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Graham Sweeney releases new single

Staying In

NEW TUNES Graham Sweeney says his music has been shaped by the history and dramatic landscape of Achill Island. Pic: Joe McNulty

Achill singer-songwriter Graham Sweeney has just released a new single, ‘The Quiet Man’ – the lead track from his much-anticipated debut album, ‘I Am’, which is set for release later this year.  
Sweeney’s distinctive sound arises from a blend of traditional guitar playing, percussive finger-tapping and rhythmic vocal melodies. The roots of his unique alt-folk style go back to his childhood, when he discovered greats like Pink Floyd, John Martyn, Jethro Tull, Planxty and Supertramp in his father’s vinyl collection.
The history and dramatic landscape of Achill Island has also had a strong impact on his work.
“Achill has definitely shaped all of the tracks on the album,” says Sweeney. “The landscape and surroundings have had a huge part to play in my music and lyrics. There are many great songs about the streets of famous cities and towns – for me, it’s more about space. The ocean, the mountains, wind, sun and rain shaped these songs.”
Sweeney’s other passions are surfing and vintage Volkswagens, which he has been restoring since the age of 12. “I was unaware when I trained in the motor trade that I was being welcomed into a global family of VW enthusiasts, which in turn led me to travel, surf and perform with musicians while travelling through Ireland, Europe and North and South America,” Sweeney explains.
The musician has toured and performed extensively, appearing at a host of festivals, including Electric Picnic, Another Love Story, Vantastival and many more. He has also supported some of Ireland’s great artists, including Lisa Hannigan, Damien Dempsey, John Sheehan, Declan O’Rourke and Mick Flannery. O’Rourke is a huge fan of Graham’s work, describing him as ‘a very talented, original young songwriter with all the trademarks of a great career ahead’.
Sweeney’s debut album ‘I Am’ was recorded in San Francisco, Berlin and Ireland; produced by John Michael Berry and engineered by Lance Hogan (Kila, Dead Can Dance). The core band playing on the album includes Rhys McBride (lead guitar), Áine Sweeney (bass, backing vocals), Mark Mc Girr (drums).
His single, ‘The Quiet Man’ – described as ‘a strident blast of folk’ – was given it’s Irish radio premiere by Fiachna Ó Braonain on RTÉ Radio One. It has since been playlisted by PLAYIRISH and been picked up by national and local radio stations.
Sweeney has also been chosen to perform at the annual Culture Ireland Emerging Talent Showcase at Tradfest 2020 in Dublin’s Temple Bar, which takes place this Friday, January 24.  Upcoming Mayo performances include The Valley House, Achill, on April 12, and the Bridge of Song monthly music night at Castlebar’s Bridge St Bar on April 15.