Kieran Kane Q&A
Do you come from a musical family?
On my mother’s side of the family I had uncles who were quite musical. I had one uncle who could pick up any instrument & literally within a few minutes, could play it. On my dad’s side of the family, however, not one iota of musicianship.
What you’d be doing if you weren’t making music?
I have no idea exactly; I’d like to imagine I’d be painting, but I don’t think I could make a living at it. I’ve never really had a job except for delivering newspapers as a kid. There is nothing else I could do – maybe I could be a hobo and live in a box.
Five CDs you’d want with you on a desert island?
Duke Ellington – Blues in Orbit
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Django Reinhardt – any of the Hot Club records
Best Of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Essential Collection: Muddy Waters
Musical hero you’d most like to meet?
I met him. Bo Diddley – I met him in Australia when Kane Welch Kaplin were playing the East Coast Blues Festival. I heard he was in a tent right down the way from us & I took my little frame drum with me & I stood outside his door hoping he would notice me. I sat outside his door and listened to him talking very intelligently to two people about why the US should have not been in the Iraq War. Finally he saw me & didn’t wave me in, but I inched in anyway—sort of like a little kid going to see Santa Claus for the first time—and asked “Mr. Diddley” if he would sign my drum. He was very arthritic & jammed the magic marker between his fingers & very deliberately signed his name “Bo Diddley” and underlined it. As soon as I got back to the tent, I sat down & just wept. He played that night, and I’d never seen him play, but I didn’t go. I had something in my head as a little kid, this image of him then and what he did, and keeping that in tact is very important it was to me. Seeing him so sick then (he died soon after), I didn’t want to see him like that on a stage.
What is your hidden talent?
Should I say this? Getting people to come along with my ideas but having it seem as though they thought it up. You just move around the conversation until they say what you want them to say & then pipe up with “Great Idea!”
What sound do you love?
My grandson, Eli, calling me “Grampie”.
What sound do you hate?
Dogs barking at night. I live in East Nashville...and it’s not the strays.
What fictional character do you most identify with?
Howard in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
What piece of music/art/writing do you wish you had created?
Never Come Morning by Nelson Algren
Otto Dix’s “The Dancer Anita Berber”
Last good book you read?
The Years With Laura Diaz by Carlos Fuente
Two people, living or dead, that you’d want sitting next to you at a dinner party
Preferably it would be strangers, because I seem to get along with them best.
Favorite comfort food?
Moules frites or mussels with fries. It’s good for the restaurant or the backyard.
Who or what is your role model?
I have two - Charlie Birkin and John Van Valkenburg. I met Charlie in New York in my family’s cabin when I about 5 and he became a surrogate dad. He and his wife owned the diner down the hill from the cabin and my brothers all worked there during the summers. He and his wife worked around the clock, literally, from Memorial Day to Labor Day so they could have the rest of the year to just live. John I met when I was 15 and he was 25 when I was playing bluegrass music. He would take me all over upstate NY to pick up this radio station out of West Virginia, WWVA, and he’d recite and sing Carter Family & Johnny Cash lyrics. He didn’t go to college (he drove a school bus for a living) but he somehow cobbled a life together that allowed him to go off and take photos of birds in the wilderness. He lives in a very small house that he rents, and he lives with this self-created family of injured crows. He sits around and plays his banjo to the crows—they roam free in the house. Through both of these guys what I learned is that you can do whatever you want to do, it doesn’t really matter. You just have to be willing to accept the shortcomings & perks, but you can do it. And it has served me well when I got started in music and people said “You don’t know what you are doing, you’re not very good...” It’s a business of rejection this music thing. You show someone the very best of what you have at the moment & often times have it dismissed like it’s nothing. Artists are the people who are least likely to have the capability to deal with rejection, but somehow get the most, and in the end it causes you to be the most resilient.
What trait do you most value in your friends?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting at the lake house in upstate NY with my family here.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I was told actually that I say “no brainer” often. And I do say “thanks kiddo” a lot according to Steph.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t really care much about possessions – but I’d have to say my cabin on the lake. It’s where I find the most peace. The only drawback is it’s so far away from my family, which is why I go back & forth so much.
