The Road West

Máirtín O'Connor


  1. The Cuckoo
  2. Sunshine and Showers
  3. The Goat Jig
  4. The Road West
  5. Rockin' the Boat
  6. The Venusian Waltz
  7. Shop Street
  8. Inagh Valley
  9. Into the New
  10. Celebration Reel
  11. A Half-hour of Hours
  12. Out To Sea
  13. The Carna Czardas

Sleeve Notes

Máirtín O'Connor - Accordion
Séamus O'Dowd - Guitars, Tiplè, Acoustic Bass
Nollaig Casey - Fiddle, Viola
Garry O'Briain - Keyboards, Mandocello, String Arrangements
Brendan O'Regan - Bouzouki
Cathal Hayden - Fiddle
Gerry O'Connor - Banjo & Mandolin
James Blennerhasset - Bass
Ken Edge - Alto, Soprano & Baritone Saxophones, Clarinet, Brass Arrangements
Máire Breathnach - Fiddle, Viola, Vocals, String Arrangements
Bill Shanley - Hammond Organ
Liam Bradley - Percussion
Jimmy Higgins Snr. - Flügelhorn
Jimmy Higgins Jnr. - Percussion
Kevin Hough, Áine Ní Shioradáin, Maeve Canavan, Martin Smith - Vocals

Recorded at Sun Street Studios, Tuam
Engineered by Kenny Ralph
Mixed at,
Sun Street Studios, Tuam, by Kenny Ralph
The Cauldron, Dublin, by Ciaran Byrne
Track 2 mixed at OpenEar Studio, Oughterard, by Bruno Staehelin

Produced by Máirtín O'Connor
Mastered by Robyn Robins at Mid Atlantic Digital, Enniskillen.
Cover Drawing by Joe Boske
Back Cover Photograph by Sietske O'Connor
Cover Design by Johan Hofsteenge.

To all who participated on this recording - a huge thank you.

Special thanks to: Gerry and Marie Reilly, Richard Brennan, Holly and Jim, Kathy Jordan for the animal, Mary Ralph, Garry O'Briain, Bill and Denise, Conor and Susan, Carmel, Brendan O'Regan, Joe Boske, Barry Moore, Steve Cooney, Tommy Hayes, Padraig Stevens, the Sawdoctors, Anna Houston, John and Allison Hesnan, Sean and Irene Moloney, Robyn Robins and Miko for the fish.

Dedicated to my parents Tom and Kathleen; my sisters Marian and Kate and my brother Tom, my wife Sietske and our children Trudy, Tom, Sinead and Ciara.

Seamus O'Dowd: Guitars on all tracks except 8; Tiplè on track 5; Bass on tracks 2, 3, 5, 11
Ken Edge: Saxes and Clarinet on tracks, 1, 2, 4, 9, 10
Garry O'Briain: Keyboards on tracks 6, 13; Mandocello on track 13
Jimmy Higgins Snr.: Flügelhorn on tracks 1, 9
Jimmy Higgins Jnr.: Percussion on tracks 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12
Liam Bradley: Percussion on tracks 4, 8, 9, 10
James Blennerhasset: Bass on tracks 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Cathal Hayden: Fiddle on track 10
Brendan O'Regan: Bouzouki on track 8
Nollaig Casey: Fiddle and Viola on tracks 2, 6
Gerry O'Connor: Mandolin on track 8; Banjo on track 13
Máire Breathnach: Fiddle on track 1; Viola, Fiddle, Vocals on track 12
Bill Shanley: Hammond Organ on track 8
Kevin Hough, Áine Ní Shioradáin, Maeve Canavan, Martin Smith: Vocals on track 12

Thanks to Saltarelle

Track Notes

The Cuckoo
The Cuckoo comes in April
She sings her song in May
She changes her tune
In the month of June
And July she flies away

Our perennial visitor from the South makes her appearance in this opening tune. Many thanks to Ken Edge for his beautiful brass arrangement.

Sunshine and Showers
probably the most common meteorological term in Ireland. Brendan O'Regan suggested that it should have a reggae Flavour, which provides more than enough sunshine.

The Goat Jig
A tune depicting a goat fight on a precipice. Needless to say, the goat won!

The Road West
I received a phone call from Brendan Flynn of the Cliften Community Arts Week one Sunday morning, confirming an engagement for me to play there one hour later. This obviously resulted in a trip of great haste, following the contours of the Conemara landscape with all its twists and turns.
Dedicated to all who take the road West from wherever....

Rockin' the Boat
Bob Quinn's 'Atlantean' was a thought-provoking documentary series in the early 80's which challenged our preconceived notions as Celts. It suggested more tenuous cultural links with North Africa and the Arab world than we may have realized.

The Venusian Waltz
I feel that this waltz has an other-worldly quality to it, which is further enhanced by Garry's lovely string arrangement.

Shop Street
The title of this swing jazz elongated hornpipe was suggested to me by my friend Holly. Irony should have it that I found myself in the same busy Galway street when I first heard that Joe Derrane had hit town. It was wonderful to meet this legend, who has inspired many people, both as a human being and a great musician. This is for you Joe.

Inagh Valley
The Inagh valley, in the heart of Connemara, is one of the most spiritual places on this planet, hence....

Into the New
A belated Millennium tune - but at least well on time for the next millennium!

Celebration Reel
As the title suggests, an upbeat, lighthearted tune written under the influence of life.

A Half-hour of Hours
My daughter Ciara, when learning to read the time, called me over to the clock and said "Now I understand, daddy - between the three and the nine there is a half-hour of hours - isn't that right, dad?" What could I say?

Out To Sea
This set of three slip jigs is a musical homage to the sea, beside which I spent my early youth. I am delighted to be joined on the third tune, aptly enough, by some members of the Cois Cladaigh Choir, intoning Óró Farraige. Many thanks to Máire Breathnach for her creative vocal and instrumental contribution on this track

The Carna Czardas
In the spirit of the moment, this set took off and kept gathering momentum almost in a czardas-like fashion.