Summer 2015 has come and gone: and what a summer it was!
May and June saw the Baker/Rose tour in full flight with shows in some of Ireland’s most beautiful arts centres. We traveled the length and breadth of Ireland in Don’s trusty Volkswagen Estate and discussed life… love… metaphysics… and MUSIC. The venues that hosted us were: Wexford Arts Centre, Balor Arts Centre, Sirius Arts Centre, Wesport Arts Centre. We were treated so well by all the venue managers, staff, sound engineers in these venues and they are truly wonderful supporters of the arts in Ireland. Support your local arts centre!
I ticked off a few boxes of ‘dreams’ this summer also with performances in London and in the famous ‘Music Triangle’ in the U.S.A…’The Blues Kitchen, Camden run a weekly Blues Jam on Sunday evenings – you sign up and then get to perform with their sizzling house band! I got up and jammed with them and had a ball – we churned out standards ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ and ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and had the whole bar rockin’ – such fun!
With London under my belt it was time to tackle the Everest of Blues: New Orleans – Memphis – Nashville. This was my pilgrimage! In New Orleans I met the The Danny Alexander Blues Band and ended up jamming with them at their weekly Blues Jam. I was honoured to play with these people – I got to sing some of my favourites with this cookin’ band, “I’d Rather Go Blind’, ‘Hard to Handle’ and ‘Love Me Like a Man’. I know it’s a cliche but it was actually a dream come true… and here’s proof… check out my Cheshire Cat grin in this pic! :
We trundled up through the state of Mississipi, whizzing by the iconic cotton fields, the never-ending churches… you could touch the moisture in the air and you could hear the music of the past… The Mississipi Blues Trail… Highway 51… I was home! We stopped off in the famous Clarksdale – did Robert Johnson REALLY sell his soul to the devil? Here? Well, it’s as good a place as any… we got caught in a rainstorm while trying to leave Morgan Freeman’s Blues Club so I made my mark on those walls (they gave me a pen!):
I danced my way through Memphis and the only singing done was as I stood in the queues of tourists visiting hallowed sites such as Elvis’ ‘Graceland’ and sang into THAT famous microphone at ‘Sun Studios’…
What a town – ‘Nashvegas’ is what the local’s are calling it these days as it really does have that party atmosphere. I got very close to the Country Music Hall of Fame – I could feel a tingling in my bones as I stood in that room!
Then it was donning our gladrags and onto a night in the ‘Grand Ole Opry’ to see Ricky Skaggs and a host of other country artists. So exciting to be in this amazing venue!
I took my own turn performing in Nashville (it would have been rude not too!). I hired a guitar for $40 and signed up to a Songwriters Night at the Commodore Bar & Grill. What a thrill to hear the performers at this night.. some wonderful songwriters. I sang my most ‘Nashvilley song’: ‘Broken Woman Blues’ and got a brilliant reception! I was chuffed and it was such a buzz! It was brilliant to have my best friend/cousin/P.R/P.A/Photographer with me there through it all (Meadhbh!)
You can watch a video of my performance by following this link – I’m the third performer in the video – 6.33mins in –
So that was the U.S.A – it treated me mighty fine!
And don’t worry folks – the Irish Blues Scene treated me ‘shockin well’ this summer…
June was the brilliant Limavady Blues Festival
My sterling band played 2 stormer sets in ‘The Depot’ bar and ‘Douglas Bar’ over the weekend – great crowds and great responses all round so a job well done by The Clara Rose Band! Thanks to the committee for this lovely shot:
The 7 Hills Blues Festival Armaghhad me back this year but this time with my band in the cosy Hole in the Wall Pub, with it’s very own parrot who sported a spot on Armagh accent! Here’s a shot of me from the gig – I’m not looking down at the lyrics I promise!
