The Ennis songbird Maura O’Connell who burst upon the Irish scene as the vocalist with Frankie Gavin’s De Danann group in the early 1980s has reached a personal and professional crossroads this year.
O’Connell has decided that the solo career she embarked on after leaving De Danann and moving to Nashville to investigate a wider range of music no longer is viable in the present musical climate where folk clubs and CD sales are so diminished it no longer pays enough to do them.
Club gigs and folk festivals are fewer and far between and guarantees aren’t what they used to be either as the audience for live music has changed as well for the feisty female singer with sensitivity to grasp the essence of any song in any genre and breathe new life in it.
So O’Connell has bid adieu to onerous task of trying to keep herself and accompanists on the road and has organized one last tour coast to coast.
There are three dates in the Northeast with a Halloween night appearance at the Barns of Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia and upstate New York at appropriately enough the club called the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs on Sunday, November 3. On Saturday the 2nd she gives her last local solo show at the Northern New Jersey folk music series called the Sanctuary Concerts at the Presbyterian Church in Chatham, New Jersey (HYPERLINK "http://www.sanctuaryconcerts.org/"www.sanctuaryconcerts.org).
The silver lining in that news is that we are still likely to see and hear O’Connell in the future as she will continue performing with friends and other musicians as the situations develop, like occasional tour or guest appearances with Cherish the Ladies for instance since she appeared in their PBS TV show produced last year that garnered an Emmy Award in September.
Ahead of her time O’Connell was collaborating with many Nashville and Americana artists as well as Irish artists over the years so maybe that road may be more well-traveled in the future. After all songbirds gotta sing.