Since I couldn't do any St. Patrick's Day shows last year thanks to that ongoing pandemic thing, so I spent my winter recording an album of Irish folk songs at home. It was a fun experiment, and people seemed to actually enjoy it. So I took another crack at it this year (with even better home production skills, plus a sweet new preamp).
Forfocséic, Volume 2 features five Irish folk songs about whiskey, and five songs about workers and workers' rights (there's some natural overlap there as well). It's got a bit more of an Americana vibe this time around, but I think it works pretty well!
Here are a few highlights, if you're not quite sold:
- Jacqui Cheng, the former Editor-in-Chief at Wirecutter and Editor-at-Large at Ars Technica, once again played violin on a few songs. On last year's record, she made my mashup of "Follow Me Up To Carlow" and "Éamon an Chnoic" absolutely soar with a dueling fiddle solo; this year, she brought some Thin Lizzy riffing to "Whiskey in the Jar" and some much needed melancholy to "The Wild Rover."
- I got a few requests last year for "Muirsheen Durkin," which is an old folk song about a guy who leaves Ireland during the Great Hunger and goes to America in search of gold. Meanwhile, my father's spent his pandemic isolation digging deeper into ancestry records, and found a story about a relative of ours who … left Ireland during the Great Hunger and came to America in search of gold. Except this relative also shot a guy over some of that gold. So I wrote some extra material to add to the song and make it a bit more personal. (The real post script is that my relative was arrested and charged for murder, and by complete coincidence, his US judge had also emigrated from County Clare, and according to the newspapers, decided that the gunshot victim died not from his gunshot, but from his own inability to clean and care for his wound. That's some real Wild West shit.)
- There's a lot of James Connolly love on here. That dude was great. More people should know him.
- I sort-of learned how to shred on the mandolin?
- You'll also hear some riffing on an upright Appalachian Dulcimer called the Woodrow, which is pretty cool.
Forfocséic, Vol. 2: Whiskey & Work [Thom Dunn]