It has truly been an incredible year for the brownbread mixtape, with the show going from strength to strength every month. By the end of the year we were drawing crowds of 100+ at every gig (with people spilling in to the hall and down the stairs) and each show has been buzzing with incredible magic and energy. The source of much of that buzz and electricity has been provided by the amazing musical acts at the brownbread mixtape.
It really feels as if we are going through a new golden age in music in Ireland and all of the acts who are listed below are at the heart of that. We are spoiled by the incredible calibre of acts here right now and we are always floored by the warmth and integrity of all of the performers who come to play at our show. They have been extremely supportive of the night and we are most grateful to them all. This generation of musicians are still among the best kept secrets around in Ireland, but not for much longer.
So please click away below. Take the time to listen and enjoy the music. Then support them and spread the word, post the links, update your status; so others can hear them and share in that joy too.
So, without further ado, in no particular order, these are the very best musical acts of 2010 at the brownbread mixtape…
1. Pearse McGloughlin
Pearse is one of the very best songwriters in Ireland right now and we were thrilled to have him perform with us on more than one occasion at the brownbread mixtape. This rendition of his song “Morning Mist” was recorded during his terrific set at the Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford back in October. It is a song that defies you to not want to sing its catchy chorus of “For the birds, the brids, the birds…” (So much so that Kalle included it in his poem “The Reformartists”.) Pearse released a great EP this year entitled “Twine” (hear the title track live at BBMT here), which featured our very own Enda Roche on percussion and it is currently available on iTunes and Bandcamp. Do yourself a favour and get it. It’s a gem. 2011 promises much for the Sligo native and we hope to see him soon again on the brownbread stage. [For more info: www.walkperson.net]
2. Enda Reilly
As well as being one of the coolest dudes with the most enviable beard since ZZ Top, Enda Reilly is also a top class guitarist and songwriter. He is a guaranteed crowd pleaser every time he has played the brownbread mixtape. This performance of “Henry” from his October appearance showcases his trademark crafted lyrics, deft guitar playing and his rusty honey vocal cords. (On the same night he performed a storming cover version of The Stone Roses classic “Waterfall”). Keep an eye out for his upcoming EP of songs and poetry that he is releasing with poet Stephen James Smith. It promises to be something very special indeed. Basically what we are saying is Enda Reilly is a ledgebag. [For more info: www.endareilly.com]
3. Elder Roche
Elder is a sparkling lyricist and marvellous performer. His debut album “Nobody Knows” is a record filled with evocative songs and when he performs them live they are given another atmospheric twist again. This recording of his song “Time Will Tell” is taken from his performance at our show in Downes Bar as part of the Imagine Arts Festival. Elder is a troubadour at the height of his considerable powers. Make it your goal to hear him live as soon as possible. [For more info: www.elderroche.com]
Herm played a cracking set at our “Love Stinks” themed show back in June. Of the many fantastic songs that night (including an emotional rendition of ‘Sad Song’ by the late Clancy] their performance of the current single “Rearrange” particularly stood out. A great example of songwriter Kevin Connolly’s quirky lyrics and mighty ear for a melody [For more info: www.herm.tv]
5. Blood Red Mountain Band
The Blood Red Mountain Band play blisteringly fun, good old timey music with a decidedly Dublin twist. At any given time there can be up to 10 people onstage, but on the night they played with us it was just three (Mark, Joeby and Liza). The band had the room absolutely stomping along from the get-go with this rowdy cover of “Ophelia” (originally by The Band) and they took it up another notch with their original tunes thereafter. We liked their 33 1/3 bar blues so much we used at as the soundtrack to this funky timelapse film of the night they performed.
Can I get a “hell yeah”? [For more info: Blood Red Mountain Band on MySpace]
6. The Guilty Folk
The Guilty Folk write and perform ribald, raucous and rude little tunes that are eminently sing-along-able. Damn them. They have no right being this catchy and funny. Or that naughty. Aidan and Sarah actually reconnected as friends at one of the very first brownbread mixtapes, so we feel partially responsible for the ensuing magic and mirth. Not so much for the naughtiness. That’s mostly Aidan’s doing we reckon. They performed this cracking rendition of the very funny “Hate Sex” to a deliriously giddy crowd and it really shows on the recording. (They also did a brilliant collaboration with EleventyFour on the night called Happy) They are one of the most popular acts we’ve booked at the brownbread mixtape and they recently reciprocated their love for the audience at our christmas party by performing a new song called AWLF (Audience We’d Like to F*ck). We all look forward to a recording that! If you know what we mean. [For more info: The Guilty Folk on Facebook and their funny Cleverly Titled Blog]
7. Leanne Harte
Leanne has been writing and performing songs for several years and that shines through in her gentle easygoing stage manner. Her gorgeous, delicate rendition of “Wrote Away” at our July show was a stunning moment in which you could have heard a pin drop. Breathtaking stuff. Last year she also released a gorgeous acoustic album entitled “An Irish Girl in Paris” and it can be purchased on iTunes. After a spell away from the live scene, Leanne is back and absolutely on fire. She is an act of the highest quality and not to be missed. [For more info: www.leanneharte.com]
EleventyFour could be described as a quirky and engaging songstress, but that wouldn’t do her nearly enough justice. She is one of our very favourite performers at the brownbread mixtape (she performed at our very first show ever, back in the day!) and she writes songs that are filled with equal parts of humour and humanity. This recording of “The Friend Song” at our Imagine Festival slot captures her at her charming and melodic best. EleventyFour also created brownbread mixtape history this year by writing a song about a former raffle prize winner, the now legendary Jeff Nelson, and the song has become a firm favourite of ours. JEFF NELSON, JEFF NELSON, JEFF NELSON…
