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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Artist Profile: Emmet Cahill

[As with all profile posts on this site, this is a work in progress, and new and updated information will be added as needed. All factual information is corroborated through official sources as much as possible, but a lot of information presented here is also from my own personal knowledge as a Thunderhead of many years.] 

Poor Emmet managed to leave Celtic Thunder before I got around to making him a profile post on this site! But better late than never, right? Emmet Cahill joined Celtic Thunder after Paul Byrom and Damian McGinty left, becoming the ensemble's youngest member and reigning tenor until just this year. (Don't you love that title, 'reigning tenor'? Personally I prefer baritones and basses, but tenors do tend to have a particular something to them.) Actually, though, while Emmet did win an award as Top Irish Tenor last year, he really is a baritone. (In fact his range sits about where mine is, which makes him easy to sing along with, although when he is not dealing with high altitude, he can sustain a note much longer than I can. When he is singing in Colorado, though, I can keep up well enough, I think.)

Emmet officially left Celtic Thunder in January 2014, but when George Donaldson died suddenly in March Emmet rejoined Celtic Thunder for their Australian tour. He was also still performing during the 2014 Celtic Thunder cruise that occurred in early November 2014, so many Thunderheads are understandably confused as to his actual status with the group.

According to Emmet, in an interview he gave to Irish Music Daily, "Yes I left the show at the start of this year to pursue solo opportunities. It has been a great chance for me to really find where I am looking to go in my career, and finally take the time to develop as a solo artist. When you’re part of a show that is constantly touring and recording it can be difficult to do that so I just felt time was right. I went back to do the Australian tour given the sudden passing of my dear friend George Donaldson. The tour had to go ahead and I guess in those situations you have to stick together. I spoke with management and we agreed the best thing to do would be to come back and pay tribute to him on the tour, which we did." 

Now that the Australian tour and the cruise are over, Emmet is busy doing a series of holiday shows in Ireland, after which, or concurrent with which he is working on his first solo album. He has not said much about what else he is working on, except that there is more, and to stay tuned. As with Paul, Keith and Damian, it will be interesting to see how well Emmet manages outside Celtic Thunder. In Keith's case, after all signs showed for a while that he was weaning himself from Celtic Thunder to go solo, his contract with Verve went sour and he seems to have renewed his dedication to Celtic Thunder for the time being. Paul Byrom left the group many years ago now, and while he has found a steady, if light, stream of concert opportunities to keep him going, he has had to limit his scope to the US East Coast, southern coastal states and Ireland, becoming almost forgotten everywhere else. Paul and Keith both had solo work released prior to their separation from Celtic Thunder, which Emmet does not have, but Emmet has his ties with Colm Keegan, still a member of Celtic Thunder, and their duo project that has been evolving under the name Celtic Comet. I am optimistic, so long as Emmet can keep up his momentum and keep the Thunderheads interested while he is holed up in Ireland this winter. 

Emmet, pre Celtic Thunder
According to wikipedia, Emmet Cahill was born October 18, 1990 (though the Celtic Thunder website profile states that he is 22, which doesn't match up with his being born in 1990...), and is from Mullingar, which is near Dublin, in Ireland. (And, yes, I will be double checking Emmet's birthyear. It's amazing how many different birthdates these guys are given by the many different sites that write about them, and I hate promoting misinformation. I'm pretty sure 1990 is correct, though.) Emmet went the academic route to get into music, proof that sometimes it really does work. He attended the Royal Irish Academy of Music where he received a university degree in Music Performance. He performed for sporting events and in concerts in Ireland prior to joining Celtic Thunder, and was involved in musical theater.


Emmet in Celtic Thunder
In 2010 Paul Byrom left Celtic Thunder, and Emmet Cahill was chosen to replace Paul. This was the first new member in Celtic Thunder, and it took some fans a long time to get used to the idea that Celtic Thunder could last without any one of its members. Emmet, from the very beginning, has been an extremely charming, endearing fellow, projecting a genuine graciousness and plenty of sex appeal and winning over most of the Thunderheads easily within his first few months in Celtic Thunder.

Emmet's debut on a Celtic Thunder album was with the song "Kindred Spirits", which appears on the album Heritage, the last album on which Paul Byrom's songs appear. Heritage was also the album that debuted Neil Byrne as a lead singer, btw, with the song "Noreen". 

Emmet's solo songs with Celtic Thunder (album tracks):
"Kindred Spirits", Heritage
"Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears", Voyage
"This Is the Moment", Voyage

"My Irish Molly-O", Voyage II
"The Isle of Innisfree", Mythology
"Danny Boy", Mythology
"Always There", Mythology II

In addition, of course, Emmet sang in many of the ensemble pieces from the Voyage and Mythology shows and albums. 

