Bressie is set to call time on his solo career
John Meagher: Loaded
After two albums, including one that topped the Irish chart, Bressie is set to call time on his solo career. "I never fully enjoyed being a solo artist," he told me last week. "I'm now at the point where I just want to park the solo thing and get back to what I enjoy doing best -- being in a band."
And that band looks like being The Blizzards, whom he fronted for five years after calling time on an injury-ridden pro rugby career. "Being in the Blizzards was the most fun I ever had in music. I'm still friendly with all the lads so I think we'll get together and see what's what later in the year." For now, the Mullingar man is focused on his turn in the ever-popular The Voice of Ireland.
"Dolores (O'Riordan) is bringing a whole new dimension to it this year. The sparks will continue to fly," he said.
* Good news for Fleetwood Mac fans: Christine McVie is set to rejoin the band after a hiatus of 15 years. She had described herself as "music'd out" during promotional duties for her 2004 solo album, but after months of Rumours (excuse the pun) her return completes the late 1970s line-up that bestrode the globe like a 10-foot colossus.
And, happily, her former husband John McVie was well enough to play Las Vegas shows earlier this month after treatment for cancer. Might new music be too much to ask for for 2014?
* A note on the Choice nominations: where is the Cian Nugent album? And the Come On Live Long one?
I find it astonishing that two of the best Irish albums of last year could be neglected. Happily, Villagers, Girls Names and Bell X1 are included, with the latter earning their third nomination.
In my book, Villagers' Awayland is the best album there, but my money is on Girls Names' outstanding debut The New Life or My Bloody Valentine's comeback MBV (an album I don't like) to be triumphant.
* It doesn't say much for the critical aptitude of Hollywood's Foreign Press Association that U2's well intentioned but artistically bankrupt Nelson Mandela tribute song would win a Golden Globe on Sunday night. One has to delve a long way into their canon to find a song as weak as Ordinary Love. Such truths are unlikely to concern Bono who used his acceptance speech to welcome new manager Guy Oseary into the fold. It's been months now since it was announced that "fifth member" Paul McGuinness is stepping down from management but the band's comparative silence on the matter continues to raise eyebrows.
Prolific Jurado shows his talent is eternal
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE ETERNAL SON
Prolific US singer Damien Jurado may have been releasing music for 17 years, but he is only recently getting his due on this side of the Atlantic.
Aficionados of material inspired by heartbreak should investigate his plaintive 2012 song Working Titles while the Seattle man's contribution to Moby's Innocents album last year was inspired.
This, his 11th album, is produced by the respected multi-instrumentalist Richard Swift and centres on a fictional central character who leaves home to find himself and never returns.
Jurado is a fine storyteller as well as a gifted songwriter and over the course of 10 songs and 35-odd minutes, he weaves quite a spell.
There's a touch of Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver in several of the tracks including the gorgeous early highlight Silver Timothy and there are plenty of moments in which the listener might feel they had happened upon a lost gem from the 1970s.
The arrangements are understated throughout -- an ideal way to showcase Jurado's lovely, warm vocals.
Key tracks: Silver Timothy; Silver Joy