Sold out of Fingertips of the Silversmith

So I’m happy/sad to say that we’ve run out of (undamaged copies of) “Fingertips of the Silversmith”. Thankfully, the album is still available as a download from Bandcamp (https://tigercooke.bandcamp.com/album/fingertips-of-the-silversmith) and the usual online stores.

I’ll have download cards (via Bandcamp) ready to sell at shows until I decide whether to get more CDs pressed up, or whether to go full-retro and have 45s, 78s, and 8-track cassettes laid out casually across the merch table! ?
#?
IrishMusic?
?#?FingertipsOfTheSilversmith?

Albums versus Podcasts

I find it extremely difficult to switch off at night.  While on tour with Storyman, or The Guggenheim Grotto as they were then known, Kevin & Mick dubbed me “tippy tappy”, such was my penchant for being interrogated by the glow of my teeny netbook, clacking loudly on the keyboard, while everyone else was trying to sleep.  (More about Mick in a sec.)

Two years ago, I wrote a little post with some links to some things I had been listening to.  One was an intriguing podcast called “Find The Conversation”.  I never explained why I was recommending podcasts.  I had discovered around that time, that listening to podcasts helped me to fall asleep more easily than ever before.  Listening back the next day, or the following night, I’d sometimes realise that I only made it ten minutes into the show.  It was effective because it allowed my mind to focus on something without having to respond.  I was paying attention until I conked out.  It worked like a dream.  (Sorry.)  Anyway, there are a few podcasts I listen to on a regular basis, which I thought I should recommend / thank, if anyone out there suffers from a similar affliction.

Firstly though, I’d like to link to just a few Irish friends who have released albums in the past few months.  They are marvellous people, and make fantastic music.  There are loads more, but I’ll give you three for now, in no particular order.  Support them if you can…

Mick Lynch
I met Mick & Kevin of Storyman about ten years ago.  On one particular US tour, all three of us spent 1440 hours in a row together.  That’s two whole months.  Yet, we’re still firm friends.  At least, that’s what their lawyers tell me.  This is Mick’s solo debut.  (I highly recommend Many Moons – it’s a heartbreaker.)

Oliver Cole
Ollie is a fellow Meathman, and was a member of Turn, whose album Forward had a lasting effect on me.  Always positive and confident.

Patrick Freeman
Paddy’s debut is a little gem.  Often at sessions, when Paddy’s breaking out in song, other musicians will audibly mutter “bastard!” in appreciation of the man’s talents.  I think, in these parts, that’s pretty much the highest accolade going.


Albums versus Podcasts

So they’re some albums to keep you company for a while.  I will never be able to listen to music while nodding off to sleep.  I get too involved in it, and it just ends up keeping me awake.  So, hence the podcasts for bedtime.

Second Captains (podcast)
I would normally never watch or listen to shows solely about the to and fro of sport.  They usually speak in very grave terms about things which really don’t seem awfully important, like Mitchell & Webb’s Sky Sports ad parody.  However, I love the Second Captains’ podcasts.  Yes, it is about sports – but they make it compelling with their wit and intelligence.  I got hooked on the show around the time the Lance Armstrong case was finally blowing apart.  Also, they pepper the show with fantastic sound clips.  Here’s one from Japan’s incredible defeat of South Africa in the World Cup featuring commentary from New Zealand, Japan, France & Italy.  I will freely admit, my eyes well up every time I hear it.  (For some reason I’m unable to link to the exact time in the podcast.  Jump forward to the section in question – it’s at 1h 02mins and 41secs – just before the end.)
https://soundcloud.com/secondcaptains-it-com/dublin-rain-kerry-flop-japan-shock-ireland-cruise#t=1:02:41
http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/second-captains

99% Invisible (podcast)
This is a podcast about design.  If you like amazing stories, or have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, this will be right up your street.  To be honest, the presenting style annoys me a little.  But the content often more than makes up for it.  My favourite podcast so far has been this gem about architectural engineering gone wrong, and then covertly made right – the Citicorp building in NYC.
http://99percentinvisible.org/

