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Thursday, 21 September 2017

NEW MUSIC - TOUCHSTONE: BRIGID O'NEILL




Touchstone
Brigid O’Neill

Produced by Gareth Dunlop and Brigid O’Neill


Track Listing:

Little Birds
Turn and Face the Sun
Refugees
Iron in Your Fire
Rumour
Breathe Slow
Running Back to You
Misunderstanding
They All Said
Touchstone

Even before playing a note of this CD, you know, just by holding it, you are in the land of quality. It is packaged beautifully and includes a lyrics booklet. The cover design and photography are both stunning.

The opening track, Little Birds, is a beautiful, mellifluous showcase for Brigid O’Neill’s crystal clear voice, a song celebrating spiritual freedom and the sheer joy and wonder of life, ingredients that we need restored now more than ever in this crazy world. A song like this grabs our attention and, in its own hypnotic way, steers us clear of the negative into a positive frame of mind. Just lovely.

Turn And Face The Sun is a continuation of positive thinking, encouraging us to enjoy each day, to “take what’s out there and live it, feel the love and give it”. The song is catchy and if we still had milkmen delivering to doorsteps, this would be a whistling favourite in the early hours of the morning. And that is testimony to how good it is, lest you think lowly of the milk people!

Refugees reminds us that the world is in turmoil with millions of people displaced through no fault of their own – “lives in tow, places come and go, we left upon a midnight warning”. The song is blessed with an urgent rhythm and underlines reality but does it in a way that even when things seem desperate and inexplicable, a hopeful, understanding tone can force us to at least try to understand what is going on with refugees. It is not a song with politics at its heart, it is a song with humanity at its core.

Iron In Your Fire features a character, worldly-wise and not about to fall into mantraps and repeat any mistakes from the past. “I got you pegged, you can leave those pick up lines unsaid………. You’re the sweetest mistake I ain’t gonna make tonight”. It is a country radio song that should be played often. Brigid can hold her own with any singer I can think of and obviously has first dibs on the record but this is also begging for a cover from Nashville’s finest. I love the sassy line: “I got the fuel to make your flame burn brighter”. Yeah!

Rumour is a great song about bitchiness and lies and how to deal with them. It chugs along brightly but don’t let that fool you. This is about fighting back when rumours get out of hand – “Starts out with a tiny lie, then gets a life of its own” – and doing your utmost to quash the mischief. This is a fine example of taking a serious subject but not allowing sombre notions to get in the way of a brilliant track.

Breathe Slow is an interlude in the slow-down-you-move-too-fast mood. It kinda hits the pause button but works beautifully as a gentle, calm meditation. “Breathe slow, letting go of all the things you know”.

Running Back To You is a love song that will resonate with many a listener. Love, damn it, is a complicated thing and it takes a lot of curves, u-turns and cul-de-sacs to sort it out sometimes. We fall in love, we fall out of love and fall back in love with the same person. “Strange how a moment of distance means I’ll be damned to surrender to your charms”.

Misunderstanding is an amazing piece of work, an analysis of how a relationship can disintegrate and what can be done to make the best of things. “So we both continue on to live independently, each one down a friend and up one enemy”.

They All Said finds positive thoughts when witnessing the world’s natural and celestial beauty. It is one thing to drown ourselves in all the bad news and personal problems we encounter every day. It is quite another to reflect that, whatever else is going on, the good will always outweigh the bad. Sometimes we just have to marvel at a shooting star. It can be that simple.

Touchstone is a reminder of the importance of having an anchor in life, and that can be a relationship or the comfort and safety of home. Whatever it is individually, at times we all need to “reach out for a steady hand”. It is a fine way to end this great collection of songs.


This is a magnificent album of moods, emotional twists and turns expressed in confident lyrics delivered by an absolutely captivating voice. Brigid O’Neill, as I intimated earlier, can hold her own with any singer/songwriter I can think of, and I go back a long way! The excellent supporting cast of musicians and singers is super-impressive, and the whole feel of the production just oozes class. This album deserves to be heard and enjoyed widely.

And now, I'm off to pretend I'm a milkman for the rest of the day. Whistling Joe!!

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