My 2011 Review!

As we're naturally in a reflective mood here's my summery of 2011. It's just another opportunity for me to tell you the reader about the bands and music that meant something to me last year!


2011 kicked off well with a trip to Whelans to see two of my favourite artists Mark Dignam and Sean Millar perform an intimate gig to an appreciative audience. I introduced Storyfold, Autumn Long, Fox E & The Good Hands and We're Wolves onto the blog. Ronan & I picked ten artists who we thought would make waves in 2011. You were told about the Glastonbury talent competition and I was busy organising the Digital Socket Awards with Ro, Nay & Aidan.



The Digital Socket Awards were great fun and it was great to be part of something that brought bands and music lovers together. There were many mistakes and learning opportunities along the way but it was not for profit and the charity Aware got a decent cheque. In terms of writing I was busy putting together interviews for 4fortyfour which didn't really get going properly. I discovered an amazing performer from Switzerland called Baum who played the February 'Live at Boyles'. I reviewed a really lovely pop album from Padraig McCauley and the P Affection with this song The Flood being my favourite from the album:

The Flood by thepaffection



Details were beginning to emerge about the early festivals such as Vantastival and Cork X Southwest; both of which I got to with the kids. I was also a blogger for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition which ensured me a ticket to the festival! I introduced Valentine Black and Gypsies on the Autobahn to the blog. My favourite interview of the year went online in March and it was with Isaac from Jukebox Gypsy.

Take me to your leader by Valentine Black



I posted two 'Lists' in April, my traditional at this stage best 50 Irish acts on the go and the best 25 Irish acts working overseas! Vantastival kicked off towards the end of April and the best act that weekend had to be for me The Young Folk in the Paddy Mirage tent!



The review of Vantastival included this summery: "Vantastival is for me the perfect festival. It's a non corporate event without any major advertising, organised by real music fans, who have created a family friendly event which promotes Irish music. I tip my cap and say well done and I hope Vantastival is here to stay!" I Introduced young Ashbourne band The Crossfire and the dark sounds of Stuart Wilde who played 'Live at Boyles' with The Riot Tapes! The festival season was in full flow and I was eagerly looking forward to the likes of Nina Hynes, God is an Astronaut and Fred at Cork X Southwest.

In a million by ninahynes



I wrote in my review that Cork X Southwest: "Musically and spiritually it has set a bar for other festivals to reach. I am a tad worried that no other festival will reach the heights that Cork XSW achieved this year." But then Glastonbury happened and what an experience! I introduced two wonderful Northern Irish acts The Wonder Villains and Aaron Shanley. The one band who really surprised me at Cork X Southwest were LOWmountain. A superb band!

Beneath The Bridge by LOWmountain



I was fortunate to be asked to be a judge for the second ever 'On The Night' band competition in Boyles, Slane. Navan rock band Red Queen Contest won for their inspirational set. The festival season was in full gear but I wasn't buying into it on the blog. I scraped the 'Introducing to' format for an irregular Mix of new bands! In the first mix I introduced 'Words That Burn', 'Neon Wolf' and Champagne Animal'.

04 Inside by Champagne Animal



I began to get really excited about the final festival of the Summer for me which was The Spirit of Folk festival. I wrote about the artists booked to perform such as Fiach, Seamus Fogerty and The Viking Project. Wicker Bones performed an amazing set in 'Live at Boyles' where they sang this song with amazing intensity!

Masters Of War by



I was very honoured to be a judge on the 'What The Folk' band competition which took place over the Summer months in the Workmans Club in Dublin. Winning act David Hope won the competition but with he had stiff competition from Lou McMahon and Miriam Donohue. David's prize was a spot on the Spirit of Folk festival bill. The Spirit of Folk at the end of September was a wonderful community festival; "I feel that the community ignited at the festival will continue to be strong for next year and the festival has the potential to be bigger and expand if they see fit." The highlight for me at the festival was Saint John The Gambler's set on the Saturday evening!

Rollin' By by saintjohnthegambler



After close to three years of blogging about Irish artists I began to become inundated with requests to review albums and singles. I'm not complaining because I've heard so many great albums this year. Quality albums reviewed include Maria Byrne's debut, Lisa Hannigan's Passengers and Shayne Thomas Byrne's debut album Magnolia. The blog became a partner in the Play Irish initiative. In the Introduction Mix I brought the band My Pilot to the blog!

Self-Medication Blues by My Pilot



The blog turned 3 with a special Best 30 songs list during the life of the blog. I'm desperately trying to work through reviews of albums as diverse as Fling, Polly Barrett and The Making. I also had the pleasure of finally catching Michael Brunnock live in Navan's newest venue Swan Lane.

Every step by MichaelBrunnock



The Play Irish partnership has been brilliant to me this month by introducing me to the albums of Marc O'Reilly, Declan O'Rourke and Joe Chester. There were three wise Christmas lists here, here and here! The year ended on a high with Kiwi Project performing 'Live at Boyles' with this wonderful song within it's setlist!

Questions by GarryOBrienMusic