Saturday, November 12, 2016

Telling Stories: Maura O'Connell and "Stories"

Today's random tune is by Irish singer and actress Maura O'Connell. Maura O'Connell is known for contemporary interpretations of Irish traditional music, influenced by American country music. Born and raised in Ennis, County Clare in a musical family, she worked at her family's fish shop until she started music as a full-time career. She performed country music in the local folk scene with Mike Hanrahan as a duo called Tumbleweeds. In 1980, as vocalist for the Irish group De Danaan, she toured the US and got very interested in American experimental roots music and eventually moved to Nashville in 1986. There she met newgrass pioneers Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas, who produced most of her subsequent albums. While her first album didn't make any waves, her second gained her a Grammy nomination. In addition to her solo work, she has collaborated with a number of famous Celtic, folk, pop and country artists. She also was cast as a Irish migrant street singer in the movie Gangs of New York. You can find this song, Stories, on her 1995 album of the same name, and on the compilation album Putumayo Presents: Women of the World - Celtic (1995).