Which talent would you most like to have?
What is your Motto?
Live free or die...haha, I don’t have a motto. But I guess it would have to be “do what makes you happy”.
John Gallent plays Viola, speaks French, and holds music degrees from both LSU (go Tigers!) and Belmont University. John is Compass Records’ associate publicist and also our resident class clown (don’t let his fancy Viola photo fool you.)
Kieran Kane – Somewhere Beyond the Roses
Kieran’s brilliance is in how rich and dark he makes one chord sound. Because of my dad, I’m a big fan of 50s rock and roll, and to hear those same musical concepts (two chords, deep grooves, minimal key changes) brought to an Americana album was a revelation.
Colin Hay – American Sunshine
This album is where I went down the Colin Hay rabbit hole. I wasn’t aware of his solo career before joining the Compass staff and after seeing him perform “You Came Into My Store” live, I’m never coming back.
Dale Ann Bradley – Don’t Turn Your Back
Dale Ann is a 70s rocker with a set of bluegrass goddess pipes – no matter the genre, everything sounds good with her voice wrapped around it. This album is sunshine for your iPod.
Bearfoot – Doors and Windows
This isn’t Pawpaw singing on the front porch anymore, this is young, fresh, bluegrass pop.
Alison Brown – The Company You Keep
I appreciate her melodic virtuosity and technical giftedness. Listening to Alison play is like beautiful math music, it’s intelligent design for the banjo.
Top 10 Best Sellers for November:
1) Various Artists - A Thistle & Shamrock Christmas Ceilidh (GL1208)
2) Alison Brown - The Company You Keep (COM 4482)
3) Mick Moloney - If It Wasn’t For The Irish and The Jews (COM 4525)
4) Alison Brown - Evergreen (COM 4470)
5) Bearfoot - Doors and Windows (COM 4504)
6) NewGrange - A Christmas Heritage (COM 4412)
7) Sharon Shannon - Saints & Scoundrels (COM 4527)
8) The Unwanted - Music from the Atlantic Fringe (COM 4526)
9) Dale Ann Bradley - Don’t Turn Your Back (COM 4511)
10) Colin Hay - American Sunshine (COM 4512)
2009 Compass Records Round-Up
Despite the challenges in the industry this year, the Compass Records Group bucked the trend with a robust selection of new releases from across our catalogs. Last week, we got news that 2 of our albums have been nominated for 2009 Grammy Awards: Liz Carroll and John Doyle for Double Play in the Traditional World Music category and Compass co-founder Alison Brown for the track "Under The (Five) Wire" from her release The Company You Keep for Best Country Instrumental Performance. Our congratulations to all! As the year draws to a close, we are grateful for the chance to continue to support outstanding independent artists and are very appreciate of you for your support throughout the year. Here’s a brief synopsis of our year in music.
Celtic: In addition to the Grammy nominated album Double Play from John Doyle and Liz Carroll, we released new albums from several of our favorite Celtic artists including guitar whiz Tony McManus with The Maker’s Mark [winner of the Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Instrumental Album], Northern Ireland’s Beoga (called by The Wall Street Journal the most exiciting new traditional band to emerge from Ireland this century) with The Incident, accordionist extraordinare Sharon Shannon’s latest effort Saints and Scoundrels (featuring the radio favorite "Mama Lou" with guest vocals by Imelda May) and celebrated musician and educator Mick Moloney’s If it Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews, a tribute to the early Tin Pan alley collaborations between Irish and Jewish composers and lyricists. In August we debuted New York based sensation The Pride of New York, a collaboration between Joanie Madden, Brendan Dolan, Billy McComiskey and Brian Conway, that received a 4 star review from the Irish Times, as well as the String Sisters, a collaboration of the world’s top female Celtic fiddlers including Annbjorg Lien, Catriona MacDonald, Liz Carroll, Liz Knowles, Mairead ni Mhoanaigh and Emma Hardelin. We wrapped up the year with another first class collaboration called The Unwanted featuring music from the Atlantic fringe with Cathy Jordan (of Dervish), Rick Epping and Seamie O’Dowd dubbed by Folkworld “the best of the barley from both the Old World and the New.”
