Tara O'Grady | Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

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Jazz: Retro Swing Blues: Blues Vocals Moods: Mood: Fun
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Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

by Tara O'Grady

A unique and especially fun album of original songs that take you back to another era, of smokey night clubs and Hollywood musicals. Tara creates a retro sound of a swing and roots nature, with a hint of celtic inspiration and a pop song for good measure.
Genre: Jazz: Retro Swing
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Shadow Blues
3:30 $0.99
2. Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
2:52 $0.99
3. Trouble In Mind
5:03 $0.99
4. Myth of Genius
3:27 $0.99
5. Steady Teddy
3:05 $0.99
6. I Want To Go To There
3:12 $0.99
7. November Moon
4:48 $0.99
8. Waiting For You
4:47 $0.99
9. Let Me Be Your Audrey
1:52 $0.99
10. Your Eyes and Me
4:24 $0.99
11. Think of Me
3:05 $0.99
12. Goodnight Nora
4:11 $0.99
13. Love On the Underground
3:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Visualize a Celt in the Cotton Club.”
Chris B. Donohue, Nashville Bassist/Composer/Producer www.cbdonohue.com

Elizabeth Taylor’s features, Billie Holiday’s voice, Audrey Hepburn’s fashion sense, and a combination of Cole Porter’s writing style with a touch of Nellie McKay’s quirky lyrics. Tara O’Grady is the full package.

Nominated as one of Irish Voice’s Most Influential Women of 2010, her debut album, Black Irish, released in August of 2010, is a collection of Irish songs she grew up listening to as a child. But don’t expect any jigs on the CD. She’s swinging it, baby!

Black Irish caught the attention of Nashville’s elite, and within a few months of its release, Tara was writing original songs and recording in Music City, Tennessee with the finest musicians in the industry. Her second album, Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, was released in April of 2011.

Her voice, at times rich and deep, at others lilting and wispy, has been compared to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and even Patsy Cline, depending on the genre of the music. Her look is reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Tara O’Grady was raised on Irish traditional music, as well as the sounds of Hank Williams, Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Her unique style and repertory combine celtic, folk, blues, and especially jazz.

Born and raised in New York City, Tara spent every summer on her grandparents’ farm in Donegal, Ireland where she listened to her granny Nora singing in her kitchen. Her granny also loved to dance, but Tara had the rhythm of the sounds of the city streets in her soul, so the Irish step dancing didn’t entice her. She instead found her way into the swing dancing scene and realized she’d rather be up on stage singing the songs that the dancers were swinging to. Under the advice of her eye doctor, who wore “really cool retro eye glasses,” she began to attend a weekly jam session with Wall Street bankers who sought jazz on Sundays as their passion on the side. In this alternative house of worship at the Off Wall Street Jam each Sunday for one solid year, Tara learned jazz standards and began to develop her style as an artist. She eventually formed an Andrew Sisters tribute band with some of those Sunday musicians and called it The Boogie Brawds. The “Brawds” were regular headliners at the Irish Arts Center’s Sundays at Seven in Manhattan. Later she formed her trio, The Tara O’Grady Trio, which sometimes became a quartet or quintet depending on the guest musicians. With the release of Black Irish, she now calls her band “The Black Velvet Band,” after one of the tracks. She has performed at Lincoln Center, The Astor Room, The Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, The Cupping Room, and Battery Gardens. Her band regularly performs at the Bowery Wine Company in Manhattan as well as private parties, weddings and corporate events across the Tri-State area. She has performed with various artists while touring in Ireland, Spain and Argentina.


How did you begin to make a record in Nashville only two months after the release of your debut Black Irish?

Viagra! My old email account was sending out spam to everyone from my inbox in September 2010. Friends were emailing asking me to stop the spam. I sent out an apology email to everyone writing that I wasn’t in the business of selling pills, only CDs, since my Black Irish CD was released in summer of 2010. One of the recipients of that email was Alan Bennett, a musician I had performed with years ago on stage at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan. He filled in for my guitarist that night. And I never saw him again because he moved to Nashville and became a producer. He listened to my CD and thought it was special. So one day last fall he met me for lunch while he was in town. We had a great chat and he asked me where I envisioned myself in my musical future. I told him I’ve always wanted to collaborate with people. I knew I could write lyrics easily because I asked my friend Justin Poindexter for a melody and I put some lyrics to it in twenty minutes. That became the first song on the new album. It’s called Shadow Blues. So with this new found confidence, I bragged to Alan that I could write lyrics in twenty minutes. He then suggested I send him some “song starts” and perhaps we could work with his friend Pat Bergeson. I went back to my desk and wrote a song in twenty minutes, but with my own melody. That song was Your Eyes and Me. I recorded it on my computer and emailed it to Alan. He thought that was a great start. Inspired by his encouragement, I continued to write 10 songs over a period of a few weeks and sent them all down to Nashville. That’s when Alan suggested I fly down to meet Pat and work on some of my songs and perhaps write a few together. It all happened so fast.