To top off such an AMAZING summer of experiences to a soundtrack of Blues I came HOME to the drumlins of County Monaghan to play the legendary Harvest Time Blues Festival Monaghan
The Clara Rose Band played 3 high energy shows on the Blues Trail… Terry’s Bar… McKenna’s Brewery and The Shamrock Bar. We had them on their knees by the end of the weekend! ‘I Sing The Blues’ – Clara Rose @ Harvest Time Blues
These were amazing shows with such great audiences.
I met such cool people and it was the perfect way to end my Summer of Blues…. Summer 2015!
See y’all down the trail… Clara Rose x
Myself and Don have been on the road now for a few weeks and we are having a ball!
‘The High Tide Club’ in Castletownbere on 14th March was probably the single-most furthest place I’ve ever driven for a gig but it was also the single-most beautiful place for a gig. Georgina treated us so well and it was brilliant to play surrounded by the pleasing aesthetics of Sarah Walker’s art in her gallery. It was a great start to our tour!
Next stop was the ‘Mermaid Arts Centre’ in Bray on 28th March. The sound at this gig was by Eoin and I have to say this is what stood out for me.. it was a real pleasure to sing and play here – especially with the sublime Kevin Malone on drums. I’ve included a video of us performing ‘Hesitation Blues’ on the night – this gives a flavour of ‘the craic’ on the night in question! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDpXwmfO5hc
The 3rd gig was in The Kenyon Bar in Nenagh on 2nd April. This is one of those ‘hidden gems’ of venues we have dotted around Ireland. Our host/soundman on the night was Brendan – a big fan of Don and the blues. The audience here were enraptured for the night and treated to an amazing ‘Dons Train’ from the man himself:
We finished the night off in true Rock and Roll style with a cuppa tea!
Next stop is The Civic Theatre in Tallaght next Friday 10th April – tickets can be bought from here: http://www.civictheatre.ie/whats-on/don-baker/
For a full list of gigs go to my gigs page: https://www.clararosemusic.com/gigs/
Looking forward to sharing more memories… both of life on the road and musical as the Baker Rose tour continues!
Next Thursday 9th April I’m performing at a very special night – the kind of thing songwriters love… it’s called ‘Songwriters in the Round’ and there are 3 songwriters who play 6 songs each and share the story of the song.
The songwriters performing at this one are myself, Gar Tiernan and Liam O’ Maonlai.
The gig is in the ‘Hole in the Wall’, High St., Kilkenny at 8..30pm and its €10 admission.
Really looking forward to singing at this special night!
I recently performed to a packed, steamy audience in the coolest venue in Dublin in March, ‘Abner Browns Barbershop’ – Rathmines. There’s really nothing like it when you perform to an audience like this – they listen, they holler and they LOVE the music!
I also had the pleasure of performing with my great friend and amazing vocalist Paula Higgins for the first time. The magic was captured in this gorgeous video by Razor Cuts Productions to my new song, ‘Tightrope Walkers’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL3Z5ftgI4Y
I hope you like the new song – looking forward to recording it later this year!
Clara Rose “Queen of the Late Night Radio”
– A new 4 track E.P –
A live studio recording
The E.P was engineered by Gavin Ralston (Silverwood Music) at The Meadows Studios (Wicklow) – her 8 piece band played live and the magic was captured both on audio and visual mediums. Four tracks in five hours. A video of each track is available on the Silverwood Music Youtube Channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAVLXxZ0XNo&list=PLtL1Udy2xa0rejuQVTt9tawRnXf-RkV9P
The E.P featuring guest artists, Cathy McEvoy (fiddle) and Don Baker (harmonica on “Queen of the Late Night Radio”). Clara’s collaboration with Don began in 2013 when she was a featured artist on his album “My Songs, My Friends”. She is fresh from a lauded nationwide tour with Don Baker and they are planning future collaborations.
She had a recent successful solo tour of Austria/Switzerland/Italy with the “Celtic Spring Caravan” and will spend the rest of 2014 promoting her new release.
You can download the E.P by visiting this link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/clararose2