niallon – Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

I was first introduced to this song via Rod Stewart’s cover. Suffice to say I was surprised to find out that it was originally written and recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Up until that point I solely knew them for Bad Moon Rising which in turn I solely knew as the song from An American Werewolf In London. I can confirm I’ve now educated myself far more thoroughly with CCR’s back catalogue though and this song has remained one of my favourites of theirs.

We have covered a few tracks in the past where the intent has been to shine a spotlight on some songs that get dismissed as run of the mill, when in fact there’s a very sincere and well thought out piece buried within layers of production. This one somewhat falls into that category, though I’d hardly argue that the sincerity is absent in the original. Frontman John Fogerty maintains that the song was written in relation to rising tensions within the band and specifically the impending departure of his brother Tom from the group, despite the theorising that it related to the Vietnam war amongst other things. Nobody can argue that there is a genuine level of emotion and strife to be heard in the original but for me there’s an alternate spin available by bringing it down a bit more in pace, tearing the song open and letting it be even more raw. And that’s how we ended up here! As always, watch, like, share, subscribe!

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niallon – Dancing In The Dark

I’ve well and truly run out of ways to describe my obsession with the music of Bruce Springsteen by now. For me, he and the E Street Band are the music. The music that popped up in my life at a time that I needed something to, that I needed something to point me in a direction. It’s my get hyped music, my comedown music, my inspirational music and of course the “Jesus will this hangover ever go away music”. I do feel a slightly stronger connection to it too, namely the New Jersey factor. My uncle Michael emigrated to the States many years ago as so many did and so many still do. He settled in New Jersey, married and started a family. He worked his hands to the bone, made a great life for himself and I think if I tried for the rest of my life, I’d never find someone with a bad word to say about him. Every time I have been to the US has been to New Jersey. I’ve seen other places on those trips, but it has always been New Jersey with Michael, my aunt and cousin and more that was the base station. We’ve had some amazing trips there, the most memorable of which for me was when Michael took me down to Asbury Park. It was my Graceland, seeing where it all started. Standing outside The Stone Pony where The Boss got started out many years before. Walking the shore, taking in the sights so vividly described in “Sandy” and other tracks. Memories like that mean that Springsteen’s music runs much deeper than the surface layer for me, incorporating history and family and blood.

Michael passed away just over two years ago. In my life I’ve always had a steady nine to five and been a musician on the side. 2015 brought about a lot of change. I quit my job, started a new one that I far more enjoyed, and most importantly I rediscovered music. We started, myself and Peter, in earnest to make something of this YouTube project. What the ultimate goal is, we aren’t all that sure. What we do know is that we love doing what we do.

He wasn’t a hard core Springsteen fan, nor had we ever much discussed music at all to be honest, but I can’t help but connect Springsteen back to New Jersey, back to Michael, which leads to interpretations like this one. On the one hand, I do sometimes feel a little bad taking these upbeat poppy tracks like “Read My Mind”, “Toca’s Miracle” and “Mr Brightside” and completely flipping them on their head, turning them into melancholic trods through deep thought and lyrical meaning. On the other hand, to me there are always real songs hiding behind the synth and pop. “Dancing In The Dark” to me is a perfect pop song with an insanely catchy hook, but it’s also a song that encapsulates loneliness, isolation and pure desperation. Sometimes, in Ireland in particular, we don’t like to admit when things are shit. We’d sooner ‘keep calm and carry on’ rather than tell someone we’re having a tough time. The origins of this track lie in Springsteen being pressured to write a hit. I feel it reaches beyond that specific territory though. To me, this song speaks for all of us being asked to work outside of our comfort zone, being asked to be someone we’re not and most importantly, being asked to betray ourselves. If we’ve managed to convey even a tenth of that in this version, I’ll be happy. As always watch, like, share, subscribe.

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niallon – Coconut Skins

By the end of this requests experiment I feel that our taste in music will be massively diversified. I mean, that was half the point of the exercise to begin with but as it has turned out, the songs requested have come fairly out of left field. I personally wouldn’t know Damien Rice outside of his biggest release, Cannonball, and I have in fact covered that track in the past. Being honest though I wasn’t keen on seeing one of tracks come through as a request as I expected it to be more in line with his low key material, and we’ve plenty of that posted already! What a relief to find this track then and damn it’s fun to play and sing! Couldn’t even begin to give you an interpretation of it but hey, we don’t always need that. Don’t forget, if you want to hear any particular song sound off here in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Watch, like, share, subscribe!

