Music Review: Joshua Burnside’s brilliant “Into the Depths of Hell “

Source: Folk Radio UK

We were recently treated to two new songs from the Northern Irish singer songwriter extraordinaire Joshua Burnside, the confessionals ‘Whiskey Whiskey‘ and most recently ‘The Only Thing I Fear‘. Songs which combined vivid imagery and powerful lyricism dealing with our darkest thoughts, irrational fears and insecurities. They offered a glimpse of an artist at a personal high in his aesthetic pursuit, laying bare his innermost thoughts, dreams and wishes.

As he exposed the crazy fragility of humanity on ‘The Only Thing I Fear’, he plunges us even deeper on his latest single and our Song of the Day ‘and you evade him/born in the blood‘ the release of which has been coupled with the announcement that a new album is on the way – Into the Depths of Hell is to be released on 4th September. The accompanying video reveals just how deep Burnside can plunge his listener…from the off, a synthetic gauze-like surface of micro blips present the ticking passing of time, unabated and unstoppable with found-sounds that unravel like a late-night cold sweat.

One excerpt, from which the song takes part of its title, is an interview featuring Richard Burton during which he talks of his battle with alcoholism…”you evade him… you evade him… But one of these days unless you’re careful, he’s gonna nail you right on the chin and down you go.” That opener, coupled with the visuals, leave you with an unnerving sense of standing on the precipice…witnessing the rolling cycle of struggle and dealing with your own inner turmoil that’s trying to make sense of it all. Those first opening lines from Burnside say it all…

“I was a liar
when I said
I am not afraid
I am”

Joshua released his debut album ‘Ephrata’ in 2017 via Quiet Arch Records. Filled with deeply personal stories of characters he had encountered and hearts that had been broken, it illustrated a man at odds with the world before him. A critical and commercial success, the unique mix of Irish traditional, European folk and Americana music that fuelled the emotional core of his inaugural release earned Joshua the ‘Best Album’ award at the Northern Irish Music Prize.

After his time spent touring ‘Ephrata’ around the UK and Ireland, Joshua returned home to his native Belfast, determined to capture the sounds, sights and stories he encountered on his travels. A deluxe EP (‘Wear Blue Bells In Your Hat If You’re Goin’ That Way’) and live album (‘Live At The Elmwood Hall’) emerged earlier this year as he continued to experiment in his studio. Most recently he shared songs that he’d first heard at the Sailortown Folk Club in Belfast through his more traditional EP Far O’er the Sounding Main.

Burnside appears to be on something of a creative high…be sure to follow him on his journey ‘Into the Depths of Hell’.

Folk Radio remains free and is made possible by advertising and patronage. If we have brought you some joy through what we have done this year, please consider supporting us with a regular or one-off donation.


“Catch yerself on!” The Derry Girls zoom with Saorise Ronan for Comic Relief

Saoirse Ronan joined the cast of Derry Girls in a hilarious sketch for RTE’s Comic Relief which aired in Ireland on Friday night.

For the sketch that aired on RTE in Ireland on Friday, the stars of Derry Girls – Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Nicola Coughlan, Dylan Llewellyn, and Louisa Harland – join together on Zoom in anticipation of a meeting with Oscar-nominated Saoirse Ronan.

Naturally, there’s great excitement amongst the gang, especially since, according to Saoirse-Monica Jackson, this could be a great opportunity to break away from their Derry Girls characters.

“It’s just everybody thinks we’re exactly like our characters in Derry Girls,” she says, sounding an awful lot like her character Erin on the hit show. “We need to prove that we’re serious, intelligent young women.”

Record Review: Brigid Mae Power’s  “Head Above the Water”

Brigid Mae Power
Brigid Mae Power

The Irish folk singer’s third album fills out her sound to incorporate elements of jazz, country rock, slowcore, and psychedelia.

Brigid Mae Power’s music never quite settles on solid ground. The Irish singer-songwriter flits between past and present; between traditional and modern forms; between the heaven in her voice and the earthbound epiphanies of her words. Her last album was called The Two Worlds. I’d say she inhabits a few more than that.

Power emerged from Galway’s bohemian scene, experimenting with the parameters of traditional music in unlit car parks and remote churches. Until now, the echo of open spaces has been a defining feature of her music, her intimate songs bolstered by cavernous reverb and drone. Those textures are less prominent on her third album. Recorded in Glasgow in three days with a band assembled by Scottish contemporary folkie Alasdair Roberts, who co-produced alongside Power and her husband Peter Broderick, Head Above the Water fills out her sound with a broader sweep of instrumentation. There is room for the bodhran, fiddle, and bouzouki, but also the synthesizer, Shruti box, drums, and electric guitar. Roberts encourages a more adventurous spirit to enter the proceedings. Though still rooted in folk—there’s a stunning cover of the traditional ballad “The Blacksmith”—the 10 songs blend elements of jazz, country rock, slowcore, and psychedelia.

Occasionally, the music has real bite, as on the snaking, sinister “I Was Named After You.” More typically, the songs amble dreamily toward their destination, as though following an ancient map on which the coordinates have begun to fade. On “Wedding of a Friend” and “You Have a Quiet Power,” buffeted by cross breezes of pedal steel and Mellotron, Power sounds like she’s fronting a slightly woollier Mazzy Star. “On a City Night” recalls the giddy joie de vivre of some of the lighter moments on Bob Dylan and The Band’s Basement Tapes.


Source: Brigid Mae Power: Head Above the Water

Review: “Normal People” Sally Rooney’s love story is a small-screen triumph

This BBC/Hulu adaptation of the hit novel about the on-again, off-again relationship between two Irish teenagers captures the beauty and brutality of first love perfectly

Inevitably, people will come to the television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People in one of two ways: as avid fans of the book, which to a certain demographic and sensibility has become tantamount almost to a sacred text, or as detractors to whom the Irish wunderkind’s work reads as barely more than top flight YA and who have been mystified by the plaudits, awards and – in Normal People’s case – Man Booker longlisting it has garnered.

In the end it won’t matter. The rendering of the on-again-off-again relationship between sixth-form and then university students Marianne and Connell for the small screen, by Rooney herself with Alice Birch, is near-perfect from whichever direction you come at it. Continue reading