So at the bottom of this post is the cover of Seamie's and my new album. Pic by Declan Harte, Design by Daithi Turner.
It's the third album that I have put out, the first as a duo - and the funny thing is, there is a distinct possibility it will be the last.
Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed every minute of the process - writing, rehearsing, recording, mixing, designing etc. Especially when it's with a man and a musician of the calibre of Seamie. It is no doubt a wonderful time in your life - the excitement of hearing the tracks, the build-up to the release, and the tension as you wait to hear how the world will react to it.
We will play it live for the first time on next Sat 25th Feb in the Hawk's Well Theatre and the album will be officially released on Monday 27th. It will be available from www.kieranquinn.ie, Liber, The Record Room, and in Thomas Connolly's every Monday (and every other day of the week for that matter). For those who prefer the digital experience it will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and all the usual places.
It will be a special gig on the 25th - just the two of us on that big stage, treading the fine line between staying true to the recorded tracks while leaving room for the improvisation that is such a big part of our gigs. I hope some of you can join us there, or indeed during our upcoming tour in the month of March.
And so despite the words I have used so far - enjoyed, excitement, special, wonderful, the nagging feeling remains that I may never release an album again.
I was at a music conference in Belfast yesterday and the closing speaker was a man called Bob Lefsetz - a man whose thoughts on the music industry I have had the pleasure of reading regularly via his email blog (thanks Tommy Higgins for turning me on to it!). I had never heard him speak before, and wow was he a force of nature.
At one point he stated - and I paraphrase - 'if you're making an album now, stop. Stop, stop, JUST STOP. There is no point. Do you think anyone has time to listen to your album nowadays? Most people listen to a song for 2/3 secs before making their mind up on it..and you think they will take 45 mins of their life to listen to your 12 tracks ?! Get a grip! The only reason people make albums is for their own pride - there is no commercial or musical reason to do so.'
What he was advocating instead was to release one song at a time, and showcase your music to the world this way.
I had read this opinion from him before, and had often wondered about it. Definitely true in a commercial sense - I have yet to break even from either of my previous two albums, but musically? Do people not sit and take some time out of their lives and listen (either passively or actively) to an album any more?
I did it this time last week - a friend and colleague sent me an advance copy of his upcoming album, so I decided to take some valuable me time, and sat for 40/45 mins and listened and got brought to many wonderful places by the songs/tunes. Am I the only one who does this? I doubt it.
Anyway time will tell whether this is the last album I produce. If it is, I guess it's no harm that I'm very happy with it. I hope some of you take the time to listen to it...Kieran.