No Such Thing As A Fish (podcast)
QI is a show on TV in the UK.  The QI Elves are the researchers behind the scenes who seem to have the same obsessive need to collect stories and interesting facts, for no reason other than to just know them.  Extremely entertaining and informative.
http://qi.com/podcast/

 

Join Me In The Pines

Over the past few months I’ve been playing with, and opening for, Join Me In The Pines at shows around Ireland.  It’s been a blast.  For your listening and viewing pleasure, I’ve lined up a few of our latest videos and recordings :
Joy Is A Lion – 2FM Live Recording
Should Not Roam
Golden Guilt
Joy Is A Lion

We’ll be playing in Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny and Wexford in the next two months.  You’ll find all details of our upcoming shows on the website and usual social media channels : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Join-Me-in-the-Pines/721171581240653
http://twitter.com/jmitp

Nollaig 2013

C'mon 2014 - I'll fight ye!

C’mon 2014 – I’ll fight ye!

“The Christmas” as we tend to call it in Ireland (like old folks speaking about a new technology… the facebook, the twitter, the email) is upon us.  It’s time for evaluation and introspection, celebration and mourning, festivities and preparation.  2013 is almost at an end.  But I won’t delve too deeply into that.  I’d just like to share a few developments with you.

I’ve recently moved to a new job which is slightly more flexible and more amenable to the musical side of my life.  The switch was pretty hectic, but things are settling down now, and I’ve begun to play shows again and reacquaint myself with the outside world.  I’m extremely grateful to get the opportunity again.  With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, we’ll meet on the road or over the airwaves soon.

In the past month, I’ve played a few shows – a full show at Tricky’s McGarrigle’s in Sligo, a guest slot at the Apollo Sessions at The Bleeding Horse (no horses harmed), and an opener for my old touring friends Storyman (formerly The Guggenheim Grotto) at The Workman’s Club.

I’ve also had the exhilarating experience of treading the boards at Ireland’s national theatre, The Abbey, to close a performance of The Risen People, written about the worker’s lockout in Dublin 1913.  (Being 2013 of course, it’s part of the centenary commemoration of the event.)  It’s a strange experience to walk onstage cold and with pure uncut adrenalin pumping through your system, as everyone else is on the downward end of their curve, to play a song… and then be left with nowhere to put all the excess adrenalin at the end of your 4 or 5 minutes!  I wanted to go out and lift tram carriages over my head afterwards.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, which I was honoured to seize.

The Abbey Theatre

We’re currently drawing up plans for 2014, and I can confirm that we will be visiting Germany in March.  We’ll leak further details through all the usual channels as soon as we can.

Thanks so much for your emails, support and belief throughout 2013.  Onwards and upwards.  I promise to follow through on my commitment to more writing and blogging, posting and sharing in the new year…  I swear!  I really need to ease up on my self-editing.  Considering that most people will be focussing on what Rob Ford or One Dimension are saying/doing, my behaviour here should be fine…  Should be.

Nollaig shona agus áthbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh!

 

 

 

Kidnapped

“Your True North” was partially inspired by the thrilling Robert Louis Stevenson story Kidnapped, which I loved as a little nipper. All the images of Georgian life and cities, and their modern equivalents, were flicking through my slide projector. Any visitor to Dublin will know its extensive Georgian and Victorian architecture – well, that was my setting – a setting I know well. A beautiful city to shred your knuckles upon. Kidnapped, however, was set in Scotland.

So it was timely that a documentary about the inspiration for Kidnapped appeared on my radar the other night. There’s no definitive proof because Stevenson never mentioned it, but the story of Kidnapped bears very close resemblance to the life of one James Annesley. It turns out that James Annesley was Irish, and spent his youth destitute on the streets of Dublin after his father, the Earl of Anglesey, had disowned him and kicked him out. After his father’s death, the Earl’s brother, James’ uncle, decided to get rid of James permanently in order to inherit the title of Earl of Anglesey – and of course all the wealth and power that came with it.

