Ireland's Music: Aoife Scott: Carry the Day
“It’s my love letter to the West,” says Aoife Scott of her song All Along with Wild Atlantic Way. That it is, with visits to places from Croagh Patrick to Dingle, framed in the happy memories of a woman long gone from the area. There’s a bit more to that imaginative story -- it’s a love story between husband and wife across time and place really -- but the lively melody and Scott’s fine voice will draw you in however much of the story you catch on to or not.
It makes an excellent choice with which to open Scott’s debut album Carry the Day, showcasing her songwriting ability along with the colors of her voice -- and the fact that she knows well how to use her gorgeous voice in service of a song and its story.
That’s equally true when she moves to the rather more serious tone of We Know Where We Stand, as with All along the Wild Atlantic Way a song she wrote with musical collaborator Enda Reilly. It’s a song appropriate for and as Scott writes in the liner notes, somewhat inspired by the marking of the the centenary of the Easter Rising. In just a shade more than three minutes Scott and Reilly call forth many aspects of that hundred years and beyond, with images both familiar and new. “We stand on the hill of Tara with our hurleys in our hands” -- there’s resonance in that image for anyone with a connection to Ireland.
Down by the Shelleybanks is a quiet gem, a reflective piece in celebration of an area near Dublin which Scott knows and loves well. It’s framed in specifics, yes, but will reach all who have found a place to go for quiet reflection and the healing aspects of the natural world.
These are the first three tracks of a dozen Scott offers on the recording. About half the songs are originals. One takes a song her brother Eoghan wrote as a rock song into a folk/country direction. There’s Slan Leat, an original in Irish which is sort of a goodbye but our paths will cross again idea, and a bit of Irish too in Fásaim, a song inspired by her brother’s wedding. Songs by Si Kahn, Adrian Lawlor, and Sharyn Dimmick continue Scott’s interest in story told through character. A standout among these is Briege Murphy’s The Hills of South Armagh with its thoughtful take on the emigrant experience.
Aoife Scott has a fine voice and a clear understanding of ways to use it to tell stories she creates and admires. Though this is her first recording as a solo artist, she is not new to the music business. She has toured with the band The Outside Track and has appeared with Cherish the Ladies, Altan, and the RTE Concert Orchestra among others.
Though Scott originally thought she’d have a career behind the scenes -- and did, working successfully in television production for several years -- eventually music won out.
One reason for that might be family background. Aoife is the daughter of renown singer Frances Black. Her aunt is international star Mary Black, and her uncles Shay, Michael, and Martin have all worked professionally in music. Her brother Eoghan is a guitarist and producer. Her cousins Danny O’Reilly of The Coronas and singer songwriter Roisin O are making own marks in the music business as well.
With Carry the Day Aoife Scott continues to stake out her own place as a creative singer and songwriter in the next generation of ever evolving Irish tradition, and in the next generation of her family legacy as well.
You may also wish to see
Aoife Scott's website
Ireland's music: two voices: Mary Dillon and Frances Black
Music, time, memory: Mary Black
Michael Black: music, family, friends
Cathie Ryan: Through Wind and Rain