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MP3 Locklin Road - Waken the Echoes

Compelling Celtic and original acoustic music, sung and played in a contemporary folk style with three-part harmony, guitars and mandolin.

16 MP3 Songs in this album (63:45) !
Related styles: FOLK: Celtic Folk, FOLK: Traditional Folk

“Oh list to the tale of a poor Irish harper
And scorn not the strings in his old withered hand
But remember these fingers could once move more sharper
To waken the echoes of his dear native land.”
—Bard of Armagh

Dan Kowalke: vocals, guitars, mandolin, various stringed instruments.
Sheri O’Meara: vocals, guitar, bodhran
Gregg Weigand: vocals, guitar, bass guitar

Produced by Dan Kowalke at RVM Music.

Welcome to our third CD, Waken the Echoes. With this mix of traditional, updated and original songs, we hope to waken the echoes—to span the sea and the centuries, and make a new home, in a new way, for our music. Thank you for coming down this road with us.
—Sheri, Dan, Gregg

Sheri’s song notes:

1. Bard of Armagh/Streets of Laredo (traditional)
We love the idea of this tune spanning the sea and the centuries with different stories. We adopted it as our theme, and wove the oldest and newest versions of the song together. That’s Dan singing with me on “Bard of Armagh”; that’s Gregg on “Streets of Laredo.”

After the Williamite War, the Irish Parliament introduced a set of laws to repress the Catholic religion. These Penal Laws impeded Catholics in every aspect of daily life, and Catholic clergymen were banished. Dissident bishops and priests fled to remote areas of the country and continued to celebrate mass. Bishop Patrick Donnelly took refuge on Slieve Gullion, Armagh, and became, essentially, an outlaw. He adopted the guise of a poor wandering harper called Phelim Brady and became known as The Bard of Armagh. It is said Patrick Donnelly was the only Catholic bishop left in Ireland for awhile in the early 18th century.

Later, throughout Europe, the tune became the backdrop for a new story in “The Unfortunate Rake” or “St. James Hospital,” in which a soldier dies of mercury poisoning, brought on by the 18th-century treatment for venereal disease. Many versions of this story appeared over the years. (Folkways released a whole album of 20 variants of the song, including a sailor version and a female version.) When the song found its way to the American west, a new story was written, retaining lines from “St. James Hospital,” and the song became "The Cowboy''s Lament," which became known through the years as "The Streets of Laredo." A lingering version of “St. James Hospital” remains as the jazz song “St. James Infirmary.”

2. Raggle Taggle Gypsy (traditional)
Known in other versions as “The Gypsy Laddie,” this traditional song tells of a gypsy who tries to charm a lady, and her lord comes home to find his lady gone and he saddles his fastest horse to follow her. That’s Dan singing the “lord” in our version.

3. Black Is the Colour (traditional)
This heart-wrenching ballad first became known in the Appalachian Mountains in 1915, but most probably originated from Scotland, based on the reference to Clyde (a river that flows through Glasgow) in the lyrics.

4. Lily of the West (traditional)
The song is said to often be interpreted as a metaphor for the Irish experience in America. It has been recorded by Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, The Chieftains, Rosanne Cash, Peter, Paul and Mary, Mark Knopfler and others.

5. Mrs. McGrath (traditional)
That’s Dan as the featured singer here. The song tells the story of a woman whose son enters the British Army, and returns seven years later having lost his legs to a cannonball in war. The song has been recorded by artists from The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

6. Sing Cecilia (by Sheri O’Meara)
The Irish Rebellion of 1798, which resulted in an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 deaths over the course of three months, has inspired countless songs. I wanted to write one from the woman’s point of view. What might it have been like for the mothers and wives?

7. Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye (traditional)
This Irish traditional anti-war and anti-recruiting song is generally dated to the early 19th century. The original refers to the soldiers from Athy, County Kildare, who fought in "Sulloon" (Ceylon, now Sri Lanka) for the East India Company. This song is said to be the basis for the 1863 American song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

8. Don''t Give Up (by Sheri O’Meara)
I wrote this song while reading about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, listening to some of Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads, and looking at all those stark black-and-white photos from the era. It seemed fitting to include again in our modern hard times.

9. Arthur McBride (traditional)
I first learned this anti-recruiting song from an old tape my dad gave me. It was first collected around 1840 in Limerick. Love what Gregg and Dan did with this duet, and with guitars tuned in DADGAD.

10. The Willow (by Sheri O’Meara)
I love Dan and Gregg’s guitars on this song.

11. Step It Out Mary (traditional)
It’s said this song is based on a children’s skipping song. That’s Gregg singing the “father” part. We don''t let him skip though.

12. Singing King (by Sheri O’Meara)
I wrote this song on New Year’s Day a couple years ago. We almost didn’t include this, thinking it more fitting for a children’s cd. But then, if we can have a “skipping song” (#11) ...

13. Danny Boy (traditional)
This one is for dad. The tune is the traditional Irish “Londonderry Air.” The lyrics were later written for a different tune by Frederick Weatherly, an English lawyer, and modified to fit Londonderry Air in 1913. Gregg and Dan’s harmonies at the end make this version, and guitars tuned in CGDGBD.

14. Pictures In My Soul (by Sheri O’Meara)
On the train from Galway to Dublin, I looked out the window and spotted the sign for Athenry and the fields beyond it. Seeing those fields for the first time, after singing about them so often, unleashed this song and memories of my trip.

15. Nobody Knows (by Sheri O’Meara)
I wrote this song one morning over a pot of tea in a pub on Inisheer, inspired by an elderly man at the end of bar that day with his cap pulled low to his eyes, and by the memory of a hotel concierge in Dublin the previous week, who asked me, as I was waiting in the lobby with my guitar, “Will ye give us a song before you go?” (A line he then told me he had taken from old Roy Rogers movies!) This song got its debut in concert at the theater house on Inisheer, with Helge Larssen from Denmark accompanying me on guitar and singing harmony.

Bonus track: Amazing Grace (traditional)
That’s Mel Eliason helping out on fiddle on this song. The melody is believed to be Scottish or Irish in origin. The words are by John Newton, an English slave trader who pointed to a violent storm at sea as his spiritual turning point. Moments after he left the deck, the crewman who had taken his place was swept overboard. Although he manned the vessel for the remainder of the tempest, Newton later commented that, throughout the tumult, he realized his helplessness and concluded that only the grace of God could save him. This one is for Erin.

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