Anyway… strange to find out I wrote a song set in Dublin, inspired by a story set in Scotland, which was inspired by events in Dublin. Circular!

Tour of Eastern Yurp – April 2011 – Part III

Note: To aid your reading, you may wish to check out the whole set of photos on Facebook.

Dave Redmond on the train to Olomouc

OLOMOUC

In the morning we wake, and drive to Wien. Bratislava and Wien are surprisingly close together, so we’ve decided to drop our rental car back to Vienna before hopping on the train to Olomouc, to the east of the Czech Republic.

Olomouc’s astronomical clock, the second oldest in Czech, before it was destroyed in WWII and before this 1950s Communist addition to the Town Hall.

Dropping the car is a simple enough task, and finding the correct train station on the U-Bahn (Vienna’s underground railway) where we can change to a regional train to take us north and across the border. Trying to find the correct train was a nightmare. Thanks to Party-Fifi, we eventually confirm that I did find the correct platform, and was waiting for the correct train. Not ONE sign or notice on the platform could confirm it though. Bloody irritating. Anyway, we grab some coffee and pastries to see us through the trip.

Sitting in some old border train stations at places like Breclav, you can’t help thinking of all the old Cold War films and spy swaps under yellow street lights. If it weren’t for all the bizarre espionage goings on between Russia and the US lately – with spies getting expelled and whole cells being uncovered – I’d say that those days are gone. But you never really know, do you?

Our little espionage meeting is with Vlad on the front steps of Olomouc train station. It seems pretty, but when Vlad whisks us to the venue in a taxi through the leafy streets, we quickly realise that the train station is in the ugliest part of town. Olomouc is amazingly beautiful. A gorgeous old university town, with a really lively feel. The venue is massive, and seems to be close to sold out, which is great news, and a great way to end the tour. We kicked out the jams. We’re only disappointed that it’s the final night of the tour… we were really enjoying it.

WIEN

After a slap-up breakfast in Olomouc, we head back to Wien where we hang out with my old friend Party-Fifi (not actual name), and get to see a little bit of the city, and move a washing machine. I’m a big believer in avoiding tourist traps wherever possible. Partially because I hate crowds, but also because if we all have exactly the same experience of a place, then it will inevitably lead to dull conversations. So, there’s a challenge for you all. Go forth and move washing machines.

Party Fifi at Cafe Sperl

At a bar that night, someone asks us what we’re doing in Austria, and I tell him we’ve just finished a small Eastern European tour. He’s surprised that we include Vienna in Eastern Europe. I don’t think he’s pleased. So, the final night brings a diplomatic incident. Oh well! Thanks to everyone for looked after and fed us so well, translated for us, and especially to those who came to the shows. It really means a lot. Hopefully myself and Dave will be back again soon.

Tour of Eastern Yurp – April 2011 – Part II

Note: To aid your reading, you may wish to check out the whole set of photos on Facebook.

BRNO

At Stara Pekarna, Brno

Our driving seems to be perpetually punctuating by traffic jams in Praha/Prague. Just before we arrive we get done by the motorway patrol people – I don’t think they’re police, but I’m not sure. (I didn’t test their trigger-happiness.) Nobody informed the idiot musical tourists (us) that you need a vignette (sticker) for the window while driving on the motorways of the Czech Republic. We would’ve got away with it too if it wasn’t for a toilet break we took on the outskirts of Brno with just 800 metres of that motorway to go. Shit. So close, and yet so… broke. Dave returns to find the car empty, and no sign of me. I’m sitting in the back of a van handing over hard-earned cash as a fine for our offence. So the moral of the story is : never stop.

