Maria Butterly

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written

MARIA’S MUSICAL MUSE HELPS UKRAINE AND MORE

Maria on stage during her performance at the MOTHERS OF UKRAINE charity concert

 Singer/songwriter MARIA BUTTERLY is leading the way in demonstrating the helping and healing power of music.

          The Meath based artist was the driving force behind a hugely successful fundraising concert in Drogheda’s TLT in recent weeks, and has also just launched a new songwriting workshop which has wellbeing as its focus.

          MariaMothers of Ukraine Charity Concert on April 13th saw a glittering parade of entertainers share their talent and time by banding together to raise funds for UNICEF and its work relating to the war-torn country. Maria has since been able to present a cheque for €10, 028.25 to UNICEF representative Amy Maher, funds sure to go a long way in providing help to those most in need of it right now.

          The concert – which was in association with Pat Egan Management – featured performances from Sean Keane, Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin, violinist Vladimir Jablokov, St. Peter’s Male Voice Choir with MD Edward Holly, the powerhouse Ukrainian singer Maryna Odelksa, and Maria herself. That stellar line-up was backed by an equally heavenly backing band with the steady hand of the great Bill Shanley (who also produces many of Maria’s songs and albums, including her recent single Hero) leading James Blennerhasset on bass, and Jason Duffy on drums throughout the night, while LMFM presenter Sinead Brassil orchestrated proceedings as event MC.

Deputy Mayor of Drogheda Declan Power, Maria, Amy Maher of UNICEF Ireland, and Marian Agrios, President of Drogheda Lions Club

          Reflecting on the concert – which saw Counsellor Ms. Olena Shalopu, Deputy Head of Mission for Ukraine, join Drogheda Town Mayor James Byrne among those in attendance – Maria remarked that every artist had treated the audience to performances “from the heart”. While it was almost impossible for her to stand one moment apart from the next, Maria noted that several moments had struck a chord with large numbers of those who enjoyed the TLT event…

          “The consensus among people who have been in touch with me since is that Sean Keane really set the crowd alight in opening the show. Likewise, the beautiful renditions of classic songs with their eloquent harmonies as performed by St Peters Male Voice Choir & MC Edward Holly will live long in the memory. Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin – as you’d expect – raised the roof, and Vladimir Jablokov wooed all before him with pieces like ‘Libertango’, ‘Radetsky March’, and the famous piece from ‘Schindler’s List’, too.”

          “And in what was a very special moment for me personally”, Maria added, “Vladimir also beautifully performed an Irish tune I wrote, one titled ‘Tonn na hEireann’, which means ‘Irish Wave’.”

          While Maria was very much to the fore in bringing the Mothers of Ukraine concert from the good idea phase to reality, she readily acknowledges how that journey would have been incredibly difficult without the support that poured in from so many directions…

          “There wasn’t one single instance where I asked someone to help in some particular way, and where that didn’t happen. That’s a reflection of how willing so many people were to do whatever they could, and I honestly can’t express enough my gratitude or appreciation for every single person and organisation who came on-board. I’d like to send a special thank you, though, to Drogheda Credit Union in particular, for their immediate and very generous support as one of our prominent sponsors. I’ve been a member of the Credit Union since I was just ten years old, and it was through them that I was able to purchase my first car.  They were the first local business to come on board and support this event in the very early stages.”

          A full list of Maria’s thank-you’s is available on her official website, www.mariabutterly.com

          Maria also composes music for film and TV, and runs a recording studio which has just opened to the public in Meath (for more information on Maria’s studio contact mariabutterlymusic@gmail.com). 

Given that Maria is so involved in the music world in so many ways, and with the vast depth of her musical experience, it’s hardly surprising that she has decided to pass on some of her knowledge in a way that has the potential to be of huge benefit to others.

         To that end, she has recently launched a Songwriting Workshop with a focus on wellbeing, designed to cater for post-primary students and adults of all ages and levels, from beginners right up to those of a more advanced skillset. The workshop, which is in association with Exit Entry / IBM and Windmill Lane Recording Studio, will see students learn to compose hit melodies and lyrical hooks, how to record their songs, what they need to set up a home studio, and, of course, the all-important business side of songwriting too.

