Tara O'Grady | Folk Songs: Songs About Real Folks

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Folk Songs: Songs About Real Folks

by Tara O'Grady

A collection of original songs in a variety of styles, including folk, gospel, rockabilly, swamp pop and swing introducing listeners to real folks O'Grady has written about, both famous and regular.
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Evening Temptations
3:50 $0.99
2. Just Like Liberace
3:38 $0.99
3. Letters from Larry
4:11 $0.99
4. Michelle Obama Arms
3:17 $0.99
5. Konnichiwa Chiquaqua
2:56 $0.99
6. I Could Use a Hero These Days
4:05 $0.99
7. Vidar the Viking
4:58 $0.99
8. Oh Mo Chroi
4:25 $0.99
9. Vinny McElhinney with the Ravioli Eyes
2:57 $0.99
10. The Green Eyed Girl
5:05 $0.99
11. Jumpsuit of Jewels
4:20 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
As Louis Armstrong once stated, “All music is folk music, I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.”

Tara O'Grady Music has released the singer/songwriter’s 5th CD – FOLK SONGS: SONGS ABOUT REAL FOLKS. The new music is a collection of original songs in a variety of styles, including folk, gospel, rockabilly, swamp pop and swing. She takes listeners to Denmark, Ireland, New Orleans, New York and Memphis introducing them to real folks she has written about. Famous and regular folks. Living and deceased folks. Uplifting and heartbreaking folks. Ordinary and extraordinary folks. Politicians, musicians, rhetoricians, people in transitions, and folks on a mission. Everybody’s got a story to tell. (Find out who these folks are below...)

"This torchy chanteuse leads one of the most badass old-time swing bands you'll ever hear. One thing that distinguishes her from the legions of come-hither, moldy fig front women is that O'Grady writes her own songs."
- New York Music Daily

The songwriter is accompanied by stellar folks who have worked with everyone from Frank Sinatra, to Woody Allen, to Lady Gaga. Musicians featured on the cd include: Pete Kennedy (guitar), Sasha Papernik (piano & backing vocals), Vinny Raniolo (guitar & banjo), Steve Kortyka (tenor saxophone & flute), Matt Mancuso (fiddle), David Shaich (bass) and Kevin Dorn (drums).

Tara O'Grady’s soulful voice has been compared to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline. This New York native with Irish roots combines celtic, folk, funk, blues, swing and especially jazz in her unique style. Awarded Irish Voice’s Most Influential Woman 2010, the singer-songwriter has five releases, Black Irish (2010), Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (2011), A Celt in the Cotton Club (2013), Irish Bayou (2015) and Folk Songs: Songs About Real Folks (2017). Her recording of the famous song Danny Boy was ranked #6 in Best Selling Blues MP3s and #10 in Best Selling Jazz MP3s on the UK’s Amazon.com. That song was also featured in an award winning BBC documentary film celebrating the song's 100th anniversary. The film was nominated for best documentary at Ireland's version of the Oscars in 2014, and starred Tara, Judy Collins, Joe Jackson, Gabriel Bryne, Rosanne Cash, and Paddy Maloney of The Chieftains. Her original songs and unique renditions of Irish standards can be heard on radio stations across America and Europe. She is currently editing an inspirational memoir about her Chevrolet sponsored cross-country road trip she took to replicate her Irish-born grandmother’s 1957 journey from the South Bronx to Seattle in a Chevy Bel Air. For additional biography and photos visit www.taraogradymusic.com.

The Folks behind each song title:

The song was inspired by the title of a menu Tara was reading in Svendborg, Denmark where she dined with the woman Tom Waits had written about in his song “Tom Traubert’s Blues – Waltzing Matilda.” Mathilde Bondo is a popular Danish folk musician who plays fiddle with her husband, guitarist Lasse Helner. The duo perfomed with Tara’s band last summer in Denmark and became fast friends when the fiddler revealed she is the Matilda in Tom Waits’ song, so Tara wrote a new song for this ‘legendary lover’ on the plane ride home. Now it can be said two folks were inspired to write songs about the same woman.
(Pete Kennedy – guitar, Matt Mancuso – fiddle, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums)

While attending a St Patrick’s Day block party in New Orleans. Tara met with a fan who had heard her on WWOZ. Ron O’Connor gave her a tour of the Irish Channel and then they met his sister Maureen for lunch. Over shrimp po’boys and Barq’s root beers, Maureen described how her baby brother Ron was born. In 1952, at the age of 13, Maureen attended a Liberace concert where she was dazzled by the performer’s style and rhinestones. He not only winked at her, but invited her back stage for an autograph. Upon returning home, the teenager begged her mama to have another baby, and she wanted him to be ‘just like Liberace.’ Her mama said, honey child, the shop is closed. There ain’t no more babies coming into this family as you already have brothers in their twenties! Maureen ignored her mother and began to pray. Every. Single. Night. One year later, on Liberace’s actual birthday, May 16th, her baby brother Ron was born. Tara felt obligated to write a gospel song about this extraordinary story.
(Sasha Papernik – piano & backing vocals, Pete Kennedy – guitar, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums)

