Don Stiffe
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Don Stiffe

Band Folk Celtic


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"Irish Music Magazine - review"

"Don Stiffe comes from the Headford area of Co. Galway and has been singing for most of his life, having toured much of Ireland, the United States and Europe with his songs, no matter where he goes he is always at home with his voice and his superb voice somewhere between the edginess of Sean Tyrrell and the deep clarity of Sean Keane, and that doesn’t do Don real justice, because his voice is uniquely his own.
Joined by Frankie Gavin, Cathal Hayden, Arty McGlynn, Sharon Shannon, Brian Duke, Carl Hession amongst others, the musical quality of the album is in the premier league. Style, taste, paste and final exaction are faultless and his choice of songs is inspired. He has a fondness for the songs of Richard Thompson and bookends the album with Waltzing for Dreamers and Dimming of the Day (fans may know the first songs from Four Men and a Dog).
Stiffe’s song writing gets a showcase too with four tracks which more or less deal with the emigrant’s plight in foreign lands, and he does so with wit and surety in his word pictures. His “Missing Galway” deserves to be a classic modern folk song (if you can rhyme Sharon Shannon with drinking Guinness by the gallon you are up there with the best of word smiths!). He turns his hand at the traditional Cragie Hill and makes it his own (aficionados will no doubt compare it favourably to Dick Gaughan’s version). Don also tackles Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa, yes that old crooner’s smoothest of smooth little numbers, and you know what? Don makes it work, which is testament to his vocal talent and the empathy he has built with the band. Don Stiffe is a class act and this is a class album."
- Sean Laffey

"Irish American News"

"I got this premier CD by balladeer and songwriter Don Stiffe from Ossian USA maestros Mary Lou and Charlie – what a pleasant surprise from the mailbag! The accompaniment on this CD should have been the first warning that this was something special, and Stiffe must be well respected, for the foreword is by Frankie Gavin, who also plays on the recording, and is joined by such wonderful and talented musicians as Arty McGlynn, Carl Hession, Paul Vignoles, Cathal Hayden and Sharon Shannon, to only name a few – powerful.
Featuring warm vocals that take on a different personality with each song; reminders of Michael Buble to Garth Brooks to even a taste of Johnny Mathis, meld with the Orish ballads with ease and polish. Don’s own compositions four of them on this CD, sparkle with emotion and “having been there”. The difference between Stiffe and lesser singer/songwriters is that Stiffe has the distinctive ability to write and sing engaging songs about life, loss and hope, while effortlessly transporting listeners right into the story with him. We experience what they experience, we feel the emotion. It can’t be taught, but Stiffe has it in abundance. We often mourn the disappearing of the great ballad singers, but the tradition is in good hands, evidenced by Stiffe’s well written and beautifully sung songs on Start of a Dream.
Stiffe’s covers of songs like Mona Lisa, Dimming of the Day and Waltzing for Dreamers are well done, but he outdid himself with his recording of Shanagolden, gorgeously sung. Stiffe takes the role of the widowed woman, recalling the love and life of her rebel husband, who died fighting the stranger in Shanagolden. I hit “play again” at least half a dozen times, before going onto the third track. Start of a Dream is a wonderful CD, and Stiffe’s song-writing, singing and guitar will bring him great, and much deserved success.
Annaghkeen, Headford, Co. Galway is where Stiffe rests his head. You can find our more about him at I think we will be hearing a lot more from Don Stiffe. For all the above reasons, this is a Top Shelf Selection."
- John O'Brien Jr

"Connacht Sentinel launch review"

“Massive crowd turns out to acclaim one of city’s true gentlemen

Among native Galwegians and those of us who are blow ins but who have lived here for decades, there’s often a bit of nostalgia for the glory days of the 1980s and early 1990s when the city was a town.
You’d walk into Tigh Neachtain of the Quay’s, you’d know everybody there, most likely there would be a cracking session going on. Even through rose tinted glasses, they were great days.
We might have more money now, but we are all that bit older, Galway has gotten much bigger and that spontaneity is a thing of the past.
But, occasionally an event occurs that reminds you, despite all the changes, Galway is still capable of being a small place, spontaneous and generous.
The launch of Don Stiffe’s debut album Start of a Dream in the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday night was such an occasion. Don is from Bohermore, living in Headford, and it’s no exaggeration to say that he’s one of the most liked people in Galway – and deservedly so.
That was reflected in the turnout for his gig – tickets were sold out two weeks in advance and it was packed with locals as well as his many friends from further afield. These included English fishing mates who come to Headford annually and who had braved the storms to fly in specially for the event.
A cracking line up of musicians joined him on the night. As well and his excellent band, guests included Carl Hession, Desmond O’Halloran, Frankie Gavin, Michelle Lally and Sharon Shannon, who had left her sick bed to be there. Singer Eleanor Shanley who was in the audience was invited on stage, because it was that sort of night when anything was possible. Don’s colleague from the band Feenish, Marcus Hernon, launched his album and paid eloquent tribute to his friend as did Matt Keane who was MC. Afterwards the party continued in Crowe’s in Bohermore where Don was joined by his many friends and admirers."
- Judy Murphy


Start of a Dream (2006)



Don is the most recent singer songwriter to emerge on to the Irish folk scene. Stiffe hails from Galway and his singing prowess is up there with that of Sean Keane, Sean Tyrell, Dolores Keane, and Dessy O’Halloran

“Start of a Dream” is Don’s long awaited debut solo album that was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. Don’s soothing and powerful voice gives us a selection of eleven songs, four of which are penned by Don himself. Grosse Isle, The Returning, Missing Galway and The Banks of the Danube tell us stories both of immigration and returning to Ireland, delivered in Don’s own unmistakable manner. An admirer of Richards Thompson’s artistry, Don puts his own distinctive stamp on Waltzing ‘s for Dreamers and the Dimming of the Day. The classic Monalisa is also given a traditional feel through Don’s passionate singing and the masterful musicianship of Frankie Gavin and Carl Hession. Sharon Shannon, Cathal Hayden, Arty McGlynn and many other fantastic musical colleagues also join Don on the album.

Don lived in Boston, USA, in the 90’s where he was involved in the folk scene. He was a regular visitor to St. Louis where he spent time in the company of the legendary accordion player Joe Burke who described him as “The Bard of Bohermore”. On these musical journeys to St. Louis Don took to the stage with such musical exponents as Ann Conroy, Tony Linnane and Michael Cooney.

Don guarantees a most impressive performance on front of a live audience as those who have seen him in Ireland, Europe and the USA will testify. He has been selling out live performances since the release of “Start of a Dream”. To quote Sean Laffey (Irish Music Magazine) on Start of a Dream “… the musical quality of the album is in the premier league… style, taste, pace and final execution are flawless and his choice of songs is inspired … a class act, with a class album”.