2015 According to Nathan Conway


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.

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BarryGruff Playlist August 2015


A now regular monthly feature, whereby we round up all the blog action with a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured during the month.

August was pretty damn good! We had new tunes from Anderson, The Foetals, The Annulments and DRINKS ahead of their respective, forthcoming new albums. There were excellent new singles from SALES, Cornershop, Imploded View, Foreign/National and Silverbacks, and EPs from Mr Huw & Dog Legs. Oh, and Johnny Feeney shared his albums of the year so far too.

Also featured on this month’s playlist are great tracks from Martha Ffion, Sh-Shakes, SQRD, BUCK, and Ghost Culture’s, Ghostpoet remix . So, August, pretty good alright.

Listen to BarryGruff’s August 2015 playlist below.

The Annulments – ‘So Little To Miss’ + Album News


Formed by friends with a mutual love of old folk, country, blues and soul music, The Annulments are a five-piece group based in Dublin. Made up of Stephen Coyle on guitar and vocals, Claire Fitzgerald; autoharp and vocals, Aoife Ruth; strings and keys, Richard Gill on bass and Niall Colreavy; drums and percussion, their debut LP has been a longtime coming.

Good things come to those who wait, so it’s said at least, and The Annulments debut album, entitled Everything I Lost, is penned for an October release. Their sound flows from a rich source of influences and styles; old Irish and American folk music and the songwriting traditions of balladeers and country and soul songwriters. Informed by these influences, The Annulments debut promises a collection of songs with an eclectic mix of musical styles and lyrical tales, of small towns, big disasters, abandoned dreams and labours lost. It’s an approach which has served them rather well in the past and teaser track, ‘So Little To Miss’, suggests it will continue to do so. ‘So Little To Miss’ is gentle, plucky little number that exemplifies their supreme musicianship and deep, earthy style, as the rich affecting vocals takes centre stage to a backdrop of slowly waltzing, soul and country inflected folk. An absolutely wonderful and timeless track, what The Annulments do best, after all.

You can listen to ‘So Little To Miss’ below and if it is to your liking, you can keep tabs on further details for their forthcoming debut LP, here.

Photo by Dara Munnis Photography.

Best of 2012: w/ Aoife from The Annulments

The Annulments

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling end of year lists. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to the bands and artist’s who’ve played a ‘BarryGruff Presents’ show this year and ask them for their ‘favourite album of 2012’, ‘favourite song of 2012’ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’.

Without further ado, here’s Aoife from The Annulments and her picks from the year that was 2012.

Favourite Album of 2012: Nathan Conway and The River Valley Band – ‘Sonny Boy’

This year saw the release of Sonny Boy by Nathan Conway and The River Valley Band. We’ve been big fans since his debut, Run on Diesel with the T-Town Bottlestoppers a couple of years back. Conway has a serious gift for writing witty, salient songs – whether they’re about doing the dirt on your missus in a cheap motel, vampire bats, Jesus, or what’s in the making of a man – they always seem to be put across in the most direct, thought-provoking and fun ways. His singing voice is striking, to say the least – a south-eastern drawl hiding nothing. It’s one of those albums that every time you listen to it, you hear a different lick, a different nuance, a different theme. The River Valley Band are multi-faceted, talented musicians and for the breadth of moods and influences on Sonny Boy, it’s testament to their ability that each song is put across so well. To The Annulments, Nathan is one of the most underrated songwriters in Ireland at the moment – which seems positively criminal – so grab the opportunity to wrap your ears around this album, it’s bloody marvelous!

Favourite song of 2012: Tame Impala – ‘Elephant’

Recently enough a friend said “here, have you heard that Tame Impala song?” Cue the last month of listening to this almost on repeat. What a tune! If John Lennon had to soundtrack an episode of Buck Rogers I’d imagine it would sound a little like this. I believe the lads are from Perth, Australia and their music seems to be the type that could only have come out of permanently sunny climes. Looking forward to hearing more from them in 2013.

Favourite Irish song 0f 2012: Nathan Conway and The River Valley Band – ‘Troublemaker’

Should we have branched out here and thought about a different artist for our favourite song? Probably. But you would be very, very hard pushed to find a better song all year than Troublemaker. This song stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I heard it. I suppose in a weird way, the song asks ‘what would Jesus do?’ and paints him as a regular guy, “a married man too”. Again, Conway’s strength of writing shines through in something that is so simple, yet so direct. I guess a song like this makes you realise how much religion has stripped the humanity out of spiritual figures and when you get a glimpse of that again, it’s pretty stunning.

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BarryGruff Presents #8: The Annulments, The Cedar Sound, Appo & DJs :: Flanagan’s :: Newbridge :: Sat Sept 15th

‘BarryGruff Presents’ #8 is here & returns to Flanagan’s Bar, Newbridge on Saturday, September 15th.

It’s going to one hell of a night w/ 3 great live performances from The Annulments, The Cedar Sound, Appo & DJ sets till 2am from Robbie Coffey & Cormac Brady (Super Extra Bonus Party).

Dublin quartet The Annulments’ sound comes from a broad blend of influences, taking in blues, folk country, dixieland, mountain minstrelsy, soul and rock and roll. With a respect for these musical traditions, they create wonderful and arresting tales of unjust love, mislaid plans and labours lost. The Annulments are a band whose stock is steadily on the rise.

Accompanying them on the bill are The Cedar Sound and Appo. Compiled of members from Kildare and Dublin, The Cedar Sound have hit the gig trail this year, taking their Americana Folk sounds with them across Ireland. Meanwhile Appo, one of Newbridge’s finest troubadours, returns for his second performance of the series. He and his gravely bluesy-folk remains one of the town’s best kept secrets.

Entry is FREE as always and the show starts at 9.00pm and runs until 2.00am in Flanagan’s, Newbridge on Saturday, September 15th. For more info & Facebook event.

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The Annulments – Birds Don’t Cry

The Annulments are a Dublin quartet (including one former Last Tycoon).

Their sound is derived from a broad blend of influences, taking in blues, folk country, dixieland, mountain minstrelsy, soul and rock and roll. Combined, these influences are met with an emphasis on the folk songwriting tradition; tales of mislaid plans, unjust love and labours lost.

It is an approach which serves them well and captured perfectly by their teaser track, ‘Birds Don’t Cry’. While it couldn’t sound further from what you would expect to emerge from Dublin’s fair city and wouldn’t be out of place on Deadwood’s soundtrack, it is a joyous sound & one with which I look forward to keeping an eye and ear on in future.