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niallon – Game Of Thrones

What can I say about this piece of music? Back when Game Of Thrones started I actually wasn’t a fan (yeah I know, some people right?). I dunno, it didn’t grab my attention for some reason. One thing I did love about the show though was the music, and eventually, 3 years later, I binged Seasons 1-3 and have been hooked ever since. It has also joined the ranks of House Of Cards and Westworld as the only show where even the opening titles get my full undivided attention and are never skipped. Ramin Djawadi is extremely hot property these last few years, contributing iconic music to this show, the aforementioned Westworld, Person Of Interest and he even branched out into the video game arena with Gears Of War 4, a series already noted for the high end work of Steve Jablonsky.

When it comes to covering Djawadi’s music then, there are restraints. We obviously don’t have a full orchestra to work with (how sweet that would be though) and there are an abundance of covers online of this piece already. What we settled on blends the style and sound of what we have uploaded to date with a higher level of production than we have strived for ever before. It was tough, there were reshoots, tweaks and alterations, but we’re damn satisfied with the finished product, hope you are too!

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niallon – Beeswing

It’s buy one get one free season with niallon! This one was very spur of the moment as we were working through our requests list. I first came across this track via Christy Moore’s cover on his 2004 album Burning Times. As he so often does, Christy went and took a great song that he injected his own unique brand of soul into. As I always do though, I went and sought out the original and it too is just an incredible piece of music and songwriting in it’s own entirely different way. I didn’t know Richard Thompson from Adam beforehand and haven’t listened to too much of his stuff since, but the standout elements from both tracks are what I have tried to incorporate into this version. Be it the mournful weary tone that comes through via Christy or the simply beautiful guitar work on Thompson’s original, what we’ve produced here sits somewhere between the two. One of my all time favourite songs, one that I hope we have done some measure of justice to. Once again we have to commend Vicki for her awesome skills with the camera adding that extra bit of life to the video for us too. As always watch, like, share, subscribe!

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niallon – She’s Always A Woman

I feel like I should be more familiar with Billy Joel. I know only a small number of his songs well enough to sing along, but the small number I know are some of my favourites. In that way then it’s a nice twist that we wound up getting one of his song requested, might light the fire to make me get more familiar with his material. If we do cover another of his songs though I reckon we’ll go for one that’s in 4/4! This was an interesting and enjoyable challenge to record though. Initially I had sat down with just the guitar to try and come up with a solo arrangement. Neither of us are overly prolific on piano so that was out of the question and no other instrument seemed to gel with it all that well. Then Peter sat down at the drums. We had never looked to utilise drums on a slower, quieter track before and I will admit I took a little convincing. After a few run throughs though – and a united decision that we’d be throwing a bass track over it too! – we’re quite happy with the results. Drums aren’t the only change and we’ve a fresh face behind the camera too. We’ve done our content extremely low scale until now and decided it was time to move on from filming on a variety of smartphones. So please welcome Vicki onboard who did an awesome job for us on our most recent videos and you can follow her on Instagram @ikcivanderson As always, watch, like, share, subscribe.

niallon – Thinking Out Loud

I’ve gotta be honest, covering Ed Sheeran is a terrifying ordeal. The dude is just ridiculously talented and more terrifyingly – wildly adored. To say the the pressure is on when covering one of his tracks would be an understatement, but here we are, on what I’d say is roughly the fifth attempt at this particular track in 12 months, and we think we’ve finally got one we’re happy with! Peter remarked around the time we recorded this that Thinking Out Loud already has a feeling that it’ll become this decade’s Mr. Brightside. Sure, they’re two very different songs with very different applications, but the era defining nature of both and the timeless qualities shine through massively. Thinking Out Loud is an old school love song the likes of which we don’t see anymore, taking all the best element’s of The Beatles’ When I’m Sixty Four and Billy Joel’s Just The Way You Are and finding an ideal home somewhere in the middle. As always, watch, like, share, subscribe!*

 

*Also we swear, the requests are coming! Expect movement on that in the next few weeks!