List: Top 25 Irish Artists Overseas

It's my personal feelings that Ireland is now too small a market for bands and musicians to make a basic standard of living from. I'm delighted when I see artists like James Vincent McMorrow and Julie Feeney spending a considerable amount of time bringing their amazing talent to other markets. Here is a list of Irish artists who are working in other markets to bring their music to prominence. Many of these artists are making a 'Mother's Day' call home today!

1. Favourite Sons

Favourite Sons released my favourite album this year and are the band I'm most looking forward to at Cork X Southwest. The band based in New York is fronted by Dubliner Ken Griffen who has legend status in Ireland due to the Rollarskate Skinny albums in the 90's.

Safe For All Seasons by FavouriteSons

2. Declan De Barra

Declan De Barra has spent many years in the rock scene in Australia with Clann Zu before returning to Ireland a few years back. When he is not touring he is now based in LA. Declan is currently on a huge European tour to help flog his third album 'Fragments, Footprints & the Forgotten'.

Brightest Star by Declandebarra

3. I Am Not Lefthanded

Kathryn and Daniel are based in London with Benji on drums. The band are recording their debut album with the finance coming from their 'Slice the Pie' initiative.

The Place That Won't Take Me Back by I Am Not Lefthanded

4. Kiernan McMullan

Limerick raised Kiernan has been based on the East coast of America for the last number of years. When he isn't on the road or doing guest vocals for other artists Kiernan is recording his second album. Check out his Florence & The Machine cover here:

5. Michael Brunnock

Kells man Michael Brunnock has been given the musical break most artists would kill for. The New York based artist sings the songs of David Byrne and Will Oldham for the soundtrack of Sean Penn's movie 'This Must be the Place' which is on general release from September. Michael will release a new set of songs entitled 'The Orchard' to coincide with the movie release. Check out the song Flowers which will appear on that album.

6. Sean Kangataran

Galway's Sean Kangataran has formed a band and is gigging like mad in the heat of LA. By all accounts album number two is already in the pipeline. Have a listen to the excellent debut here:

7. Nina Hynes

Berlin based for a number of years Nina Hynes is one of Ireland's most respected singers and songwriters. Nina is another artist who I'm really excited about seeing in Cork.

8. Mark Geary

Another New Yorker Mark Geary is one of my favourite songwriters. He is three albums and a live album into his career and can be found regularly gigging in New York.

9. Colin Devlin

The Devlin's front man has been LA based for a number of years and released a superb collection of songs in 2009. There's more than a hint of a return to the live scene for The Devlins!

Colin Devlin - The Heart Won't Be Denied by Music Week

10 Yngve & The Innocent

Sligo raised Yngve has formed a band called The Innocent and is based in London. The folk band are currently touring Ireland and are receiving decent radio play with the single 'Draw a Line'.

Leather Book by Yngve & The Innocent

11. Maria Byrne

The word delicate doesn't do justice to the folk music Cork's Maria Byrne makes. Maria has formed a band in London called 'The Broken String' and will be releasing their debut album this Summer.

12. Mark Dignam

Dubliner Mark Dignam moved to Pittsburgh over a decade ago and is busy recording his fifth studio album. Here's the opening track of his wonderful but under-rated debut album from 1995:

Mark Dignam - I Am What I Am by 2uibestow

13. Andrew Handrick

Another Dublin artist Andrew Handrick has based in Northern Italy for a number of years and is currently in New York to do a couple of gigs. Andrew hopes to have a new album released very soon. Check out a sample from the album here:

A Little Piece Of Happiness Andrew Handrick Sample by Andrew Handrick

14. Brendan O'Shea

Brendan is from Kerry but is another artist who has made New York his home. 'Songs from a Tenement' has just been released and will be reviewed on the blog really soon.

15. Emmett Tinley

The former Prayer Boat singer is now based in Denmark after spending a good number of years in LA. Latest reports suggest he is busy of album number two.

16. Odi

Yorkshire based Odi released an excellent debut album in 2009 and has been busy touring the folk clubs of the UK since.

ODi - One In A Million by thelittlestmojo

17. Roesy

After spending some time in Amsterdam the latest reports suggest that musician and artist Roesy is now based in Melbourne. His last album 'Fable' was released without any buzz last year which was such a shame considering the strength of his 2006 album 'Colour Me Beautiful'.

Colour me colourful - ‘Colour Me Colourful' (N4 Records 2006) by roesymusic

18. Sean Needham

Denmark base Donegal artist Sean Needham is one of the good guys making music and is a bundle of fun are represented by this video:

19. Jenny Lindfors

Jenny Lindfors is one of Ireland's best vocalists and songwriters. Jenny has been based in London for a number of years now and is currently supporting Rumour on a UK tour.

20. The Guggenheim Grotto

It's hard to pinpoint where The Guggenheim Grotto is based as they seem to be constantly touring America in support of their three albums.

The Guggenheim Grotto - Portmarnock Beach Boy Blue by wereofftherails

21. Minus Circus

Dubliner Minus Cirsus is Sydney based and busy writing and recording his debut album.

Hide & Seek by Minus Circus

22. Battle for 2nd Place

Scottish alternative band 'Battle for 2nd Place' is fronted by Orla Pendergast and the band released a good debut this year. It includes this album closer which is one of the best songs I've heard all year.

Held To You by battleforsecondplace

23. Gary Dunne

London based Gary Dunne is aiming to release a new track every month for the year beginning with this emotive song about his homeland:

What Kind Of Country Are We Living In? by GaryDunne

24. Niall Connolly

Cork born but New York based musician Niall Connolly claims on his website to have played 250 gigs in 10 countries last year. His new album is just released and will be reviewed on the blog in the next few weeks.

25. Stand

Another New York based band Stand reached popular status in Ireland a few years back with a high profile headline gig in Vicar Street. Their radio friendly pop rock sounds have thrown out a few decent songs along the way.

Like most lists I'll publish and then all of a sudden I'll remember an artist who I've omitted. Honourable mentions need to go those artists who have spent time in Ireland and pretty much got adopted by us and this blog.

Katell Keineg

Welsh born Katell spent a considerable number of years in Ireland and released four albums during her career to date.

04 Summer Loving Song by johnleahy

Eric Eckhart

American Eric Eckhart completed his musical apprenticeship in Ireland before moving to Berlin where he is busy promoting his excellent debut album released last year.

Happy by Eric Eckhart

Susan Enan

Susan Enan should be a massive star. Susan spent a number of years based in Northern Ireland before moving to New York and releasing her debut album The track 'Bring on the Wonder' features Sarah McLaughlan on backing vocals and was featured on the 'Bones' TV show.


jimbo said…
Ben Kyle, front-man for Romantica, may not qualify due to his family moving to the states before his career began, but his songwriting certainly has its roots in Ireland, albeit emerging in Americana/Country music:

Ben's duets EP with Carrie Rodriguez is fantastic, with "Big Kiss" as a particular standout: