Where Do I Go from Here
'Nolan has used his broad knowledge of traditional Irish songs, as well as other kinds of music, to develop into a very fine songwriter whose work is steeped in the traditions that he has mastered'............ Sing Out! 'WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE' marks a bit of a departure for Brendan Nolan from his previous albums. Half of the album was recorded and produced in Montreal by David Gossage. The rest of the songs were recorded in Tampa, Florida near where Brendan now lives. 'There were certain songs that I felt better recording in Montreal and that Dave Gossage could bring to life with his gift for arrangement. Other ones like 'Cabin Fever' and 'Hawg Dawg' are more about where I live and influenced by the music I've heard down south. I felt more comfortable recording them there.' The CD is mostly a showcase of original work. The lyrics of the opening track 'CONNEMARA MORN' were written by Tom Kelly and the music by Brendan. It is a gentle love song with a beautiful arrangement by David Gossage. It almost makes you feel you are among the old stone walls and wild coastline of Connemara. The CD then abruptly changes pace with the title track 'WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE' It is a driving song about the loss of freedom through incarceration for a crime the subject is innocent of. Having been suddenly set free they ask, 'where do I go from here.' It is a song influenced by the case of the Birmingham Six and all those who are wrongly convicted. The album changes pace again with 'CABIN FEVER' . This is a bluegrass-influenced song and although it is about driving the highways and by-ways of Florida, it has that universal feeling of just wanting to get away from it all for a while. 'OLD NED' is the sad tale of one of the last horse-drawn milk-carts in Dublin. It is told from the driver's point of view as he goes out on his last rounds with his horse Old Ned before the inevitable changeover to motorized vehicles. This song shows Nolan's eye for detail as he has shown in the past with his famine song about the Canadian island of Grosse Isle. The driver would love keep Old Ned 'but the yard of a council house is no place for a horse to roam'. On the lighter side Brendan does a cover of Brian O'Rourke's 'THE BODHRAN SONG'. This is the tongue-in-cheek story about the goat who wanted to become an Irish drum. It is sung with just a bodhran accompaniment. 'HAWG DAWG' tells the real-life story of a dog that Brendan and his wife rescued on highway 95 near Brunswick, Georgia after it was nearly run over by a tractor-trailer. It was a dog that had been used for hunting wild pigs, hence the name. They took it to the fire station in Brunswick and the tale has a happy ending! Nolan's version of the 'BATTLE OF CLONTARF/BRIAN BORU'S MARCH brings the ancient fight between the Irish and the Norsemen to life again in Dave Gossage's arrangement and Gerry O'Neill's fiddle playing of Brian Boru's March. The sadness at the loss of Brian Boru and his son and grandson tempers the military victory the Irish had on Good Friday in the year 1014. 'A SONG OF OLD IRELAND' is another collaboration with the writer Holmes Hooke of County Armagh. Brendan had previously put music to one of Holmes poems. In this story the writer speaks of various Irish people that he has encountered during his years away from Ireland. Each one has their own unique story to tell about how they came to leave their native country. There are other gems on this CD. Originals like 'MURDOCH McRAW' and 'THE HILLS OF OLD VERMONT' to the traditional 'HERE I AM FROM DONEGAL'. It is a pleasing and an eclectic mix that will not disappoint.