Musician releases new album about Ballina
The acclaimed indie musician Laurie Shaw has just released a new album uniquely about Ballina
Part-funded by the Ballina 2023 Community Events Fund and a number of local donors, the album release coincided with Laurie’s performance at the eclectic October Nights music festival in Ballina Arts Centre. The album ‘Neck of the Woods’ was written during a week-long stay in the town during Ballina Salmon Festival week.
About the album, Shaw says: “On the album I approached it very much as an outsider and tried to make sense of the place through its locals and its history. I really liked the idea of the past, present and future of Ballina and juxtaposing its modern history with its folklore.”
Shaw immersed himself in the history of the town during his summer residency, resulting in an album littered with local and historical references as Shaw explains:
“The track ‘Neck Of The Woods’ references the story of the famine girls and The Lanes of Ballina. ‘Horseman’ is a song about ‘worrying the Ballina locals were going to Wicker Man me. It also touches on the nature of outsiders entering small communities and how that relates to the faceless horseman (Richard Bingham) you see in The Battle Of Ardnaree mural”.
“Castle Gore Ablaze’ references Castle Gore, located in Crossmolina, which was burnt down in 1922 by the IRA. ‘Year Of The French’ interweaves three different time periods; the actual events of 1798 in which General Humbert arrived from France to assist the Irish people in their rebellion against the British, the hypothetical notion that Leonard Rossiter would have portrayed Humbert in Stanley Kubrick’s scrapped Napoleon film and the actual filming of the 1982 TV production, ‘The Year Of The French’.”
Incidentally, The Year of the French was shown in Ballina Arts Centre in August as part of Ballina 2023’s The Year of the French celebrations.
” ‘Sequoyah’ references the “medicine man” who passed through Ballina in 1891 with his travelling, circus-like medicine show. ‘Belleek Manor Ghost’ is a song about an ex-“peephole-ist” at Belleek Castle returning as a ghost. ‘The Big Rebrand Of The Salmon Weir’ is a fictional retelling of my interview with Terry Reilly at Ballina Manor Hotel where I end up making tea for a committee of local people wanting to rebrand the Salmon Weir.”
Laurie Shaw is a musician, film-maker and artist originally from The Wirral (near Liverpool) and now lives in Cork. The respected Nialler9 music website described him as “the most prolific artist in the world”. Shaw has already drawn comparisons to musical luminaries like Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Elvis Costello, Arctic Monkeys and Jarvis Cocker.
‘Neck of the Woods’ is now available on bandcamp and all streaming platforms.