~ You can find more information about Maria’s Songwriting Workshop on her official website, www.mariabutterly.com

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Imelda Kehoe

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, May 2022

IMELDA TO PLAY NATIONAL OPERA HOUSE

Imelda will take to the stage of the National Concert Hall on June 17th

For one night only, IMELDA KEHOE – who has been described by the writer, musician, and journalist Shane Dunphy as being, “…that rare thing: a singer of remarkable subtlety and emotional resonance who also writes songs that act as touchstones everyone can grasp” – will perform original songs from her latest album, How To Be Human, at the National Opera House on June 17th (ticket info here).

          With a set-list that will also include some classics by the likes of John Prine, Buddy Holly and more, Imelda – who will be accompanied by notable jazz musician Kevin Lawlor and his Trio – will treat her audience to a night of top quality entertainment. 

          Currently writing her third studio, and with an Irish tour also in the making, the journalist and songwriter Brendan Keane has noted of Imelda, that “While her style fits comfortably into the contemporary folk category, there is far more depth to her work than any one tag could accurately encompass.” That being so, it’s no surprise that Imelda has really created her own style, one influenced not just by folk, but also jazz, blues and elements of soul. 

          Imelda’s songs have received national airplay in Ireland and on radio stations worldwide such is their easy way of making listeners feel part of the stories they tell. Her unique voice and vocal performances draw listeners in close, with her “Beautiful, heart-breaking pop inspired songs that trip along and pull you in to their melodies and chord structures…”, that are, according to the songwriter, playwright and actor Billy Roche, “… reminiscent of Paul Weller’s ‘Butterfly Collector’ or ‘English Rose.'”

          The soundtrack to a childhood spent moving around and living in beautiful properties that her parents would renovate was her father’s record collection. And this audio-goldmine led Imelda into life-long love affairs with the music of Nat King Cole, Buddy Holly, Simon and Garfunkel, Mamas and Papas and the Beach Boys, to name only a few. She describes these early influences as shaping her love of good melody.  

          Imelda trained as a Nurse in Leeds, working in inner City A&E and Intensive Care departments, and she cites these experiences as being influential in her songwriting.  Having moved to Ireland some years back now, Wexford is now very much ‘home, sweet, home’ for Imelda. 

“You don’t need bells and whistles with a voice so honest and songs so beautifully classic in their arrangement. This album really did stop me in my tracks, and I am thankful for it.” – Bobby Green (musician.ie) – on Imelda’s album, How to Be Human

“Her voice is of the folk-tradition, but it also brings a freshness and vitality that is both exciting, compelling and all her own.  Imelda’s songs are And distinctive, delicate powerhouses: leaping genres effortlessly, they often embrace unusual time signatures and challenging melodic structures, while managing to appear deceptively simple.  She is something very special.” – Shane Dunphy, Writer, Musician, Journalist. 

~ IMELDA KEHOE will perform songs from her latest album – HOW TO BE HUMAN – at the NATIONAL OPERA HOUSE on JUNE 17th. For more information on Imelda, check out her official website, www.imeldakehoe.com. For ticket info and booking, go to nationaloperahouse.ie 

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Vincent Vaughan

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, May 2022

VINCENT’S NOD TO LEGENDARY SONGWRITER RODNEY CROWELL WITH DEBUT SINGLE

When it comes to choosing a debut single, the choice can often be a tough one for a singer. After all, the world is full of amazing songs. Two rules-of-thumb, however, that are well worth being guided by if you decide to introduce yourself with a cover version, are pick a brilliant song, and then, crucially… do it justice. 

With his decision to release RODNEY CROWELL‘s 1989 single MANY A LONG AND LONESOME HIGHWAY as his first record, Tipperary’s VINCENT VAUGHAN has picked a class song, and he has put his heart into it too. 

