While I was on tour with a couple of remarkable groups, one from the USA and one from Australia Claire secretly slipped out of Ireland to the USA and has just returned with a most remarkable set of recordings.
Most of the work is nothing like you have heard from Claire Roche before and I wonder how and where she will perform this new work live.
A few years ago at a soundcheck in a Meath church Claire teasingly burst into a couple of bluesy numbers revealing the most remarkable, passionate and “down and dirty” soul blues voice I had ever heard.
I said “Claire you must record a blues album”
and this is what Claire has just returned from the USA with.
…… but its so, so different to the bluesy album I expected her to do as I was thinking of smooth jazz, crooning, Detroit and Memphis covers, and not thinking of Claire creating her own blues songs in her own style.
Awhile ago I helped Claire to sift through a huge set of reel to reel recordings and cassettes she had made during her teen years in the 70s. There are some powerful moments on these.
Claire decided to not only see if those old tapes could be re-mastered but also decided to perform them as new recordings with her voice of today, including the altering of some lyrics to fit today. The set includes two songs that were written by her in her teens but never properly recorded until just now. One of these songs, “Dedication” has become a firm favourite during recent concert performances.
So, this new set of 12 tracks that may be released
Hopefully this will happen within a couple of weeks, the release of a stand-alone cd release containing
5 tracks digitally re-mastered from her teen recordings,
4 of these are performed on piano.
The next 5 tracks are new recordings of the same songs
The final 2 songs, “Essence” with piano, and “Dedication” with harp, were written in her teens but are fresh recordings.
I have provided streams of all of these songs, except “Essence”, on Claire’s web site on her recordings page.
Unfortunately, these will only work with a broadband connection because a lower streaming quality thinned out the piano sound too much. Sample downloads with full quality will follow asap.
There are two streams I recommend above others
with a haunting dual vocal that helps to create one of Claire’s most outstanding recordings ever. When I remixed the song from Sony mini-disc, some time ago, into a digital track using Adobe’s Audition audio editor, I accidently over-layered the tracks into different timings. Claire kept the effects of this accident as she believed this added to the feel of the song and Robin’s studio in MI, USA, enhanced it to make it work.
with a vocal that to me is beyond anything I have ever heard any singer achieve on any recording!!! This just leaves me breathless and in a sense of disbelief that the human voice could ever sound like this. There’s been a hint of this hidden powerful vocal talent of Claire’s in recent performances, but I never, never expected anything like this.
The message of the song, for some, is painful but it also provides a profound stirring of hope that is there in the worst of situations. In this case it is a woman having to let her man go to another women but holding on because even when he goes she still has the power to love, just hold on.
And For Live Performance?
This is not the sort of music that Claire will performed at the healing and retreat centres, the Irish clubs or castle drawing rooms that have been the venues of Claire’s concerts for awhile.
Claire’s new music reminds me of Peter Gabriel's music at its most intense, especially with early Genesis, Kate Bush and Tori Amos at its most passionate and a piano and song performance by Joni Mitchell at the third Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 which was nothing like Joni has ever recorded. Even these comparisons come nowhere near as close as what Claire has now performed for us to share.
Do have a listen. I think this is the most remarkable and moving work from Claire so far.