Bluegrass/Americana: It was a big year in bluegrass, with new albums from old favorites as well as new albums from new members of the Compass roster. Banjoist and Compass co-founder Alison Brown delivered the GRAMMY-nominated The Company You Keep with a tip of the hat to her 17-year partnership with her touring band and also produced vocalist Dale Ann Bradley’s album Don’t Turn Your Back; this fall Dale Ann Bradley won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s award for Female Vocalist of the Year for the third straight year. Seven time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Missy Raines and her band The New Hip delivered a grooving set of bluegrass virtuosity flavored by jazz-tinged grooves on their debut album Inside Out and the Matt Flinner Trio offered an amazingly played set of new acoustic instrumentals on Music du Jour. This year also marked Compass debuts from the New England-based brother duo The Gibson Brothers with Ring the Bell, recorded at Compass Sound Studio and which has spent months on the bluegrass chart as of this writing, and Bearfoot, a group which got its start on the bluegrass festival circuit in Alaska, and whose release Doors and Windows debuted at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart.
Folk: We started off 2009 with two albums recorded at Compass Sound Studio and produced by Compass co-founder Garry West: That Kind of Love from storied Southern singer/songwriter Pierce Pettis and a stripped down acoustic recording of fan favorites from Boston icon Catie Curtis entitled Hello Stranger (featuring a duet with Mary Gauthier on the title track). We also released From The Union Of Soul by Australian folk rockers The Waifs, recorded during their 2008 tour of Australia and featuring guest appearances from John Butler and Clare Bowditch. Kieran Kane, one of Nashville’s most revered songwriters, released Somewhere Beyond The Roses, an evocative and relevant set of new compositions, and we ended the year with a remarkable new project from the UK’s legendary Martin Simpson called True Stories which just received a record 6 nominations at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative: We were very pleased to make more of Colin Hay’s music available this year. In addition to releasing the former Men at Work front man’s new studio project American Sunshine, marked by Hay’s own sideways glance at the American dream set to some of the purest pop, hardest rock and most emotionally bare acoustic balladry Hay has yet laid down, we also re-released several of Colin’s catalog titles, including Topanga, Transcendental Highway and Peaks and Valleys. (The fourth of his catalog titles, Company of Strangers, will be re-released in January 2010.) We also discovered the wonderful music of French songstress Coralie Clement and released her project Toystore in conjunction with her appearance at Central Stage in Central Park in June.
World: In June we made a foray into the world of salsa with the debut recording A Gozar from Latin SalSoul Queen Cecilia Noel. In late summer, we were very pleased to re-issue Bloodwood, the seminal recording from the late didjeridu master Alan Dargin, as a tribute to the life and music of this very inspirational musician. This instrumental masterpiece was the album with which we launched our company 17 years ago and the re-release contains a rare bonus track and expanded liner notes from his musical collaborator and producer Michael Atherton.
Tayberry Music: This summer we launched the Tayberry Records imprint with the release of two outstanding records. Renowned for his work as the composer of Riverdance, Bill Whelan delivered the gorgeous The Connemara Suite, performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, which beautifully accomplishes the composer’s goal of writing for traditional musicians within the framework of a chamber orchestra. Also in the classical vein, The Celtic Tenors album Hard Times offers a collection of harmony rich arrangements of well-known songs that demonstrate why these vocalists have established themselves as the most successful classical crossover artists ever to emerge from Ireland.
Reissues: We have continued our goal of bringing classic recordings back into print with the reissue of albums from the Green Linnet and Xenophile. Below is a list of the albums reissued in 2009.
The Dance Music of Ireland: Jigs and Reels
The Voice of Celtic Woman: There was a Lady
A Collection of Celtic Moods: Season of Mists
Traditional Music of Scotland
Traditional Music of Ireland
Tarika Son Egal
Thank you for voting in our Best of 2009 poll. All voters will be entered into a drawing to win a free one year membership to the Compass Records CD of the Month Club. One entry per person please. The lucky winner will be announced in our January newsletter.
Don’t forget to tell your friends about the contest as well! (Click here to send to a friend)