Sources:
"Emmet Cahill on his upcoming solo album and other projects." Irish Music Daily, 2014, accessed November 19, 2014. http://www.irishmusicdaily.com/emmet-cahill-on-his-upcoming-solo-album-and-other-projects
"Emmet Cahill."  Celtic Thunder official website, accessed November 19, 2014. https://www.celticthunder.ie/artists/emmet_cahill
Emmet Cahill's Official Website - http://www.emmetcahill.com/

New from Ross Crean- Lullabies for Trying Times

Lullabies for Trying Times cover art
Well, Celtic Thunder is on tour again, a brand new tour of holiday songs performed with local orchestras, a grand symphony tour that also debuts the new Emmett, who joined the group as Emmet Cahill left to pursue other projects. Emmett O'Hanlon has a powerful voice and the requisite good looks to join the rest of the oh-so-dreamy Celtic Thunder lads as they travel the States singing for Thunderheads. George Donaldson's lower voice has yet to be replaced, so the group sounds a bit less grounded now than what I am used to, but they still sound great. 


Meanwhile the rest of the music world has been busy. In particular, Ross Crean, the Chicago musician and composer whose earlier album Blackwater introduced his luscious-sounding Irish side, has a new Irish album. Ross writes and performs a lot more than 'just' Irish music, including movie scores, and a range of sounds drawing from techno, electronica, rock, rap and pretty much anything else that catches his imagination. My favorite music out of his vast repertoire is probably always going to be his Irish songs though, both the traditional songs and his Irish-inspired originals. This week his brand new album, Lullabies for Trying Times came out, not just Irish songs, but Irish lullabies!

My readers on this blog might have noticed how much I like Irish lullabies, so it should come as no surprise that this is the album whose release prompted my returning to writing here (after George died I really haven't listened to much Irish music of any kind since, till Ross sent me his album). On his website, Ross says that this new album was created for his mother Charleen, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in July of this year. He finished making the song "Siuil a Run" just in time for her to enjoy it before she died, a special gift for her then, just as the rest of the album is a fitting memorial for her now.

Roughly half of Lullabies for Trying Times is made up of traditional Irish lullabies sung in Irish. I've heard some of these before, but not all of them. I do have a couple renditions of "Cronan an Maighdinn-Mhara" in my Irish playlists, but not many, and while most fans of Irish music know 'Siuil a Run', Ross gives his rendition a special twist of his own. One of my favorites, "Taladh Chriosta", made it onto this album too. I keep wishing Celtic Thunder would record this song, but unless Ross teams up with them for this song, this recording may be the closest I've heard to what I want this song to sound like. (Now there's a crazy dream scenario- Ross Crean singing with Celtic Thunder, highly unlikely, but it would sound lovely.)

Mixed in with all the Irish are 5 other lullabies in English, including a couple originals that set the tone for the overall album. I'm afraid my ears still go straight for the Irish right now, but the English tracks are good too. Another of the songs I always think incorrectly that I've heard the Celtic Thunder lads sing, "All Through the Night", may be my second favorite track on Ross's album. I still want Celtic Thunder to arrange this one for all 5 voices, but in the meantime since the fellow I'd pegged for this song, solo, was George...  Anyway, I really like Ross's rendition of this song. And, if I was a guy, I'd still want to have a singing voice like Ross has.
And, of all the albums currently hanging out with the Byrne and Kelly album on the itunes World Music charts, this is one of the few I'd not mind seeing ahead of Ryan and Neil in the rankings this season.

Lullabies for Trying Times was released November 18, 2014, and is now available on cdbaby, itunes, bandcamp and spotify.  You can find out more about Ross Crean on his website and on facebook


"Lullabies for Trying Times" is a collection of Gaelic and English lullaby songs, which Ross Crean created for his mother, Charleen, who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in July of 2014. "My mother begged me for years to record a lullaby-type album," Crean said, "as did many of my friends who were having children. The only thing they all requested was that I make it listenable and interesting for them as adults, so I chose a few traditional favorites as well as composing a few original songs."
- See more at: http://www.rosscrean.com/whats_new/lullabies_for_trying_times_out_now/#sthash.fkjoFWd2.dpuf
"Lullabies for Trying Times" is a collection of Gaelic and English lullaby songs, which Ross Crean created for his mother, Charleen, who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in July of 2014. "My mother begged me for years to record a lullaby-type album," Crean said, "as did many of my friends who were having children. The only thing they all requested was that I make it listenable and interesting for them as adults, so I chose a few traditional favorites as well as composing a few original songs."
- See more at: http://www.rosscrean.com/whats_new/lullabies_for_trying_times_out_now/#sthash.fkjoFWd2.dpuf