We make it to Brno after my experience , rolling in beside the main train station, where we meet up with Ivi and Iva, the finest ambassadors for Slovakia and the Czech Republic you could ever meet (and the first ones I ever did – years ago back in Dublin). Dave & I stuff ourselves with food, which is often what one ends up doing on tour to compensate for the tiredness and fatigue, when one doesn’t have the cocaine budget of, say, Fleetwood Mac at their peak.

The language barrier is in evidence again. Soundcheck at Stara Pekarna is navigated ably via a series of hand gestures. (Not the ones you’re thinking of. Honestly.) This is the first plugged show we play, which is quite a change. We have a great crowd. I’m not sure where they’ve all come from. Yes, some have come all the way from internetland, and I recognise them. But the others seem to have followed posters and flyers! Old school.

After the show we trek to a pub up the road called The Immigrant, where we get involved in Irish Immigrant activity like drinkin’, fightin’ and playing more music. The smoking ban is not in place in the Czech Republic yet – so I carelessly shred my voice singing in it.

BRATISLAVA

Scherz Kafe, Bratislava – Taken by Ivi

Tonight we play the Scherz Kafe in downtown Bratislava. We’re staying with the lovely Ivi and
Anton tonight, in their magnificent apartment. My voice is tired, so we spend the day running around buying herbal remedies and honey.

Scherz Kafe was in a lovely part of the town. Unusually, across the street from the cafe was a Tesco Express. Globalisation is a real blight! (Tesco are a massive supermarket chain… apparently, the world’s third largest after Walmart and Carrefour.)

The sound is fantastic in the café tonight, and great craic to play. My voice holds up thanks to the diet of honey and some incredible fresh mint and honey tea made by the lovely cailíní at the Kafé.

I’m always amazed and really impressed by the energy and enthusiasm people have for concerts outside of Ireland. Some music fans regularly travel to multiple shows on the same tour separated by hundreds of miles. We’ve seen it all over the States and all over Europe. It’s a great honour to have people making that effort, and I can only hope that our gratitude translates and we send them home happy.

Tour of Eastern Yurp – April 2011 – Part I

 

215541_10150225212109257_99979_nNote: To aid your reading, you may wish to check out the whole set of photos on Facebook.

WIEN

We had a welcoming party at Wien Flughafen (Vienna Airport to you and me) and were whisked immediately into the city, swallowed whole by history and architecture. Dave Redmond (double-bass player extraordinaire) and myself were to play that night, so apart from eating, we did nothing but try to catch up on sleep from the previous night. Last minute packing is no fun. Nor is the lack of clarity and sleep that normally accompanies it.

The venue which was the Laden at Verein 08 was tiny. A living room. But it made for a cosy gig and one which we enjoyed immensely. Usually we’d like to play shows like this a capella and unplugged but we couldn’t afford the huge costs that comes with transporting a double bass – so we brought an electric instead. We plugged into a crappy guitar amp and set up. It actually worked very well. The a cappella thing really focuses your mind on projection. It was interesting. I’d love to compare recordings from plugged and unplugged shows to see which I prefer.

LITOMERICE

Undaunted by the bed-sharing that inevitably follows these budget tours and heartened by the fantastic welcomes received wherever we go, we managed to keep sane… or maintain the same level of insanity we arrived with. Touring the States has been good training for this, where you’re masters of your own destiny completely. Our second show is in Litomerice, which is in northern Czech Republic near Dresden, East Germany. It’s a long drive from Wien, so we rent a car. It turns out that the rental costs a great deal more than expected… so our delicate budget is feeling the strain. Still, onwards to Litomerice.

Now I know practically nothing of Slavic languages, and the fact that it’s not New Year’s Eve means that the number of phrases I can

 

301761_320841924656103_2015549049_nrealistically use have just been halved. Our hosts for this evening are Lukas & Marta. Marta has made us some vegetarian wraps with soya that we could’ve sworn were chicken. (They say everything tastes like chicken. Not true. Humans taste like pork. The cannibals used to call humans “long pig”. What I never found out was whether we taste like wild game, or domesticated animals. I’d like to know – preferably without having anyone killed, or indeed eaten.)

