Irish singer/songwriter Celine Carroll shares her first experience of American music for this week's playlist.
My introduction to America came long before I watched madcap TV shows ("Bewitched," "Bilko," "Top Cat" spring to mind) on Saturday mornings.
Instead, my introduction came via the "Great American Songbook." As a songwriter, music was and still is the first thing to draw me in. My parents were musicians and music was at the forefront of our lives. And anyway, growing up as the youngest and only girl in a house with five brothers, the TV was hard to commandeer, especially as there was no such thing as a remote control back then!! So, I’d find myself in another room, listening to the wonderful creations of Porter, Gershwin, Berlin, and Bernstein. Listening to these composers, I could visualize the landscape of the cities, long before I ever visited them.
I got my first taste of ‘the States’ in the late 80s. I had two brothers living in Chicago so I took my guitar and paid a visit. I got to play in all the Irish pubs and tried out some of my early scribblings on some lonesome folks missing Ireland. Yep, I also did Wrigley Field, hotdogs and don’t forget the pizza!
Did I mention that I taught Bono "Love Me Tender" on guitar? My neighbor called me up one evening and asked if I was free. Suddenly I found myself in a studio with Bono and Larry Mullen Jr ("Joshua Tree" pre-production). Larry made me a cup of tea! Bono wanted to record LMT for Ali, his wife. They’d had an argument. I painstakingly taught him the chords. In the end, I played it, he sang it and Larry brushed it on the drums. It was recorded by my neighbor, producer Pat McCarthy. He was engineering the sessions back then. He swears he has a copy of it somewhere in his mother’s attic. I wait in hope.
When I had my first official gig in the USA, I was thrilled. I played the famous Bluebird Café in Nashville. I have been back there three times since and have written some great songs with some fine writers.
I tend to write a lot of my songs these days on piano. It’s my first instrument after all. Who remembers as a kid being hauled up to piano lessons? It was scary, but worth it.
As a lot of my music has a slight jazz-lean to it these days. My latest single "Get Up Get Out" is somewhat of a departure for me. I believe every writer has a great pop song in them. Mine just happened to be written on the ukulele! Someone recently referred to it as "Poptastic," saying that listening to it they can hear shades of the Beach Boys’ harmonies, Carole King’s melody and just the pure fun of American Pop!
So listening to all that American music paid off. Yes America for me is all about the music, through and through.
Next stop, Carnegie Hall.
Find out more about Celine Carroll below:
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IASCA is the Irish Association of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. Based in Ireland, their members are the Irish music writers of all genres - artists, songwriters, composers and lyricists. Their goal is to represent their members, support them, protect their interests and create an environment where new talent can thrive.PLAY IRISH is an IASCA initiative to promote Irish music both at home and overseas. This playlist is brought to you by the IASCA, visit their website here: www.iasca.ie.