Bog Bodies & Other Stories: Music for Guitar
The music was written and performed on my ragtag collection of guitars and other stringed instruments including 12 string guitar, National Steel guitar, Spanish guitar, slide guitar, ukulele, and tiple. Two tracks feature fiddler Rosie Shipley. I always had a sense of the kind of guitar music I wanted to make, but I also wanted to stress the physicality of playing music; the sense of touch, of graininess, that you get when you dig deep into the strings and the wood. Many of the pieces are evocations of places and people in Ireland and around the world. Fergus River Roundelay is for a river in my native Co. Clare; Crows of Homer is inspired by a town in Alaska; The Desert And Two Grey Hills is about looking for something and someone in New Mexico; Stranger in Texas features a 5-string banjo I picked up on a porch in Crockett, Texas where Lightnin' Hopkins used to play; Deora Dé is a lament on an old National Steel guitar; Dancing Sweeney is the bockety dance of an outsider; and The Song Sings Itself is so named because it came easy and when I put the National Steel lead guitar on it it just seemed to sing. The final tracks, Oldcroghan Man and Clonycavan Man, were composed for two Iron Age bog bodies lately discovered in Ireland, carefully preserved by the earth to which they were committed long ago. Time and the bog seem to have burnished them into an essence of their persons and personalities. Oldcroghan Man was about six foot five; a powerful man. Clonycavan Man was five foot three and wore hair gel that could only have come from France. What stories they could tell! When I saw them in the National Museum in Dublin, I immediately thought about writing this music. I hope you enjoy it. Gerry.