We have a little lie down before heading out to the venue, which is in a park beside the summer cinema. It’s another unplugged show, but with a split level floor, so a ready made little stage. It’s another small venue, but it’s full and the people, as we become quite accustomed to, are lovely. (And all quite beautiful too. Slightly intimidating!)

We didn’t get much time in the town, but it’s got a beautiful old square – cobbled and well-preserved. We also are quite lucky. That night, after a little after-show chat, food, and drink, we spent the night in an old Communist apartment block. Nothing strange, but it was a first.

PaddyWhacked Records

I’ve grown tired of the weekly post of tweets that I’ve had automated for a while, so I’ve stopped it.  It stopped working properly a while ago anyway.  I have a few bits and pieces to write about our Eastern European travels.  I’ll be posting them over the next week, but first I want to tell you about PW Radio and PW Records.

At a time when the Irish arts scene is live and kicking, despite the massive financial and chronic lack of funding for contemporary arts – and by contemporary, I mean none of yer high feluttin’ stuff – it’s great to be able to count on support from radio.  PW (or PaddyWhacked) Radio has been broadcasting from Greensboro, North Carolina for quite a while now, and Shawn Fitzmaurice has tirelessly sought out Irish music to play on this Irish music show.

A recent St Patrick’s Day special podcast displays the breadth of music that’s being put out there.  So check the podcasts out.  The playlists are online too, so if you want to find a particular song – all the details should be there…

To save yourself some time, you can also visit the PaddyWhacked Radio shop – PaddyWhacked Records – which showcases some of the music featured on the show.  Huge thanks to Shawn and Natalie for supporting Irish music!

Urban Fog, London … and other stories

We’ve had a busy few months here at Tiger Corp. We’ve completed a tour of Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, topped it off with some shows in London, and also somehow managed to fit in a week in Paris and moving house. (I had a hard time finding wifi on the road, so my tour blogs weren’t published. Photos from the tour, and blogs will follow here soon.)

And now, as I’m back home, not living out of a suitcase, and things were settling down again… everything starts to take off again.

I’ll be in London this weekend playing a solo set at Urban Fog (http://urbanfog.net/).  Urban Fog is an art installation and tea house, led by Atelier ChanChan. Situated between art and architecture the installation is the collaborative effort of Zoe Chan (of Atelier ChanChan), and designers Sarah Khan, Mickey Kloihofer and Mariana Pestana.   They’re creating “a momentary community event in what was previously a derelict urban void”.  They’ll be selling tea, cake and tea cocktails from their lovely stalls… What more could you want?  (It’s in N16 near the Dalston Kingsland underground.   I’ll be playing on Sat approx : 6-8pm and Sunday approx : 2-4pm)

Upon my return to Ireland, I’ll be playing a few shows around the country.  I’ll refer you to the shows page for all the finer details, but I’m playing a few great venues around the country with Dave Redmond, and a few solo openers, and last but not least, two triple bills with Colm Lynch and Fiach.  :
31st May – Kenny’s, Lahinch
1st June – The Locke, Limerick
4th June – Upstairs in Whelan’s, Dublin 2  (opening)
5th June – Apollo Sessions, Dublin 2  (taking part in their 2nd birthday bash)
9th June – Workman’s Club, Dublin 2  (opening for Suzanne Savage’s EP launch)
10th June – Róisín Dubh, Galway  (Triple bill with Colm Lynch and Fiach)
23rd June – Odessa, Dublin 2  (Triple bill with Colm Lynch and Fiach)

We’re also pleased to announce that we’ll be playing as part of Münsterfest this September.  So, if you’re in Germany and you’d like to see us in your town/city/home/event, please do get in touch!

That’s all for now!  Blogs from the Eastern European Tour will follow soon… in the meantime here are some not-very-arty or high quality shots from our travels!  http://www.flickr.com/photos/tigercooke/sets/72157626621003295/