Off The Record by Mike Farragher
Maria Doyle Kennedy has lots of ability
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 10:48 AM
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If you’re anywhere near the Bowery Electric (327 Bowery, New York) on April 23, make sure you check out the next big thing out of Ireland.
Maria Doyle Kennedy is out to make a name for herself here in the States and duplicate the success she has had in her native Dublin. Based on the collection of songs from her album Mutter, she is off to a great start!
Frantic bagpipes announce the arrival of “F***ability,” a distorted, strutting rocker that was a minor hit for Doyle.
“You take one step forward/two steps back/and three steps sideways,” she sings over an industrial goose-step that calls to mind U2’s “Zoo Station.”
“Opera” is built on tentative piano tinkling and tense strumming. Her acoustic music is not pretty. It’s almost as though she strums with a broken bottle chip on rusty strings, producing music that begs for a tetanus shot.
One can hear the goth of Concrete Blonde and the Cure in these spooky melodies, so make sure you pack your black lipstick and ripped fishnets if you go! Girls, you can wear that, too!
Kennedy is an accomplished actress, proving that God blesses some of us more than others. Her movie credits include The Matchmaker, Moll Flanders and The Commitments, and she has also popped up on the smaller screen in shows like The Tudors, Queer As Folk and Father Ted.
I spoke with Kennedy over the weekend as she was packing her bags for her showcase tour, which includes a stop in Toronto as well. Here’s how it went.
How would you describe your sound/this CD to someone who has never heard of you?
It is difficult to describe your own music as you feel it rather than hear it ... but ... in an attempt to … it is exciting, melodic, inventive, sometimes comforting, sometimes hilarious and best of all when heard live.
What/who is “F***ability” about? AMAZING song, by the way!
Thanks, glad you like it. I like it so much I released it as a single! Not a lot of airplay due to the title, as you can imagine.
I wrote it after overhearing a conversation between a girl and a guy (they were friends) in which they listed the qualities they expected in a prospective partner and the kind of lives they expected for themselves people have such notions sometimes.
How does your acting feed your music? Vice-versa? Are there distinctions in inspiration between the two?
They are completely separate for me, and never the twain shall meet.
What is the most surprising reaction you have gotten to your music?
A long time ago I did a gig in a squatters’ commune in Switzerland. I was midway through a very gentle song when a huge, burly ,shaven-headed, right-wing kinda guy pushed his way to the front of the stage, stuck his fingers down his throat and made himself vomit over Kieran’s shoes. It was quite a moment!
What do you think of the state of the Irish/Dublin rock scene? Any bright stars we might not know about?
I love a band called Fight Like Apes, noisy, clever craters full of attitude. There’s a young singer/songwriter who has just released his first album, James Vincent McMorrow. He has a very beautiful voice.
You run the record label with your husband, correct? If so, what is that like?
Well, you do get complete control over what you do, but it’s up to you (two in our case) to do absolutely everything. I still look at the bookkeeping stuff some days and feel like running screaming from the house and full tilt into the arms of a three-day bender.
That said, the new album is coming along so beautifully, I sort-of feel anything is possible.
Louis Walsh tries to sign you -- do you pick up the pen or tell him to get lost, and why?
Never gonna happen.
For samples of her music, log onto myspace.com/mariadoylekennedy.