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It's been a long time Maura..

Maura O'ConnellWay back in the mid 80s in Letterkenny Co Donegal, myself and my old pal Desie Sweeney were young and unlikely music promoters. We would bring bands and singers to venues like The Mount Errigal Hotel. We were unlikely promoters in that we would often fly in the face of good business sense and run shows that would lose money just because we liked the music. I remember Loudon Wainwright III being one of the most expensive (but also one of the most fun) gigs I ever attended.

One artist we always loved to book and not just because she always packed the house but because she was also a joy to be with and listen to, was Maura O' Connell. Hailing from Ennis in Co Clare I first saw Maura play with her duo Tumbleweed at a gig in Galway. Later she went on to play with De Dannan giving us one of the great anthems in Irish music, My Irish Molly.

Her subsequent solo albums proved Maura to be a great force in Irish music, with a great ear for good songs. She is probably responsible for making many American singers/songwriters popular in Ireland by giving their songs her unique treatment. I am sure Nanci Griffith among many others would thank her for bringing her name to an Irish audience.

These days Maura lives in Nashville and doesn't play live or even record as much as she used to. When she does though it is still a joyous powerhouse of music. Her latest album Don't I Know is a journey through the songs of some of the finest songwriters on the planet today. There are songs by Mindy Smith, Jim Lauderdale and Tim O'Brien among the eleven tracks. Good songs aside though it is Maura's strong vocal translations and Jerry Douglas' imaginative production that make this album special.

Wherever I go these days in music circles in America it seems that every musician working in the Nashville Music Scene knows and loves Maura's work. Jerry Douglas himself is very proud of his work with Maura and never hesitates to praise her with any chance he gets. The musicians on Don't I Know are another indication of the respect she holds in Music City. Bryan Sutton is in there on guitar and brings the instrument to life as always. Victor Krauss sits in on bass with Shannon Forest on drums and Jerry Douglas on lap steel.

It is amazing then how so few people outside Ireland or Nashville know Maura's music. Maybe this Sugar Hill release will change that. Her version of Mindy Smith's Going Down in Flames is wonderful, as is her take on the Jim Lauderdale/Leslie Satcher song When Being Who You Are Is Not Enough. In fact most of the tracks on this collection could and should get widespread airplay on any roots or country radio station worth it's salt.

Once again Maura will also bring home a collection of songs and make her Irish fans aware of some great talent from the U.S.A. and for that we should all be thankful.

For more on Maura and the New CD visit


And don't forget you can get a copy of Maura's new album Don't I Know if you become a JigTime Patron Click Here For Details

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