C O NEILL & CO.
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C O NEILL & CO.

Cavan, Ulster, Ireland | SELF

Cavan, Ulster, Ireland | SELF
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"CAVAN ACTS WHIPPING BOY ENDORSED DEBUT IS SOMETHING SPECIAL"

“Introducing” is the debut album from Cavan based band C O NEILL & CO. and its a wonderfully ragged and whiskey-soaked release thats full of dark observations and bruised and battered ballads. Ciarán O Neill`s broad accent really helps add some character to songs such as “I Fall In” & ” Half Man Half Tractor” and while a few of the country tinged numbers may take a while to embed themselves into your brain, once they do you`ll be humming them for weeks. Album highlight is the epic and anthemic “Look Da No Hands” which features a guest appearance from Whipping Boy`s Fearghal Mc Kee, and his typically impassioned spoken-word performance ends proceedings on a massive high – Edwin Mc Fee / Hotpress - Hotpress Magazine Ireland


"June Madness"



Cavan-based folk-rock troubadours C O’Neill & Co. have just released their debut album, ‘Introducing’, a collection of sometimes humorous, sometimes scathing observations on Irish society. Conor Harrington catches up with Mr C himself ahead of their appearance at Monroe’s Live tomorrow night.

The album’s called ‘Introducing’. Introduce yourself, please.

‘Introducing’ was just about getting a lot of old tunes that were written over the last ten years, bunging them together and recording them with a bunch of me mates, sticking them on a record and seeing how it goes. It’s the first of many hopefully. I think it’s a good start, it’s got a lot of different styles on it, and it’s a good representation of what’s to come.

There are songs that are ten years’ old on this album and other songs written in the last year or so. Have you noticed a progression in your song writing?

Definitely! Songs like (first single) ‘Take Me Over Machine’ were around since I was in a band called The Inflatable Ring Circus, and I didn’t want to just leave them. I always thought they should have got put on a record or they always should have got out, so at least I’ve got that done! Some of those old tunes were just thrown together. Literally fired at a piece of paper and just banged out. I suppose some of the new stuff, coming with age, is a bit more mature, sensible, whatever, I don’t know!

For someone who largely plays an acoustic guitar, you’ve sometimes been tagged as ‘punk’. Is that style something you’re leaving behind?

I don’t know what I’m trying to do. I never knew what I was trying to do. It was always just a case of banging out the tune, and whatever I was listening to at the time or whatever was in my head at the time, then that’s what came out. I never sit down to write such and such a tune, it’s just whatever happens at the time.

Does that follow lyrically as well, because you’re quite a political lyricist?

I don’t think I’m political all the time. With ‘Look Da, No Hands’, yeah, there was a bit of crack at that. It’s just whatever’s in my head, or whatever’s keeping me up at night, that’ll be what’ll go down.

You’ve toured with bands like Whipping Boy, Big Country, and The Saw Doctors; bands that were big when you were in school. What’s that been like?

With Whipping Boy, it was sort of a dream come true because I was a big fan of their music and the way they approached everything. Getting Fearghal (Mc Kee, Whipping Boy vocalist) on the record, that was good. And one of the first tapes I got was The Saw Doctors’ split single of ‘I Useta Lover’, and was it ‘N17’? I bought that in Clogher market when I was a kid and I played it until it was dead! And to play with them now, sure they’re national legends.

The line-up does seem to change quite a bit. Is that intentional or is it a more fluid process?

I think bands are hard to stick together, especially when you’re in your early 30s. A lot of people have other commitments, so to nail four or five guys down and say ‘this is us, this is the band, and we’re going to be together forever’, I don’t think that’s possible at this stage, for me, anyway. So, as much as I don’t want a revolving door band, I want it to be open for people.

Your band mate and ‘Introducing’ producer Jamie Byrne is missing for this tour. How big of a loss is he to the band?

Jamie has always been there and will always have an input into what happens. He’s the invisible member of the band at the minute. Hopefully he’ll be back gigging with us soon.

C O’Neill & Co. play Monroe’s Live on Thursday, 7 June. For more gigs, see www.coneillco.com. Doors open at 10.30pm
- Galway Independent


"This is Homegrown!"

Remember bands like Saw Doctors, Whipping Boy and The Pale? Bands who played student unions, your cool old brother had their t-shirts, you stole his records and got into these fabled, legendary bands that didn’t sound anything like the brit/yank rock you’re listening to with rapt consumer attention. This is homegrown. You could meet these guys outside a pub and bum a smoke off them. That was the draw of these bands, unlike the bands in the posters on your wall, you could aspire to be like them. It gave you a sense of pride listening to these records, knowing they were irish guys just like you and me.

“Introducing” conjures up these images for me. A time before celtic tiger blandness in music, where musicians put their all into their albums for the sake of the music, not for the payday. It has our cultural identity stamped all over it. From songs influenced by the ghosts of showbands passed, tractors and our own knack of turning the humour magnifying glass onto ourselves. Ciaran is quite simply a cunning and comedic lyricist and songwriter. “I got a map to find my head, and found it up my ass” (June Madness), “I’m clocking in, i’m clocking out, i got a desk, a rubber stamp, a calculator for a brain, and half a gram to ease the pain” (This Congregation), are just some of Mr O’Neil’s fine bon mots. It’s an album you can’t help grinning along to. Not just because of the cheeky lines, but because of the welcome return of that that feeling of pride that someone out there is making music so totally unafraid of parodying itself, so quintessentially irish.

Check the video below for a guest appearance from Whipping Boy’s Fearghal McKee, and look for C O’Neil and friends, opening for folk rock bigwigs Big Country at the Olympia, Dublin.
- Chew Your Own Fat


Discography

Single "Take Me Over Machine" Nov 2011
Single "Look Da No Hands" Jan 2012
Album "Introducing" Feb 2012

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Bio

C O NEILL & CO. // CHEW YOUR OWN FAT // Album Review // April 2012

Remember bands like Saw Doctors, Whipping Boy and The Pale? Bands who played student unions, your cool old brother had their t-shirts, you stole his records and got into these fabled, legendary bands that didn’t sound anything like the brit/yank rock you’re listening to with rapt consumer attention. This is homegrown. You could meet these guys outside a pub and bum a smoke off them. That was the draw of these bands, unlike the bands in the posters on your wall, you could aspire to be like them. It gave you a sense of pride listening to these records, knowing they were irish guys just like you and me.

“Introducing” conjures up these images for me. A time before celtic tiger blandness in music, where musicians put their all into their albums for the sake of the music, not for the payday. It has our cultural identity stamped all over it. From songs influenced by the ghosts of showbands passed, tractors and our own knack of turning the humour magnifying glass onto ourselves. Ciaran is quite simply a cunning and comedic lyricist and songwriter. “I got a map to find my head, and found it up my ass” (June Madness), “I’m clocking in, i’m clocking out, i got a desk, a rubber stamp, a calculator for a brain, and half a gram to ease the pain” (This Congregation), are just some of Mr O’Neil’s fine bon mots. It’s an album you can’t help grinning along to. Not just because of the cheeky lines, but because of the welcome return of that that feeling of pride that someone out there is making music so totally unafraid of parodying itself, so quintessentially irish.