The Countryside – Beggers on Horseback
Mr. Slattery of “The Countryside” is from my very favorite corner of this planet: Ireleand. My wife and I in 2003 toured most of the island for over two weeks and my only disappointment was missing a concert of “The Waterboys” in Kilkenny—a few parishes too far, on short notice and with inadequate transportation.
I love the mood created by the gloriously emotive guitar and plucked strings on some of the tracks on “Beggers on Horseback”. This is not a sonically overwhelming album. It does not bloody or bruise like a rugby match. It feels akin to a solo walk in the Wicklow Mountains with the fog lifting and the dreams once suppressed—for their sheer glory—finally given voice and form. Lastly, I’m reminded of returning back to our rooms—late on a Friday night—after a brilliant pub crawl through Dingle and realizing from where the magic comes. It comes from our new friends and old, as well as the one who holds us as a father does his beloved child.
The Countryside is essentially the work of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Graeme Slattery who wrote and produced the album over the last five years in various locations including San Francisco, New York, Dublin and Wicklow. While Slattery has been writing and recording for more than 20 years, it took the birth of his third daughter to get him to actually release a record. “It’s funny, most people write songs to get girls, I do it to feed them!,” he said. “I’ve always loved writing, arranging and recording but never felt the need for external recognition, so I never released anything. Now, if I can make a few quid to help lighten the weekly shopping bill by releasing something I love and hopefully will resonate with music fans in some way, then why not?”
Slattery, who was one time guitarist in critically acclaimed Irish band The Devlins, lives in a converted 17th century stable in Rathmichael, Co. Wicklow, where he recorded the majority of the album – and counts the scenic countryside setting where he lives high on his list of influences on the sound of the record. “Having lived in apartments in built-up cities for the majority of my life, I longed to be in the countryside and feel some space around me. But I’ve never been in the position to live off the land, so to speak, so have to be close to the city to earn my crust. Where I am now gives me the best of both worlds while providing a truly inspirational setting for my music and a great place for the girls to grow up. You can’t beat the smell of cow manure first thing in the morning!”
Digital Release: http://Itunes.apple.com/beggars-on-horseback
Full album available to stream or embed here: Soundcloud Countryside