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Niamh Parsons


Country of origin:

Ireland

Type of music generally:

Traditional Irish music

Status:

Most recent release, The Old Simplicity (2006)

See also:

Niamh Parsons' site

Comparisons:

Sandy Denny, June Tabor

Covers/own material:

Mostly traditional

General comments:

Niamh Parsons has a lovely voice for traditional tunes. It is rich and evocative, and she has that Sandy Denny-like knack of singing the tunes in a way that makes the lyrics come to life. The arrangements are always lovely and not overdone, though not as stripped-down as some current traditional singers. She also does several songs a cappella on each album and they're always especially wonderful. I highly recommend her work to anyone who likes traditional Celtic and English music. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

I heard her live once at a local pub several years ago and it was wonderful—her voice is beautifully impressive live. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Blackbirds & Thrushes or In My Prime

Recordings:


Loosely Connected

Release info:

1992—Greentrax Records

Availability:

See Niamh Parsons' site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Comments:

Tinkerman's Daughter" is an awe-inspiring song. I was negotiating the switchbacks on that lovely drive between Half-Moon-Bay and San Mateo (in the San Francisco Bay Area) when that song came on the radio, and Niamh's voice, the piano behind it, and the scenery on the windshield all reacted together to form an unforgetable experience; I just had to have that song! The rest of the album may or may not inspire everyone out there, but "Tinkerman's Daughter" is something worth a listening or two... while driving down highway 92 if you can manage it. :)
     the album is really quite nice. I had forgotten how nice. Or maybe my tastes changed in the years in between. At any rate, I feel as if I just got a present in the mail, and it was a CD by a woman with a lovely voice doing Irish-style songs accompanied by a full band. Niamh Parsons. Loosely Connected. What a great feeling to find a great CD hiding right in your CD collection.(bill@wagill.com)

Loosen Up

As Niamh Parsons & The Loose Connections

Release info:

1997—Green Linnett—GLCD 1167

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Niamh Parsons—vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Dee Moore—acoustic bass, fretless bass
Gavin Ralston—acoustic guitar, nylon-string guitar, steel-string guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar
Neil Martin—keyboards, cello
Richey Buckley—soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Alan Kelly—piano accordion
Gerry O'Connor—banjo, fiddle
Jimmy Higgins—drums, wood block, high hat, piano
Mick McAuley—button accordion
Pat Fitzpatrick—keyboards
Robert Harris—congas, bodhrán, djembe, snare drum
John McSherry—low whistle, uilleann pipes
Colm Fitzpatrick—drums, bongos
Roger Filgate—lap steel guitar
Jerry O'Sullivan—uilleann pipes

Produced by:

Dee Moore

Comments:

Wow—this is for me a huge example of what a difference material makes. Here Niamh Parson is singing a collection of songs from contemporary folk songwriters (mostly Dee Moore's compositions but there's a Tom Waits songs and couple of others) and this music does nothing for me, and so the album as a whole doesn't do it for me. Niamh Parson's voice still shines in this context, but in all honesty, I don't like the material nearly as much as her traditional work, though it does give her a chance to show a lot of range. There's one particularly neo-traditional songs that I do enjoy, "Clohinne Winds" by Briege Murphy, but that's the only song I put this CD on for. This absolutely isn't my thing, though I still admire Niamh Parsons' vocal work. (Neile)

Blackbirds & Thrushes

Release info:

1999—Green Linnet—GLCD 1197

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of traditional music

Group members:

Niamh Parsons—vocals

Guest artists:

Dee Moore—bass
Gavin Ralston—guitar
John McSherry—low whistle, pipes
Paul Kelly—fiddle, viola, mandolin
Josephine Marsh—button accordion Steve Dunford—bodhran
Dave Munnelly—piano (5)
Seamus Brett—piano (7)
Anne Parsons Dunne—backing vocals (3)
Ciarán O Gealbháin—vocals (11)

Produced by:

Alan Whelan, Gavin Ralston, Niamh Parsons

Comments:

She has a lovely voice. The press compares her to Sandy Denny, and while she's not quite that amazing, her voice is rich and evocative and does rise above the crowd doing traditional music. Highly recommended if you like these songs—I adore them. These are rich rather than prettified versions. Somewhat like June Tabor vocally (but with better accompaniment). (Neile)

Yes, this an excellent album. I really like her voice, and I'm glad she decided to put it to use on this traditional material. I saw a post on rec.music.celtic where someone cited Niamh and Susan McKeown as their two favorite singers, and while I personally don't think Niamh quite measures up to Susan, she is quite talented. (mcurry@io.com)


In My Prime

Release info:

2000—Green Linnet—GLCD 1203

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of traditional music

Group members:

Niamh Parsons—vocals, backing vocals, vocal drone (3)

Guest artists:

Graham Dunne—guitar (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11)
Paul Kelly—fiddle (1, 6, 11), mandolin (4, 6, 11)
Mick Kinsella—harmonica (1, 6, 7)
Alan Whelan—keyboard bass (1, 4)
Anne Parsons-Dunne—vocals (3, 9)
Siobhán Peoples—fiddle (4, 7, 11)
Josephine Marsh—accordion (4, 6, 11)
Seamus Brett—piano (4, 6, 10)
Steve Dunford—shaker (4, 11)

Produced by:

Niamh Parsons and Alan Whelan

Comments:

This particular disc has some really lovely songs, and a range of them from lively ones to heartbreaking ballads. I particularly like her versions of "In My Prime", "Green Grass It Grows Bonny". Hmm, I started to list nearly every song on this album. It's a good one. (Neile)

Heart's Desire

Release info:

2002—Green Linnet—GLCD1219

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of traditional music

Group members:

Niamh Parsons—vocals

Guest artists:

Graham Dunne—steel string guitar (2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 13), nylon string guitar (4, 11, 14)
Tony Gibbons—backing vocals (2, 4, 10)
Terry Boyne—backing vocals (2, 4, 10)
Dennis Cahill—mandolin (2, 3, 11), harmony guitar (2), nylon string guitar (3, 9)
Josephine Marsh—accordion (6, 12)
Mick Kinsella—harmonica (7, 11)
Anne Parsons-Dunne—vocals (14)

Produced by:

Dennis Cahill

Comments:

This is a nice collection of music and I adore her version of "My Lagan Love", but overall I prefer the material on Blackbirds & Thrushes and In My Prime. Anyone who likes Parsons work will enjoy this one, though. Her vocals here are gorgeous, as always. (Neile)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2014-03-16 19:30:59.
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