Across the Great Divide
'Excellent!! It shouldn't amaze me that those who do their traditional homework always create the best songs, that tell stories and have music that matches the song.' - The late Tor Jonassen, WRDV - FM Radio, Delaware Valley. 'Brendan Nolan, an Irish emigrant, can't be chastised for singing only well-known songs. Nolan's original songs are a highlight of this album for me.... A sweet and powerful voice.' - Steve Winick, Dirty Linen Magazine, Baltimore, Maryland. 'Across The Great Divide' opens with Nolan's song 'Beresford', a driving track that tells the story of a young man who fell in love and was forced to leave Ireland because of his father's opposition to the girl he chose. He eventually sails to Newfoundland with his beloved and starts his own family name there. On the more contemporary side there is 'The Flight of the Earls'. This song was written by Liam Reilly about the extensive emigration from Ireland in the 1980's. It takes it's name from a time when there was a different flight from Ireland, that of the great chieftains in the aftermath of the battle of Kinsale in 1601. In using this historical analogy Reilly conveys the same feelings of loss felt by many emigrants who feel they have no choice but to leave their native country. Nolan's song 'The Curse of the Immigrant' has similiar feelings of loss where the immigrant to the new country wonders if he or she has made the right decision. Other songs on the CD touch on the theme of emigration to a greater or lesser extent. 'The Devil and the Bailiff' tells a somewhat comical story of the bailiff, one of the most hated figures in Ireland during the famine times, meeting the devil on the road. He attempts to get the devil to do harm to some local folks but the devil has other ideas for the bailiff. Mick Hanly's song 'All I Remember' is a very wry look back at school days in Ireland and being brought up through the religious system. 'Dublin Bay' is a wonderful song by Stephen Fearing from Vancouver who spent his formative years on the north-side on Dublin in and around Clontarf. Probably the best known track is 'Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore.' Nolan said 'Although it has been recorded a number of times I love the song and felt I could not leave it out of an album like this one' Probably the most poignant track on the CD is Nolan's 'Far From Their Home'. It tells the story of Grosse Isle, an island in the St. Lawrence river and one family's tragic voyage from their homeland during the famine years. Grosse Isle became a burial ground for hundreds of Irish immigrants who died of ship fever on their passage over. In many ways Grosse Isle is Canada's Ellis Island and it is now open to the public. Many of the original buildings still stand and there is now a famine museum. The first thing you will notice on approaching the island is the big Celtic cross on Telegraph Hill. It was erected in August 1910 in honor of all those who lost their lives. The song 'Far From Their Home' has been printed in Sing Out! Magazine. 'Whether it's a traditional Irish song, a fictional personage, or a real character that Brendan Nolan embellishes with his colorful imagination, the songs on this CD will hold your interest to the last chord.' - William Ramoutar, Irish Ways Programme, WFCF Radio, Florida For more bio information on Brendan Nolan you can check out the notes for his album 'Tempus Fugitive' or go to his web-site at brendannolan.com.