The opening track Bodenstown Churchyard begins with a haunting a capella vocal. Hanley raw vocal soothes the ears with this an ear-pleasing song based on the traditional Irish song Tone’s Grave written by Thomas Davies. My Son Tim is a nice rendition of the Irish Folk song complete with Banjos, Fiddles and Strings.
The third track on the album is a song based on the famous Bonny Light Horseman. Beautiful authentic vocals sing over a light melody of violins. The fourth track on the album Aprils fool/I Ne’er Shall Wean Her’ is mostly instrumental, a mixture of violins, harmonicas and keys. Isle of St. Helena is Hanley’s take on another traditional tune. Soft, intricate melodies accompanied by pure vocals.
Johnston is a murder-ballad which is based on and English folk song. Dark Horse in the Wind is established on the original composition by Dublin composer Liam Weldon. Sanctuary is full of mandolins and male harmonies. Originally a coal-miner ballad by Vincent Woods and Mairtin O’Connor peaks in the horn arrangement half way through the track.
The ninth track on the album is a dramatic take on an original Celtic song Keg of Brandy. Crooked Road to Dublin/ Considine’s Grove is a traditional set. The album closer South wind is fuelled by fiddles, gentle vocals and soft melodies complete the album nicely.
This album wasn’t really my cup of tea musically speaking but I can’t deny the vocal talent of Liz Hanley. I may not be familiar with some of the Irish Folk songs that a lot of these tracks are based on but Hanley captivated her own meaning behind her powerful lyrics.
Hanley has dabbled in other genres of music too, she was a member of the Rock band Emanuel & The Fear, she is also part of the post-punk ensemble Frogbelly and Symphony.
Liz Hanley quotes 'I don't worry about how all these kinds of music fit together in my life; it's just part of who I am.'
Liz Hanley's debut album The Ecstasy of St.Cecilia is out on iTunes now.