Now available to request at radio and set for general release on Friday, May 13th – also Vincent’s birthday as it happens – Many A Long And Lonesome Highway will also be the first taste of a long-player project already in the works. The single comes hot on the heels of Vincent’s recent performance at the Smithwick’s Kilkenny Roots Festival. 

Written by Rodney Crowell and Will Jennings, and produced by Crowell and Tony BrownMany A Long And Lonesome Highway was the lead-off track from Crowell’s Keys To The Highway album, his sixth studio collection (released October 1989). The single climbed all the way to the #3 position on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in January 1990, spending 26 weeks in total on the chart. It also went all the way to the top of the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada. The Keys To The Highway collection was the follow-up to Crowell’s iconic 1988 Diamonds & Dirt LP, the collection that produced all five of Crowell’s #1 hits. 

For Vincent, deciding to cut a Rodney Crowell song as his debut single was made easy by the fact that – as well as being a long-time fan of the Texan – he’s also spent time in the great man’s presence. Back in 2018, the opportunity happened to come Vincent’s way to attend a songwriting workshop with Rodney in California. And not only that, Vincent has also shared a stage and a mic with the two-time Grammy winner. So choosing Many A Long And Lonesome Highway as his first single is also a respectful tip-of-the-hat to a man and an artist for whom Vincent has the highest respect, has long admired, and has always been inspired by. 

That West Coast songwriting workshop was also the catalyst for what would become Vincent’s debut album, eventually bringing Vincent’s way the chance to perform with players who have backed figures as illustrious as Johnny Cash, Robert Earl Keen, and Jerry Jeff Walker. But that’s a story for another day. 

And VINCENT VAUGHAN is a man with stories to tell, that’s for sure. Many A Long And Lonesome Highway is but the first chapter. 

MANY A LONG AND LONESOME HIGHWAY, the official debut single from VINCENT VAUGHAN, will be available to stream on all platforms from FRIDAY, MAY 13th. The single is already available to request from radio stations nationwide. You can follow Vincent on Facebook and YouTube at Vincent Vaughan Music, and on Instagram and Twitter at @vvmireland.

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Mags McGagh/Downda Road Radio

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, May 2022

THE MAGIC OF MAGS COMES TO DOWNDA ROAD RADIO

Mags McGagh has joined the Downda Road Radio team as Operations Manager

DOWNDA ROAD RADIO have announced the appointment of well-known country music figure MAGS McGAGH as the station’s new OPERATIONS MANAGER

         Based in Manchester, but with strong Irish roots, Mags is no stranger to the country music scene in Ireland having long been a supporter of Irish artists on her Salford City Radio show. Already a presenter on Downda Road with her Country Collection show each Monday and Thursday night (7-9pm), Mags is excited about the opportunity to play an even bigger role in promoting and growing the station’s ethos of focusing on gender-balance, being a platform for new artists and their music, while also being a conduit for a more modern, Nashville influenced and inspired style of country music.          

Looking ahead to her new role, Mags explained what it would entail and the areas where her attention would be centred…

         “Well I’ve known Mike [Gleeson] and the gang there for quite a while already, so in some ways this move feels like a natural next step and extension of things. In my new role one of the big factors I’ll be concentrating on is gender-balance. One of the things that Downda Road Radio is very proud of is that we try to give everyone a fair crack at things. So, what we’ll be continuing to do going forward is giving young and new artists a platform. I don’t think they always get a fair deal when they’re coming through, and neither does Mike, Downda Road’s CEO. It’s been one of my passions from when I began radio presenting, to give up-and-coming artists airplay, I don’t think they always get that. That makes it very hard for them to get themselves established, because if they’re not getting airplay, then people aren’t going to hear them. So lesser-known artists really need that kind of platform when they’re coming through.” 

