Bill Lloyd : Willy Ruby 

 

Bill Lloyd writes:

Although mostly a folk musician, I have always been interested in cross-over styles and this collection is the result.   I have been singing most of these songs solo for a dozen years or more, but the album represents a new direction - multi-tracking in a studio instead my usual mode - standing in front of an audience (or a microphone) with a banjo. 

The Willy Ruby album was unplanned - it just happened!   In August 2010, I was in Cavan for the All-Ireland Fleadh Ceol, and met up with Johno Leader, Hannah Flynn and Jacob McCauley, who all inspired me with their expertise. We ended up at Johno’s Beast Studios, at Colleenmore near Loch Gowna, and recorded the album in about 10 days.  Before and after the recording sessions we played at a dozen or more venues around County Cavan and County Longford, guided by our lovely minder, Paddy O’Rourke, and in spite of the candle burning bright at both ends, the energy and spirit of the Fleadh kept us rocking. 

The banjo and the bagpipes are both drone instruments, using natural harmonics rather than the tempered musical scales found in most mainstream Western commercial music.  The sound of the drones was a starting point for the album.  I use the sustained drones of the bagpipes and also an electronic Tanbur from North India, as an accompaniment to the picking sounds of the banjo, which keeps the sound rooted in folk music.  The 5 string banjo is like a drum with strings, and the Appalachian frailing style lends itself to syncopation and off-beats.  Jacob’s virtuoso bodhran style, combined with Johno’s mastery of the sounds of the drum kit and tabla, (to say nothing of the mixing desk…….) matched the percussive character of the frailing 5-string, and Hannah’s sweet and confident vocal harmonies added another new dimension.  So this collection is a mixture of styles, from reggae and bluegrass to pop and rock, with a folk and country theme running through it, held together by the frailing banjo. 

Cover Design: 

I have often been asked about the Front and Back Cover paintings. They are by James Bartholomew Rocco, an Irish painter of great imagination and skill. Originally a Dubliner, he lived in England before returning to CountyCavan, where he died tragically too soon.  A great loss.

Musicians: 

Bill Lloyd:  See separate Bio Page. 

Johno Leader is a multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer who works out of his studio near Dring, in County Longford. As well as his studio work, he plays with The Radioactive Grandma and hosts a music radio show on Cavan Community Radio 

Award-winning Bodhran player Jacob McCauley is an active member in Celtic bands "Fig For A Kiss" and "WhirlyGig" and an active session musician recording and  touring artist. He has shared the stage with "The Chieftains", and  "Lau", among others.  Jacob is an experienced Bodhran instructor, and currently working on his first Bodhran Instructional DVD. Also working on an album with Santiago Dobles & Alan Goldstein of progressive Metal band "Aghora". 

Hannah Flynn  lives in Cumbria, where she sings in sessions and folk music venues, both solo, and with Paddy Rogan. This is her first album - watch this space!