What was Nashville like?

I had never been to Music City. My only ideas of Nashville were of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams performing at the Grand Ole Opry. I was blown away by the musicianship of practically everyone in that city. I think they were all born with a guitar in their hand. Music is dripping off every street lamp in that town. I was also very impressed by the friendliness of everyone. It felt like driving down the road in Ireland where strangers wave hello in a small town. Coming from New York, it was so nice to have people look me in the eye and smile and say hello or compliment my coat or my hair. That just doesn’t happen in NYC unless someone is trying to sell you something.

My first night in Nashville, the producers took me to a private party. It seemed to be in a deserted area only because I didn’t see people on the street, which is rare in New York. We parked in a dark lot and entered what appeared to be the back door of an empty warehouse. But once that door opened, I entered music heaven. Dozens and dozens of musicians filled the place. Every nook and cranny had a live session going on, just a casual jam session. Bluegrass in one corner, Django-inspired swing in another. And a Japanese guy was making sushi in the open kitchen. Everyone brought their instruments and songs suddenly flooded every inch of space. At one point, I realized Bela Fleck was playing his banjo under a low hanging light. It was one heck of an introduction to music city.

Tell us more about who you worked with on this album.

Alan Bennett is an amazing musician/songwriter/producer/publisher originally from New York. He has a company called Real Actual, because he believes in the organic aisle of music rather than the processed aisle with expiration dates. www.realactual.com His friend Pat Bergeson is an extraordinary guitar and harmonica player from Illinois who was brought to Nashville by Chet Atkins. www.patbergeson.com He has been in the studio with Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Bill Frisell, Martin Taylor, Suzy Bogguss, Bill Evans, Peter Frampton, Michael McDonald and many others. He has toured with Shelby Lynne, Wynonna Judd, Suzy Bogguss and then four years with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. Pat has been a teacher and producer and has appeared on many movie soundtracks. Pat and Alan have been wanting to collaborate and produce together and suddenly I came along. The three of us worked well together. We had a lot of fun.

I went down in November to flesh out some of the songs, and Alan also brought in Dan Cohen to see what would happen. www.dancohenmusic.com Dan, Alan and I wrote two songs one afternoon and that was exactly what I had envisioned when I told Alan I wanted collaboration. Sitting down with a guitar and a pencil and saying, ok, let’s write a song. We came out of that afternoon with November Moon and I Want to Go to There, two completely different songs. The first being about my mother and how she left Ireland, and the second inspired by a line Tina Fey says in the NBC show 30 Rock. I thoroughly loved the process of creating both songs. For November Moon, I had a bit of a melody and lyric that I often sang in the shower but didn’t know what I wanted to do with. So I started singing it for the guys, they began playing and I threw in some lines from a poem I had written over ten years ago because this one night in November I was standing outside my grandparents’ cottage in Ireland looking at the full moon over the ocean. My mother asked if it was the same moon we see in New York. At the time I thought her question was ridiculous, but I realized years later, that she was right to question the Irish moon. It looks different than the one we see in New York, which is hidden by smog and the bright lights of Times Square. So, suddenly, this song was created. We then took a short break, and Alan left the recorder on, which I was unaware of. Dan began strumming playfully on his guitar and I started to scat along with him and at the end of our silliness, I sang the words, I want to go to there, because we had been speaking of Tina Fey just before that. Dan said, that’s the name of our song. I said, what song? And he replied, the one we just wrote. I didn’t realize we were writing!

The musicians Pat brought in for the recording were so ridiculously good that they pretty much did everything in one take, with no rehearsal, and we had so much fun. They’ve worked with the likes of Taylor Swift, Emmylou Harris, The Chieftains, Elvis Costello, the Neville Brothers, I could go on and on. Jeff Taylor played piano (gorgeous), and accordian, and I asked him to even add a little tin whistle for the songs inspired by Ireland. Andy Leftwich was brought in because my dad is an Irish fiddle player and when he first heard Shadow Blues, he started playing his fiddle along with the jazz guitar and he told me flat out, you need a fiddle on this record. So Andy blew my dad away when he heard him play fiddle and mandolin on the recordings. Chris B. Donohue is the man behind the bass. Great musician. He coincidentally was in the high school jazz band with my brother Tom who also contributed a song to this album. Tom not only does all my graphic design and music videos, but being a student of music, he wanted to get in on the action so he emailed me a few melodies he wrote and one in particular gave me an emotional response so I wrote the lyrics and we ended up with the song Waiting For You. I’m very proud to have my brother collaborating with me on this album. It means a lot. Finally, Derek Phillips killed on drums and percussion. He gave me the biggest compliment of the session. When we started recording the first song, Shadow Blues, after the take, he asked Brendan Harkin, the engineer with Donegal roots from Ramelton, could he please turn up the levels in his earphones so he could hear the singer. Apparently, drummers never want to hear the vocal. So I took that as a huge compliment. He’s also a good dancer, but he won’t let me share those videos on You Tube.