“Gender balance is a big thing”, affirmed Mags, “giving female artists a voice as well. I don’t think women in country music get a fair crack at things, and that’s something that Mike and the team at Downda Road Radio are very passionate about as well. It always amazes me the talent that’s actually out there. I’ll get stuff sent through to me, and I’ll end up thinking, ‘Oh my days! How have I not heard of this person before?!’ Why aren’t they bigger already? Why aren’t they being recognised in the industry? But if they’re not being heard, if they’re not getting airplay, that’s what happens.” 

        Having already been involved with the station, what were the factors that led to Mags saying yes to an even more prominent role at Downda Road? 

“They’ve got a great vision, that’s first and foremost. And they’re building up a great brand. Mike and the team are very ethical, I like the way they think. They’re very fair in all that they do with artists and in supporting them in any way they can. I think they’ve got a real love of music. It’s country music, but we all know that umbrella is huge, it’s not just Irish country. When people talk about country music, sometimes all they think about is either Big Tom or Garth Brooks, but it covers so much more. And Downda Road knows that.  That’s why there’s something within the station’s schedule for everyone really.” 

          The great thing about country music is that there’s no age-range that defines when an artist’s career can begin or for how long it can continue. So for new artists these days, be they young or emerging at a different stage of their lives, what are some of the most important things Mags thinks they need to remember? As someone who is so well-known within the industry, and who is about to step into an even bigger role than before, what kind of advice would she pass on? 

“Well, Norman Borland is a great example of an artist who is relatively new and emerging, but doesn’t fall into the ‘young’ category, isn’t he. And as you say, that’s what’s so great about country music. He had decided to walk away from things, but by chance he and I had a conversation that led to him getting in touch with some people, and look at him now. He’s back, he’s doing it, and what a loss he would have been. That’s the sort of thing that drives me forward, being able to support people like that in whatever way I can. And Mike and the team at Downda Road Radio have that same passion.” 

          “In terms of advice”, Mags continued, “artists have to have that drive to want to achieve. Everyone knows it takes a long time to become that ‘overnight success’, and it takes a lot of hard work. You need to build up relationships with the fans, and with radio stations as well, with people who can promote them. It’s a two-way street, I feel. It’s always good to get feedback from artists when you’re playing their music. And with fans, you have to be personable when you have a gig. You have to take that time to have a meet-and-greet, to have those interactions. You need to give people your time, you build up your fanbase from that. And I think the most successful artists do that.” 

Tune into Mags twice a week on Downda Road Radio

          Once upon a time, terrestrial stations were the only outlet for artists of any genre, and apart from actual records themselves or live shows, the only source of music for fans. In recent times, of course, that musical landscape has been entirely transformed by a digital revolution. Already, within just a few years of being operational, Downda Road Radio has evolved from being simply another radio station, to being a highly visible digital brand. The station has a monthly social media reach averaging 300k, with 40% of that being accounted for in Ireland, and the UK not far behind on 35%.

          Given all of those factors, how important a role does Mags believe a station like Downda Road will play in country music in the years ahead? 

“We have stations that play certain genres that are within country music. But the likes of Downda Road are giving a platform to many, many different, and more modern styles of country music. That’s something that people – fans – haven’t had before. On the social media side of things, the reach we’ve been achieving so far, that’s all been done without an in-house specialist up to now, but we have someone coming in specifically to cover that area soon. That should continue to give that area every chance to grow even more. And it’s a side of things that is so important to artists as well, for how they can reach their fans and make new fans. For the world we’re in now, everything to do with having a digital presence is another vital way for fans to discover new music and new artists, and in parallel, for artists to build their fanbase. On the music side, as I was saying, we’ll be offering a wide variety of country music for our listeners, and that means we’ll be able to introduce people to music and artists that they might not have known about before. When I play stuff on my shows, I tend to like to mix it up a bit. And I’ll often get people coming back to me asking, ‘Wow, who was that?’, or ‘Where are they from?’, and that kind of variety is important.” 

