New Song of the Week – SomeRiseSomeFall feat. Anna Mitchell: “Funny Time of Year”

SomeRiseSomeFall (SRSF) is an independent collaborative music project consisting of songwriters, musicians and vocalists based in Cork, Ireland. The brainchild of Michael Fitzgerald, who refers to his project as “a musical eclective producing music for the human condition”, SRSF brings together folk, rock and traditional Irish musicians for the purpose of focusing on the transformational power of music. The ever-evolving collective brings together artists and vocalists such as John Blek, Rowan, Anna Mitchell, Kevin Herron, Marlene Enright and a large cast of musicians with producer Brian Casey, videographer Allie Glynn and artist Riona NI Riagain to interpret & reimagine classic or important songs for unique new recordings.

In addition to being all about the music, SRSF is passionate about many social issues, including raising awareness for, and improving the treatment of, asylum seekers in Ireland, and promoting greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Proceeds from SRSF’s music go towards charitable groups who are helping with both of these issues. Their music is available for download/purchase from http://www.somerisesomefall.com and all online music sites.

SRSF released their debut album Some Climb in 2017 via FITZZ Records, featuring musicians Martin Leahy, Hank Wedel, Edel Sullivan, Annette Buckley and Ger Wolfe (which you can listen to on Spotify). Last February (2020) they released the emotionally-charged “The Rain Came Down on Everything“, the first single from their forthcoming album No Simple Highway, due for release on February 26th. Fitzgerald stated that the guiding philosophy of the album is “to connect and uplift those dealing with the challenges of love, loss and grief, and I and the musicians involved are convinced of the positive effect of connecting people to their own emotions and through this, discovering empathy and kindness.” They’ve since continued to release more singles, the latest of which is “Funny Time of Year“, a stunning and bluesy song I’m delighted to choose as my New Song of the Week.

“Funny Time Of Year” was written by Beth Gibbons (of Portishead) and Paul Webb (aka Rustin Man, and former bassist of Talk Talk), and originally released on their 2002 album Out Of Season. Like the previous SRSF single “The Rain Came Down On Everything”, “Funny Time of Year” features captivating vocals, piano and keyboards by Anna Mitchell (whose wonderful self-titled album I reviewed three years ago), Hugh Dillon on acoustic and electric guitars, Brian Hassey on bass, David Murphy on steel guitar and Davy Ryan on drums and percussion. The song was produced and mixed by Brian Casey at Wavefield Studios and mastered by Richard Dowling at Wav Mastering. Proceeds from sales of the single will go to the Cork Simon Community, a local homeless shelter in Cork City.

Everything about “Funny Time of Year” is perfection, from the stellar arrangement, intricate bluesy guitars, subtle bass line, and lush keyboards to those achingly beautiful and pedal steel chords that at times sound almost like they’re weeping. It all works to create a melancholy, yet sublime, soundscape. Then there’s Anna’s gorgeous, vibrato-tinged vocals that beautifully convey an intense vulnerability and sense of sad resignation as she laments over a lost love. I didn’t think Anna and company could top “The Rain Came Down on Everything“, but they’ve succeeded quite nicely.

These silent words of conversation
Hold me now this adulation
See me now
Oh it’s easy now

Falling like a silent paper
Holding on to what may be

And I only hear
Only hear the rain

And many rains turn to rivers
Winter’s here
And there ain’t nothing gonna change
The winds are blowing telling me all I hear
Oh it’s a funny time of year
There’ll be no blossom on the trees

Turning now I see no reason
The voice of love so out of season
I need you now
But you can’t see me now
I’m travelling with no destination
Still hanging on to what may be

It’s a funny time of year
I can see
There’ll be no blossom on the trees
And time spent cryin’ has taken me in this year
Oh it’s a funny time of year
There’ll be no blossom on the trees

Falling like a silent paper
Holding on to what may be
It’s a funny time of year

I can see
There’ll be no blossom on the trees
And time spent cryin’ has taken me in this year

Turning now I see no reason
The voice of love so out of season
I need you now
But you can’t see me now
I’m travelling with no destination
Still hanging on to what may be

To learn more about SomeRiseSomeFall, check out their Website and follow them on:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Purchase on BandcampWebsite

CORMAC O CAOIMH – Single Review: “I’m in Need”

A few weeks ago, I featured Cork, Ireland-based collaborative music project SomeRiseSomeFall when I reviewed their beautiful song “The Rain Came Down on Everything”. After reading that review, fellow Corkonian (I love that word) musician and singer-songwriter Cormac O Caoimh reached out to me about his new single “I’m in Need“, and I’m glad he did because I really like his music! He’s a skillful wordsmith and guitarist, writing sublime indie folk/pop songs overflowing with thoughtful, intelligent lyrics about the universal subjects of life, love, hope and loss, and delivered with subtle hooks, fine instrumentals and his pleasing vocals that sounds a bit like Paul Simon at times. His catchy melodies seem to effortlessly draw us in, then stay with us long after the songs end. I found myself humming “I’m in Need” long after hearing it. As Mojo Magazine so eloquently put it: “each song superglues to the memory“.

Cormac O Caoimh

Cormac has released a substantial amount of music over the past 15 years or so, including four studio albums, the most recent of which was his marvelous 2017 release Shiny Silvery Things. (I strongly encourage my readers to check out his music, which you can find on most music platforms, some of which I’ve listed at the end of this post.) Now he’s putting the finishing touches on his forthcoming fifth album Swim Crawl Walk Run, due for release on May 15. “I’m in Need” is the album’s lead single, which Cormac released on February 21st. The single and album were produced by his friend and fellow musician Martin Leahy, a talented multi-instrumentalist who’s collaborated with Cormac on previous records, and also played drums, bass, keyboards and more on the new album. The lovely backing vocals on “I’m in Need” and other tracks on the album are by Aoife Regan.