2011 (TwentyEleventy) promises much for EleventyFour , with an upcoming EP release amongst other things, so we look forward to seeing her back onstage with us again! Seek her out and support her live shows. She is awesomer than awesome. [For more info: EleventyFour’s Blog]
9. James Guilmartin
Jimmy is a top drawer singer-songwriter whose songs have a sweet familiarity to them, yet also seem cut from a different cloth. This performance of ‘Gypsy Love Song’ is langorous and lush, ably assisted by our very own Enda Roche on harmonies, percussives and ‘mouth-trumpet’. He also performed a cool cover of Al Green’s classic “Lets Stay Together” on the night and the good-natured audience participation is testament to the brilliant atmosphere he generated in the room! A top performer whose recent debut album “Intor Into Exile” is well worth picking up. [For more info: James Guilmartin on MySpace]
10. Bill Coleman
Bill Coleman put out a remarkable album this year called “You Cant Buy Back Your Life” (click here to see the astonishing artistic endeavour he went through to physically put it together ) and it was filled with his trademark songs of hope, melancholy and heart-thumping euphoria. Seeing Bill live is another beast entirely, but no less exciting. Working with loop pedals and an acoustic guitar, he builds vocal soundscapes that draw you in and grab you tightly. This recording of “I Want You To Know” closed out his set with us in April and it brought the house down. Bill is touring his album in 2011 and you will not want to miss him if he shows up in your neck of the woods. And by the way, pick up a copy of the album, it is a unique physical piece of art in a world of uniformly anonymous downloads. [For more info: www.bcoleman.com]
It is quite possible that Fiach is the hardest working man in showbusiness. It is certainly true that Fiach is a savage songwriter and has buckets of charisma on stage. This year he released his eagerly awaited debut album “So I” which won him massive plaudits. He can also number legendary Waterford songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan as a fan too. This performance from our “Things That Are Cool” themed night, showcases Fiach’s trademark impish humorous onstage charm alongside his considerable songwriting skills. Fiach tours regularly and is deserving of your support. His album is available now on iTunes. Go on. Get it. [For more info: www.fiach net]
12. Rory Faithfield
Rory is originally from Australia but has called Ireland his home for some time now. His most recent album “Songs for Sooner” is a stunner and can be picked up from his official website and the usual online outlets. Rory arrived on the brwnbread mixtape stage armed with an acoustic guitar, a loop pedal and a healthy punk rock ethos. This video of his performance is pieced together from a series of timelapsed webcam recordings of the show and Rory’s atmospheric song “Into The World” lends a perfect soundtrack to the images. Enjoy! [For more info: www.faithfield.com]
13. The Secret Gospel Choir
The Secret Gospel Choir are one of those cool, exciting brownbread mixtape stories. They had formed only shortly beforehand through a shared love of choral singing in a well known Dublin choir. Their performance at our “Secrets” themed show ended up being one of the true highlights of the year and it seems hard to believe that this was their first time ever onstage together. In fact, they were so brand new that their name was made up on the spot by Kalle as they had yet to christen themselves. This performance of the Billy Ocean classic “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” has bundles of joy, quirkiness and gorgeous harmonies. It’s hardly any wonder that they have already been snapped up to sing for other fantastic musicians. We love the secret choir. And that’s not a secret.
14. Wayne Brennan
Wayne is a phenomenal guitar player and a hypnotic presence onstage. He recently released a wonderful album of songs entitled “In My Hands” which can be purchased on iTunes and the usual outlets. This performance of his instrumental piece “Peace in Your Mind” is a briliant showcase of his wizardry on the Spanish guitar and an electrified audience duly responded with roars of appreciation. (Earlier in the night he had performed a brilliant cover of Spanish Caravan by The Doors ) Wayne will be touring around Ireland in early 2011 so go out and catch him live if you can. It is an unforgettable experience. [For more info: www.waynebrennan.com]
15. Miss Paula Flynn
Paula Flynn writes and performs gorgeous, heartfelt songs. Many of you will recognise her as the voice of the cover version of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” from the Ballygowan ad, or indeed as the other half of Jinx Lennon’s live show in recent years. But Paula is a gifted and arresting solo songwiter in her own right these days. This recording of “Little Miss Forkhill” (ably assisted by Greg McAteer on guitar) is a sweet, meditative look back at her formative years in Forkhill , Co. Antrim. She was kind enough to proclaim that the brownbread mixtape is “the best session in Ireland” and we think she is pretty damn amazing herself! [For more info: www.misspaulaflynn.com]
Rook and the Ravens
Rook and the Ravens are from Manchester and have a solid fanbase of followers here in Ireland, which means we have the privilege of seeing one of the very best acts from the UK several times a year in Dublin. The lads are one of the most popular acts we have ever had at the brownbread mixtape. They sing gorgeous three-part harmonies, layered with trebly guitars, that would make Crosby, Stills and Nash weep. Kalle and Enda were asked to MC their single launch night at Crawdaddy and it was one of the most raucous, fun nights of the year. And the single sold pretty well too! Do not dare miss them the next time they roll into town. They are the real deal. [For more info: www.ravensmusic.com]
And that was pretty much that as far as the music goes. We throughly enjoyed every minute of it and we hope that you did too. Check out our YouTube channel for loads of other brilliant performances from this year and last year as well. And please share this page or the individual YouTube links with others if you dig them.
Go out there and support live music when you can. This golden age of music depends on your support!