          And just in case fans are worried that her new role as Operations Manager will result in Mags taking a step back from the mic, well that won’t be happening anytime soon…

“I certainly will be continuing to present my own show! It’s something that I love doing. It’s a passion of mine to be a voice for artists through my show on the station, both newer and more established artists as well. I have a passion for listening to music, so I like to share the music I’m enjoying with my listeners. And I certainly will be carrying on, I won’t be stopping that. Definitely not! I’m the sort of person who’ll have to be carried away from music kicking and screaming.”

~ For more information on Downda Road Radio, check out the station’s official website at www.downdaroadradio.com 

You can also follow Downda Road Radio on Facebook and Instagram. 

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Larissa Tormey

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, March 2022

LARISSA’S HEARTACHE AS WAR UNFOLDS

To say it’s already been an emotional 2022 for singer/songwriter LARISSA TORMEY really doesn’t even begin to capture what the last few weeks have been like for the Russian-born, Midlands based artist. The normal highs and lows of life in the music business have been eclipsed in every possible way by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

          From the high of finding herself nominated in no fewer than eight categories at the 2022 RED CARPET Music Show Awards only a few weeks ago, and last week receiving her awards for winning the Amazing Female Artist awards for Best Folk Original and Best Folk Cover last year, Larissa has found herself watching helplessly from afar while her homeland lays siege to a country that is both the birthplace of her best friend – Svetlana – and a land that Larissa herself still holds only the fondest memories of from childhood holidays. 

          Last week, on a particularly difficult day for the entertainer, Larissa spoke openly and movingly to RTE’s Joe Duffy on Liveline, explaining how the unfolding war had made her feel afraid even to sing right now. And yet, that very same evening, she went on to receive a near full standing ovation when she took to the stage as one of the guest artists at the annual Michael Commins concerts in Galway.

“At first, when RTE contacted me, I didn’t want to speak about what is happening. My heart is breaking watching what is going on, and I didn’t know how anything I could say about it might even matter. In fact, it was affecting me so much that I really wondered how I could even sing anywhere again, because I was afraid of what people would think of me, as a Russian. I rang Michael [Commins] and I explained this to him, and that maybe I shouldn’t appear at his show, but he wouldn’t even let me talk that way. He told me, ‘Larissa, I’m not listening to that, you’re one of us, and you are going to sing with us.’ Those words meant so much to me, and I will never forget them.” 

          Larissa continued, “And that made me think that maybe it is important that I say something about what is happening right now, because this war is not what any of the ordinary people in Russia want. We don’t want to see our people killing our neighbours. Who would want that? How could anyone want that? So that’s why I decided that I would speak to Joe. My best friend, who lives here in Ireland now too, Svetlana, she is Ukrainian. She and I are the same people. Russian and Ukrainian people, we are the same. That’s why this is all so mad, and heartbreaking. We just want peace.”

          When Larissa revealed to Joe Duffy the conversation she had shared with Michael Commins regarding her doubts about singing right now, he – as Michael had also been – was emphatic that Larissa must sing. Convinced and reassured, she made her way to the Clayton Hotel in Galway that same night for Michael’s show, where her version of Danny Boy – performed in English and Russian – was greeted by a near full standing ovation. 

“This was a very special moment for me”, explained Larissa, adding, “because it showed me once again the power that music can have to show people how much we share in common. And this is always more than what separates us.” 

“Right now, music is not the most important thing in the world, we all know that. But, what it is, I think, and what it can be for however long it takes, is an important part of what helps to get us all through these terrible times. When the world is in darkness, for some of us or all of us, music can be the light. That’s what I’m trying to remember. And that light is what I’ll try to share in whatever way I can.” 

~ Larissa is nominated in the following categories for the 2022 Red Carpet Music Show awards: Female Songwriter of the Year; Original Christmas Song (Female) for Special Christmas; Radio Host/DJ (Female); Original Traditional Song for Old Fashioned; Collaboration in Music with Dave Sheriff for Breath of Fresh Air; Original Country Song of the Year, also for Old Fashioned; Best Original Song of the Year in All Genres for Live Another Day; and Best Original Folk Song (Female) for My Love Is Like A River. 

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