Cormac gave me the opportunity to have an advance listen to Swim Crawl Walk Run, and it’s a stunning work. It’s obvious he poured his heart and soul into it, as he explained in his message to me: “It is the first album I actually enjoyed making. I have been playing live with Martin Leahy for over 8 years but this is my first time making an album with him. It was a joy. I loved the whole process. It was relaxed, exciting, calm, manic. Everything. And the end product is something I could not be prouder of. The songs morphed and moved and grew during the process and the end result is an album I’m not sure I can top. It is full of singles. I want to release them all and I can’t wait for the first one to get out there.”

About the song, Cormac states: “During the writing of ‘I’m in need’ I did have the simplicity and directness of The Beatles ‘Help!’ as an influence. ‘Help me’ as a lyric is so fragile and honest and sad…but the song isn’t. The song is catchy and poppy. It works on two levels. I wanted the same for ‘I’m in need’. I wanted it to have meaning but more so a groove and be catchy. The feeling of the song also evolves. What starts as vulnerable ends up as a celebration of our humanity. We are all in need at times. Our feelings can be shaped by our thoughts. Musically the chorus gets more emphatic and joyful as the song progresses musically demonstrating the power of positivity.”

“I’m in Need” has a mellow and catchy acoustic-guitar driven melody, but a deeper listen also reveals a slight jazzy quality to Cormac’s guitar work that’s quite marvelous. His guitar notes beautifully meld together with the gentle percussion and keyboards, resulting in a harmonious and captivating soundscape. His calm, smooth vocals are exquisite, and like the music, blend in perfect harmony with Aoife Regan’s backing vocals. I like the spacey little sound effects inserted into the middle of the song that perk up our ears.  It’s a lovely and wonderful song.

Catch Cormac at one of these upcoming shows, all in Ireland:

Apr 27 – Mick Murphy’s, Ballymore Eustace
May 02 – The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton
May 15 – Album launch @ The Kino, Cork
May 29 – The Dc Music Club, Dublin
Jun 12 – The Weir Folk Club, Midleton

To learn more about Cormac, check out his Website
Connect with him on  FacebookTwitter
Stream his music on SpotifySoundcloudApple Music
Purchase/pre-order on BandcampWebsiteGoogle Play

SomeRiseSomeFall feat. Anna Mitchell – Single Review: “The Rain Came Down on Everything”

SomeRiseSomeFall

SomeRiseSomeFall (SRSF) is a collaborative music project based in Cork, Ireland. The brainchild of Michael Fitzgerald, who refers to his project as “a musical eclective producing music for the human condition”, SRSF brings together a range of folk, rock and traditional Irish musicians with the aim of focusing on the transformational power of music. In addition to being all about the music, SRSF is passionate about many social issues, including raising awareness for and improving the treatment of asylum seekers in Ireland, and promoting greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Proceeds from SRSF’s music go towards charitable groups who are helping with both of these issues. Their music is available for download/purchase from http://www.somerisesomefall.com and all online music sites.

SRSF released their debut album Some Climb in 2017 via FITZZ Records, featuring musicians Martin Leahy, Hank Wedel, Edel Sullivan, Annette Buckley and Ger Wolfe (which you can listen to on Spotify). Now they return with a gorgeous new single “The Rain Came Down on Everything“, the first single from their forthcoming album No Simple Highway, due for release in October 2020. Fitzgerald explains the guiding philosophy of the album: “No Simple Highway is a musical attempt to connect and uplift those dealing with the challenges of love, loss and grief, and I and the musicians involved are convinced of the positive effect of connecting people to their own emotions and through this, discovering empathy and kindness.”

“The Rain Came Down On Everything” features captivating vocals and piano by Anna Mitchell (whose wonderful self-titled album I reviewed almost exactly two years ago), Brian Hassey on bass, Hugh Dillon on guitar, David Murphy on steel guitar and Davy Ryan on drums. The song was produced and mixed by Brian Casey at Wavefield Studios and mastered by Richard Dowling at Wav Mastering.  The song is a re-imagining of the original written by British musician and singer-songwriter (and founding but short-lived member of ELO) Roy Wood, and dedicated “to all who know that loss so often accompanies love“.

The instrumentals are really beautiful, highlighted by Mitchell’s sublime piano keys and Murphy’s mournful steel guitar. Mitchell has a lovely singing voice, and her heartfelt, vibrato-tinged vocals nicely convey a sense of vulnerability and sad resignation as she sings:

But the rain came down on everything
This time I really need your smile
But the rain came down on everything
I only had you for a while

The song’s languid tempo abruptly shifts in the bridge to a dramatic, almost celebratory feel, with heavier piano, guitar, bass and drums, only to calm back down to the somber opening tone that continues through to the end.

In advance of the single release, scheduled for the 28th of February, SRSF has chosen Valentine’s Day for the release of a stunning accompanying video for the song. It was directed, filmed and edited by Allie Glynn and stars Kelly Justin, who performs a powerfully moving interpretive dance that artfully expresses the raw emotion contained in the lyrics.

To learn more about SomeRiseSomeFall, check out their Website and follow them on:  FacebookTwitterInstagram