Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Next steps for Irish music

As readers know only all too well, last year was a spectacular one for Irish music. Over 200 albums were released in 2010 and the quality of these albums was remarkably high. It was, as we’ve said before, something of …

Fri, May 20, 2011, 09:45

   

As readers know only all too well, last year was a spectacular one for Irish music. Over 200 albums were released in 2010 and the quality of these albums was remarkably high. It was, as we’ve said before, something of a golden age.

The question, though, is what comes next.

An answer of sorts was provided last week at the Great Escape festival and convention in Brighton where a bunch of Irish bands were playing and showcasing. There were queues around the block for Villagers (who won an Ivor Novello award for Best song Musically and Lyrically for “Becoming a Jackal” yesterday), huge interest in James Vincent McMorrow (legendary talent scout Seymour Stein checked out the show) and growing interest in bands like Funeral Suits.

Events like the Great Escape provide the next step for acts who are ready to take advantage of interest from abroad. In the case of McMorrow, for example, his “Early In the Morning” debut album will be doing a lot of musical networking for him for quite some time to come. For instance, that album and those songs has ensured an appearance next week on BBC’s Later with Jools TV show and more European and US dates.

The name of the game for Irish music is to keep producing acts who can go on to do business abroad. A working band is unlikely to be able to make do through Irish activities alone. But getting to the level where you can tour and release abroad takes talent, time, perseverence and a large amount of luck.

Last year’s bumper crop was the result of years of hard graft both by the musicians onstage and those behind the scenes. The next step is making sure that those acts who can make the most of shop-windows like the Great Escape – and next year’s Eurosonic festival, where Ireland is to be the featured country – get to do so. As Villagers and McMorrow have shown, the talent is there.