. The Tycoons’ debut album was one of last years top albums, armed with this, their southern roots Americana tinged alternative rock sounds and some new songs (hopefully), it is going to be a fantastic show.

On the bill too are Kildare musicians Sive and Ciaran Dwyer. Sive are fronted by songwriter and musician Sadhbh O’Sullivan, who along with her band, has been busy gigging around Ireland this year. Meanwhile Ciaran Dwyer of Band on an Island will be showcasing material from his debut solo album, which is due out in March of next year.

Entry is FREE as always and starts at 9pm, Wednesday, December 14th. More info & Facebook event here.

The Last Tycoons – Speed

The Last Tycoons – The Dry Law

Ciaran Dwyer – Alphabet City (Acoustic) 

Sive – Sunkissed

SOnance HOtel :: Album Launch :: Twisted Pepper :: July 15th

SOnance HOtel is the new work of Dublin musician and songwriter Brian Gallagher. Gallagher is probably better known to most as the drummer in Humanzi or for his work with The Mighty Stef.

He is set to release his first solo album Don’t Look Behind You this Friday, July 15. The record was conceived in Berlin and shaped on return to Dublin. It is virtually the work of one man, with all the material being composed, arranged, performed and produced by Gallagher.

It is quite different from his previous work but is no less astounding, preferring a gentle, uplifting and beautiful blend of lush 90’s style indie with touches of electronica. Don’t Look Behind You is a stunning debut, I’ve been hooked on it since I got it on Monday.

Don’t Look Behind You is launched this Friday 15 July in the Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin w/ support from The Mighty Stef and Ciaran Dwyer. Doors 8pm / €5.

SOnance HOtel – Ode To Nowhere

SOnance HOtel – Living Is For Dreaming