The David DiDonatello Awards:
Italian Academy Award Nominee Michael Brunnock, received by President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano at Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome, Italy:
Review: Michael Brunnock –The Orchard
The sparse entry into Michael Brunnock’s “The Orchard” is like easing one’s self into bed after a long day’s work. Within moments, we find ourselves slipping comfortably under the duvet that is found in Brunnock’s creation, encapsulated by the slow build-up of rich, warm harmonies, uplifting melodies, and beautiful folk instrumentation. Dedicated to his Grandfather, this album is a tribute to family and home, which is blatant from the word go for this Irish musician’s latest thirteen track release.
The opening track, Circle, sets the scene for the entire album. Luscious harmonies lift the melody out of the average to make it something really special. The chance of mediocrity was a risk I think Brunnock had to take with an album such as this, in a world where every “Average Joe” who owns a guitar will have a stab at writing a few songs. However, with a masterful skill, Brunnock takes the idea of a singer/songwriter to another level, calling on voices such as Ari Hest, Glen Hansard and Moe Holmes, to name but a few, to elevate the right aspects of tracks, and take his ideas to the next level.
Man Overboard, is a definite single. You’d want to be a strong person to not be drawn in by the massively catchy melody and sentiment behind the song . Brunnock builds the song beautifully to the climax, where everything comes together, and we can do nothing but listen, and soak up the music, lyrics and passion behind the song.
The Orchard, although less overtly catchy than Man Overboard, the easy, rhythmic sway of this one is irresistible. The gentle lope of this track, combined with the atmospheric vibes at work, creates an ambience not to be beaten, lulling us into a beautiful little musical coma. Guest vocalist Glen Hansard adds to the beautiful track with his subtly unique tone, which does well not to overpower the balance at work, between melody, harmony and ambience, but only adds to the track with a light, more than palatable harmonic addition.
An aspect I adored throughout this album, and one which highlighted tracks such as Wine, Sensation and Down by the Araglan, was Brunnock’s use of traditional instrumentation, and the man doesn’t restrict himself to the Irish tradition. Throughout, we also hear hints of American country and Australian folk with the introduction of the didgeridoo in the wonderful, short track Wine, combined throughout the album with banjos, mandolins, and harmonium, to name just a few of the instruments included in the line-up for this release. Sensation, the penultimate track, begins the wind-down of this album with a very relaxed vibe, which charms and delights with its juxtaposition of Brunnock’s clear Irish tone with Ari Hest’s jazzy American twang. Polished off with an all-female chorus, Brunnock’s voice sings us out with “carry me home, carry me home across the ocean”, a valuable sentiment maintained throughout this album.
The final track, Down by the Araglan, is probably my favourite. You could easily compare this to visiting home and sitting down in front of a plate of your mother’s home cooking, or the feeling of getting in after a trying day to pop on your favourite album and do nothing but listen. The strong traditional influences here are key, bringing to mind families, homes, childhoods, and all those aspects of lives I associate with traditional Irish song. Brunnock brings this album home by returning to his Irish roots, with this understated folk tune. Simple, sweet and easy, this track is the perfect end to “The Orchard”.
For those wishing to enjoy an easy album, rich with harmony and sentiment, this is an album for you. There’s no shortage of Irish character and charm to be found here, and combined with Brunnock’s creative spark and ability to seamlessly mix traditions worldwide with our own, an album such as this has come to fruition, and it is an album that shall see me through many a dank Irish day to come.
Review: Michael Brunnock’s “The Orchard” by Katrina C.M. from Texas
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011Review: Michael Brunnock’s “The Orchard”
Enchanting and serene, Michael Brunnock’s “The Orchard” is a rich harvest of lush lyrics and moving melodies. Mixed by Grammy-award-winning Patrick Dillett and showcasing an array of guest musicians including Ari Hest, Glen Hansard, Julia Stone, and Joe Sumner, Brunnock’s third charms from first swell to last ebb.Soft, White, and Indigo is a track true to its name – a delicate, toe-tapping number of lost-love and nostalgia. Brunnock’s velveteen vocals whisper in the ear with the softness of down and the very soul of the Emerald Isle. The imagery-rich Man Overboard tells of an emigrant’s quest for gold, only to find the greatest wealth was what he left behind.
The dreamy, whimsical tones of Song of the Lark weave a tapestry of simple and complex, rounded off by harmonies honeyed enough to lull the bees. The inspiring, upbeat message of Change conveys a vision dreamers everywhere share.
But perhaps the best was saved for last with the magnificent Down by the Araglin, a tribute to Brunnock’s balladeer grandfather. Lyrics so seamless and a melody so pure, one would swear it a traditional Irish song.
“The Orchard” is set to release in February 2012. With such marvelous musicianship, expert composition, and a conclusion so resonant, how can one not hit “repeat”?
Copyright: December 2011
POSTED BY KATRINA C.M. AT 8:30 PM
LABELS: CELTIC, MUSIC, REVIEW
The Orchard ~ by Michael Brunnock
January 18, 2012By JaneW
The Orchard is the, soon to be released, second album by Michael Brunnock. It is an amazing piece of work.
This album is absolutely a refuge from the madness that seems to rule these days. It’s like comfort food for the spirit. Michael Brunnock uses poetic lyrics along with beautiful melodies and harmonies to build his songs. Each one has something to say and you’ll find yourselffeeling as well as listening to them.
There are very few albums from which you’ll love every single song but this is one of them. It starts off strong withCircle and Soft White and Indigo and never looks back. The catchy tune, Every Step, was already released as a single and is available through cdbaby (see link below). It would be hard to chose a favorite here. I was already a fan of Man Overboard and I really like Game Changer but Down by the Araglin edges out the rest for me. It reminds me of the kind of songs I used to listen to with my grandfather as a child. It makes you feel connected with our heritage and to the people who had a much bigger hand than they knew, in making us who we are. This album truly is an orchard full of wonderful songs you will want to harvest and plant on your favorites playlist. The more you listen to it, the more you love it.
Soft White and Indigo
Song of the Lark
Down by the Araglin