BELFAST TRAD OUTFIT LONESOME GEORGE AREN'T AS SLOW AS THEY WALK EASY.
Byline: BRENDAN MCKEOWN & MARK WHYTE
THEY'RE named after a Pinta Island tortoise, the very last of a dying breed who became an unlikely hero of the conservation movement, and in some ways that's entirely appropriate. For Lonesome George share an ageless quality with that lumbering giant. Their music is rooted in the mists of time and like him are possessed of potent political symbolism. That's where the similarities end, however, for the Belfast-based band are famed for their nimble and dextrous craft, honed over many years in back room bar sessions in the city's thriving trad scene. And they move with the times, letting newer influences strengthen ther gene pool so to speak.
Based round the songwriting partnership of best pals Joe Campbell-McArdle and Myles McCormack, along with Belfast bodhran maestro Dermot Moynagh and flute player Stephen Loughran, Lonesome George are a curious proposition. Obvious their main source of inspiration is Irish traditional and folk music. There's some bluegrass, blues, country and even some klezmer in the mix too. There are snazzy, if not downright jazzy, chords though not quite enough to give it the Celtic soul sound of Van or John Martin. And there are modern flecks too, nods to Kila and Flook who in turn took their musical guidance from further afield with reggae, bluebeat or even mento rhythms underpinning their own brand of trad. The band themselves cite the Clash and Luke Kelly among their major influences but we can hear a loittle of Fionn Regan in singer Joe's delivery and this is never a bad thing.
They've just released debut album Flat As The Earth and with it the excellent single Mercy, a charged, heartfelt reportage from the refugee camps at Dunkirk, where Joe volunteered at the children's centre last year a "rewarding and maddening" experience. Any proceeds from the single go to care4calais. org. Can't say fairer than that.
Lonesome George are launching Flat As The Earth with a concert tomorrow night at the Duncairn Cultural Arts Centre, Belfast. It might just be worth going - see you there...
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|Title Annotation:||News; Opinion; Columns|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||May 18, 2018|
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