Brendan Nolan | Across The Great Divide

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World: Celtic Folk: Celtic Folk Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Across The Great Divide

by Brendan Nolan

A CD covering the Irish Emigration theme through traditional, contemporary and original material. This album has garnered great reviews, especially for Nolan's orginal songs.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Beresford
4:45 album only
2. The Curse of the Immigrant
5:22 album only
3. No Irish Need Apply
2:01 album only
4. North of the Rio Grande
3:45 album only
5. Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore
5:25 album only
6. Dublin Bay
3:17 album only
7. Far from Their Home
8:29 album only
8. The Devil and the Bailiff
2:28 album only
9. The Widow's Walk
2:59 album only
10. All I Remember
2:29 album only
11. Flight of the Earls
5:36 album only
12. Welcome Paddy Home
3:52 album only


Album Notes
"Excellent!! It shouldn't amaze me that those who do their traditional homework always create the best songs, that tell stories and have music that matches the song." - The late Tor Jonassen, WRDV - FM Radio, Delaware Valley.

"Brendan Nolan, an Irish emigrant, can't be chastised for singing only well-known songs. Nolan's original songs are a highlight of this album for me.... A sweet and powerful voice." - Steve Winick, Dirty Linen Magazine, Baltimore, Maryland.

"Across The Great Divide" opens with Nolan's song 'Beresford', a driving track that tells the story of a young man who fell in love and was forced to leave Ireland because of his father's opposition to the girl he chose. He eventually sails to Newfoundland with his beloved and starts his own family name there.
On the more contemporary side there is 'The Flight of the Earls'. This song was written by Liam Reilly about the extensive emigration from Ireland in the 1980's. It takes it's name from a time when there was a different flight from Ireland, that of the great chieftains in the aftermath of the battle of Kinsale in 1601. In using this historical analogy Reilly conveys the same feelings of loss felt by many emigrants who feel they have no choice but to leave their native country. Nolan's song 'The Curse of the Immigrant' has similiar feelings of loss where the immigrant to the new country wonders if he or she has made the right decision.
Other songs on the CD touch on the theme of emigration to a greater or lesser extent. "The Devil and the Bailiff" tells a somewhat comical story of the bailiff, one of the most hated figures in Ireland during the famine times, meeting the devil on the road. He attempts to get the devil to do harm to some local folks but the devil has other ideas for the bailiff. Mick Hanly's song 'All I Remember' is a very wry look back at school days in Ireland and being brought up through the religious system. "Dublin Bay" is a wonderful song by Stephen Fearing from Vancouver who spent his formative years on the north-side on Dublin in and around Clontarf.
Probably the best known track is 'Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore.' Nolan said "Although it has been recorded a number of times I love the song and felt I could not leave it out of an album like this one"
Probably the most poignant track on the CD is Nolan's 'Far From Their Home'. It tells the story of Grosse Isle, an island in the St. Lawrence river and one family's tragic voyage from their homeland during the famine years. Grosse Isle became a burial ground for hundreds of Irish immigrants who died of ship fever on their passage over. In many ways Grosse Isle is Canada's Ellis Island and it is now open to the public. Many of the original buildings still stand and there is now a famine museum. The first thing you will notice on approaching the island is the big Celtic cross on Telegraph Hill. It was erected in August 1910 in honor of all those who lost their lives. The song 'Far From Their Home' has been printed in Sing Out! magazine.

"Whether it's a traditional Irish song, a fictional personage, or a real character that Brendan Nolan embellishes with his colorful imagination, the songs on this CD will hold your interest to the last chord." - William Ramoutar, Irish Ways Programme, WFCF Radio, Florida

For more bio information on Brendan Nolan you can check out the notes for his album "Tempus Fugitive" or go to his web-site at



to write a review

Ruth Gardner

I learned about the CD in a roundabout way. A friend recited one of the songs at a party and I seem to collect sad poems so I asked him about it. Eventually I had the money to spend and did so.
Great album! The first track catches when I play it on my computer for reasons unknown to me (no problem whatsoever in the car). My Mom likes some music I listen to, tolerates some of it, and is slowly learning to enjoy the rest of it. I rated Across the Great Divide as a tolerate/learn to like for her, but we were listening to the CD in the car yesterday and she asked if we could repeat The Widow's Walk. And she listened to the end of the song/story on Far From Their Home and Flight of the Earls.
A success altogether, and well worth $17.20.


Me Irish Blood Stirs With Each Ancestral Tune
This CD is such a great compilation of Irish folk tunes that tell historical and factual tales of the Irish as the Irish experienced it. The music combined with the lonesome like but truly wonderful Irish voice of the artist add depth to the tracks. I bought the CD for "No Irish Need Apply," which is my very favorite, but I really am enjoying the other songs as well, Irish history being a passion of mine. I truly appreciate this musical tribute to Irish and their legacy.