Tara discovered Laurence Olivier’s love letters to Vivien Leigh after returning from Denmark where she learned the pair continued their passionate affair in 1937. The British actors were hired to perform in Denmark’s first English version of Hamlet, which Shakespeare set at Elsinore Castle in that Scandinavian country 400 years ago. The actors were married to other people, but that didn’t stop them from falling in love. Olivier wrote lustful letters to Vivian from the moment they met back stage at one of his plays in 1936 where she kissed him on the back of his neck as an introduction. They eventually married in 1940 on the same day they divorced their spouses. Tara wove both Olivier’s letters and Shakespeare’s words into her own lyrics in this haunting song.
(Pete Kennedy – guitar, Sasha Papernik – piano, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums)

This empowering and positive song is a response to the current political climate in America. The former First Lady had an impressive exercise routine while in the White House and continues to inspire women with her chiseled arms. Tara has high hopes for the future for both women and the country as a whole.
(Pete Kennedy – guitar, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums, Sasha Papernik – backing vocals)

Tara is inspired by pioneers and strong women, and this song pays tribute to the Queen of Rockabilly – Wanda Jackson. Wanda had a number one hit in Japan in 1957 called ‘Fujiyama Mama’ and also toured as the only female on a lineup of men including Elvis Presley whom she briefly dated in 1955.
(Steve Kortyka – tenor saxophone, Pete Kennedy – guitar, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums)

This song was originally supposed to appear on Tara’s Nashville cd in 2011, but the producers said it was “too smart” for a country song. So she put it on the back burner until the current political climate with daily tweets from the POTUS inspired her to edit the lyrics. It encourages men to be upstanding, honest and courageous with a fun-loving, finger-snapping melody.
(Pete Kennedy – guitar, Matt Mancuso – fiddle, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums, Sasha Papernik – backing vocals)

Tara’s cousin Joanne lives in Dublin with her Norwegian boyfriend Vidar whom we all lovingly call ‘The Viking.’ When she asked Joanne in an email how she met the Viking, Joanne responded with the words that became this song. It’s a good old-fashioned proper Irish pub drinking song, banjos, fiddles and all.
(Vinny Raniolo – banjo, Matt Mancuso – fiddle, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums)

The title is Irish and means Oh My Heart, or Oh My Love (pronounced Oh Mah Cree). On May 23, 2015, the people of Ireland voted YES to marriage equality, the first country to do so in the world. In response to this extraordinary historical event, Tara wrote this song originally with a pop sound, but one night a fan in the audience asked her to swing it like jazz, and this version became a favorite, especially for weddings.
(Vinny Raniolo – guitar, Steve Kortyka - flute, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums)

Tara began working with the talented rhythm guitarist and banjo player Vinny Raniolo who regularly performs with Frank Vignola, Tommy Emmanuel, Bucky Pizzarelli, Vince Giordano and Dean Martin’s daughter, Deana Martin. He also appeared on screen and on the soundtracks of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Woody Allen's Café Society and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. Tara always gives her musicians nicknames on stage, and she decided to call this young guitarist Vinny ‘Ravioli’ Raniolo. He said that reminded him of his fourth grade class when a student called him ‘Vinny the Ginny with the Ravioli Eyes.’ Tara loved the name, but didn’t like the derogatory Italian addition. So she decided to make Vinny Irish-Italian and created a story about how his mama reigns from Roma but his dad’s from Galway Bay. She christened him with a new name from Donegal – McElhinney.
(Vinny Raniolo – guitar, Steve Kortyka – tenor saxophone, Matt Mancuso – fiddle, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums)

Tara wrote this song about her cousin, the well known musician Packie Manus Byrne from Ardara, County Donegal who was also a cattle driver, smuggler, steeplejack, circus hand, actor and folk singer. It reveals how he married a young protestant woman in England without his family’s knowledge. She then tragically died the same day he received a telegram from his mother informing him of his father’s sudden death. Packie made a choice between the two funerals and never told his family about the love of his life. Tara’s brother Tom O’Grady wrote the music on piano and she wrote the lyrics using words from conversations with Packie, and also from the memoir of her beloved Donegal cousin who died a few years ago.
(Sasha Papernik – piano & backing vocals, Steve Kortyka – flute, David Shaich – bass)

This song is about the day Elvis Presley died when Tara saw her mother crying as she knelt in front of the television. Irish immigrants like her mother were obsessed with the man who to them was the symbol of America with his sound of rock-n-roll in the dance halls in New York. The voice heard at the end of the song is the actual voice of Elvis’ back up singer Ed Hill who had to tell audiences the King had left the building, because otherwise all the screaming fans would never leave.
(Pete Kennedy – guitar, Steve Kortyka – tenor saxophone, David Shaich – bass, Kevin Dorn – drums, Sasha Papernik – backing vocals)



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