Speaking of song titles, how did the other song ideas come about?

Well, the title track, Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, was written in bed one evening as I was brainstorming a way to come up with funds for the production. Alan suggested I get a corporate sponsor, and after my Black Irish release, many Irish organizations were interested in me. Someone had suggested Guinness and I got this crazy idea that perhaps I could market myself to Guinness and become their “Guinness Girl” the way Budweiser has a “Bud Girl of the Game” at baseball games. I also figured since there is nothing more Irish than Guinness, and it is the epitome of something that is “black Irish,” it only made sense that since I was the Black Irish girl…you get the picture. So I researched all these tag lines Guinness used in their advertising, and that old standard, Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, caught my attention. I had a melody in my head for a good few months and this one night sitting up in bed I plugged in the tag line and the rest of the lyrics just poured out of me like a proper pint. In the end, I never got any corporate sponsors, and I decided to get my album funded through friends, family and generous strangers on www.kickstarter.com, but the song title stuck and it became the title of the album only because it seemed to weave together the other song ideas nicely. They are all pretty much about me being a single gal and also being quite optimistic. Even the one cover on the album is an optimistic blues song. Pat asked if I wanted to cover any standards. There are so many that I sing when I perform live, but this one song, Trouble in Mind, I found on a Nina Simone CD I have. It really connected to me emotionally when I heard it the first time. She calls it Nina’s Blues. She performs it live and I basically copied her arrangement, even how she speaks to her band. It seems to be an anthem at this time with the economy and the natural disasters and war. Even though we have all these troubles, she sings, the sun’s gonna shine in my back door someday, so again, there is hope. And that’s what my whole album is about. Hope.

But there are some songs that don’t exactly fit in the category of a jazz/blues CD.

Yes, but why should everything fit neatly into one little box? As I sing in Myth of Genius, it’s ok to color outside the lines, that’s where the best pictures are baby! I wrote that song, which is indeed a blues song, because when I began this process, I realized, I can do anything I set my mind to. I was uninhibited when I wrote these songs. I wasn’t thinking, oh, I have to write a jazz album or a blues album. I just wrote any time a song popped into my head. And whatever came out, came out. So the bonus track just happens to be a pop song and Pat loved it enough to add it on this album. I wrote it on the subway. I’m amazed at how people go to bars and try to chat up strangers but they won’t talk to someone on a subway car who has been flirting with them for half an hour with their eyes. That song was inspired by people who post messages on sites like subwaylove.org or missedconnections.com, who never spoke to the person they were admiring but hoped the universe would lead them to a computer later that day and wonder if anyone caught their attention. What are the chances? But see, they all have hope!

Then the song Goodnight Nora, which I call a lullaby waltz, was inspired by the color of a turtleneck sweater I saw on a clothing web site. I was Christmas shopping online and saw this midnight blue sweater in the color of “Goodnight Nora.” Weird name for a color, but great name for a song! It caught my eye because as you know from my Black Irish CD, Nora was my grandmother’s name. So I quit shopping and wrote a song about the night my grandparents met at a crossroads dance in Donegal and about their wedding day. When we were arranging the music in Nashville, I decided Alan should sing the male part. And he did a lovely job. That song makes everyone in my family cry.

Are you a fan of Audrey Hepburn?

HUGE. I have images of her all over my apartment and at my desk at work. I became obsessed with her when my film professor in college invited me to her tribute by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. I actually got to walk the red carpet with Gregory Peck and Sean Connery who were in her films. In one night, I not only saw her live in person, I saw clips of all of her films during the tribute. I then rented or bought all of them over time and I always watch one on the morning of my birthday every year. I find that when you begin your day with Audrey, you walk taller, with a skip in your step, and you tend to be more polite to people and have more patience. Plus her fashion sense just inspires me. Seven of her films are mentioned or elluded to in Let Me Be Your Audrey.



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