The Cavan singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill has announced a new album to be released on February 10th 2023 next year on Rough Trade Records.
All Of This Is Chance is the title, and O’Neill shares a song called ‘Old Note’ from it, an orchestral swirling song, featuring Colm Mac Con Iomaire on accompaniment. The song is inspired by traditional musician Tony McMahon, and is described as a sad lullaby, and is an exaltation of nature.
“Feathered friend, dig up and resurrect me, I long to live among the song of birdies, A lawless league of lonesome, lonesome beauty, Skies and skies and skies above duty.”
The album news comes after 2019 album Heard a Long Gone Song on Rough Trade’s River Lea imprint, which was followed by The Wren EP and a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘All the Tired Horses’ for the final scene of epic TV drama Peaky Blinders.
Lisa O’Neill tour dates
Lisa O’Neill has also announced a UK tour for Spring 2023, including a show at The Barbican in London on March 23rd.
Full dates below. Tickets are on sale now – https://lisaoneill.ie/home/tour/
16 Dolans, Limerick
17 Roisin Dubh, Galway
19 St Johns Theatre, Listowel
20 The White Horse, Ballincollig Cork
26 National Concert Hall, Dublin
27 Hawkswell, Sligo
8 &9 Coughlan’s, Cork
11 Debarras, Clonakilty
16th March – Leeds, Howard Assembly Room
17th March – York, The Black Swan
18th March – Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre
19th March – Liverpool, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (Music Room)
21st March – Bristol, St George’s
22nd March – Oxford, SJE Arts Centre
23rd March – London, Barbican Centre
25th March – Gateshead, Sage (Hall 2)
27th March – Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
28th March – Manchester, Band On The Wall
About Lisa O’Neill’s All Of This Is Chance
The album features orchestral masterpieces such as the ambitious and cinematic “Old Note”, the title track All Of This Is Chance, inspired by the great Monaghan writer Patrick Kavanagh’s prescient meditation on The Great Hunger as well as stirring meditations on nature, birds, berries, bees, and blood that ring out over a clacking banjo, dusting and devastating all those in its wake.
All Of This Is Chance takes Lisa’s inimitable voice to greater heights, or depths, depending on which way you look at it.
Throughout all eight songs on this album it feels like O’Neill is writing in a constant state of wonderment. Not only a portrait of the artist in love with nature, but one perplexed by the ever-expanding gulf between it and modern society. O’Neill sings across that divide while simultaneously digging deep into the land, eyes transfixed on a universe of colourful birds, and beyond them stargazing into the atomized constellations of outer space of which we ourselves are fragments.
In 2021 The Abbey Theatre invited Lisa to perform in their historic outdoor adaptation of Kavanagh’s tragic 1942 masterpiece The Great Hunger on the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham. Particularly significant because it was one of Ireland’s first forays back into the live cultural arena as the arts continued to try and navigate the pandemic era. For Lisa O’Neill though it held even greater significance. The experience of immersing herself in and researching Kavanagh’s remarkable 6,000-word poem was part catalyst to make this new album unlocking a mutual fascination with themes around nature and creativity.
When reading Kavanagh she was reminded of the speech of her Mother’s townland, Crossdoney. In fact, it’s the words of Kavanagh himself and lines from The Great Hunger that open this album on the title track:
“Clay is the word and clay is the flesh
Where the potato-gatherers like mechanized scarecrows move
Along the side-fall of the hill.”
A revolving door of esteemed musicians come and go throughout the album including long-time collaborator on bass Joseph Doyle, Kerry concertina guru Cormac Begley, the cinematic genius of Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Kate Ellis of the Crash Ensemble, pianist Ruth O’Mahony Brady, drummer Lorcan Byrne, producer Dave Odlum on guitar, as well as Colm O’Hara on trombone, Brian Leach on hammer dulcimer, Mic Geraghty on harmonium and David Coulter on saw. Lisa’s young niece, Sadie-Mae O’Neill supplies a precious additional voice on “Old Note”.
It is at times a dramatic album, addressing wonder, fear the suppression of the spirt and the disconnect from the land. It requires a gentle touch to close out. Goodnight World is a lullaby, simplified as if sung to a child, despite its darkness (Everyone I love lies under you tonight).
The sleeve of this album reflects the random wonder of the universe. A dog sneezed on dandelion seeds, and as the singer says – All Of This is Chance!