Dublin finger-style guitarist and singer ROBERT DOYLE releases his second album Lig Amach on April 22nd followed by an album launch concert on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone. Admission to the concert will be free – as Robert explains as “a special thank you to my fans and supporters for their enthusiasm and support along the way”.
LIG AMACH (Let Out) is the follow up to his well received 2011 debut album Life in Shadows. Mostly recorded in Dublin over the last year the album showcases his distinctive approach to writing & arranging for the guitar. A collection of instrumentals, interpretations and self penned originals, Lig Amach vividly displays Robert’s dynamic playing & singing – stretching from the roots of American folk singing and blues, Irish traditional through to classical & flamenco guitar techniques.
While the album features a number of thrilling collaborations, Robert sets down a challenge for himself when he performs live as he will perform entirely solo at the album launch on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone “It really tests your abilities and you learn a great deal about the music when performing in front of an audience. I choose to play solo so that there’s nowhere to hide on stage. You learn a lot about yourself as a musician when it’s just you in the spotlight”.
Creativity runs in the Doyle family – the album cover photo was taken by Robert’s brother Eamonn Doyle who is an internationally recognized photographer. Previously the brothers worked together – Robert as a studio engineer – on Irish label D1 Recordings run by Eamonn, who also founded the DEAF electronic festival.
Robert began playing guitar aged 8 and is a past student of renowned French-Algerian master musician Pierre Bensusan – “Pierre is one of the top finger-style guitarists in the world but more so he’s also a fantastic musician. By studying with him, I wanted to gain an insight into how he was able to master the instrument and develop his own individual style. After studying with Pierre, my focus changed from being a guitar player to becoming a better musician and to continue developing my own style”. In previous years Robert has performed at Celtic Connections and the Moniaive Folk Festival.
Like the last album, 8 of the 10 tracks were mixed by Marc Carolan who works with Muse. Ross Dowling, who produced the last James Vincent McMorrow album also did a mix – as well as Graham Watson from Floodplain Studios in Dublin. Recording the album was a longer process than initially planned as Robert explains “I recorded the guitar and vocals in my home studio with additional instruments recorded in Dublin, London and Italy. Originally I had planned to record this album, like the first, in a studio with an engineer but I later made the decision to record it myself to have more flexibility. The first sessions for the album took place 3 years ago and didn’t go well so I had to go back to the drawing board. I was only working on the album at weekends so the process was quite drawn out. The guitar parts are all live recordings, something I’ve always tried to do.”
Lig Amach is a departure for Robert in many ways from the first album with a keen focus this time on writing and performing in English. “The songs on the previous EP and album were based around songs sung in Irish but for this release I wanted to explore singing in English more.” ACROSS THE LINE was written in 2014 at the time Islamic State attacked and laid siege to Kobani in northern Syria, causing a massive number of people to flee across the border into Turkey. FLAGS OF BELFAST, which has a traditional air, was written around the time of the Belfast City Hall flag protests while ROUND TWO is a song about a woman who won’t wait too long for a man to make up his mind!
Robert interprets and re-imagines a number of covers on Lig Amach including the opening track AN SEANDUINE, a song he learnt from singing in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann with this version taking inspiration from recordings by Seamus Begley and Danú. COUNTRY BLUES is a song Robert learnt from Dock Boggs, an old-time banjo player from Virginia, first recorded in 1929.
Another progression on Lig Amach is Robert’s collaboration with a wide number of renowned musicians “After recording the demos I wanted to add some other instrumentation to the songs. The first collaboration was with Chris Haigh, a fiddle player I first heard on an Oumou Sangaré album.” Francessco Ganassin (saxophone) and Magnus Mehta (percussion) also feature along with Aoife Dermody & uilleann piper Eoin Dillon on a collaboration, Flags of Belfast, which came out of a recording session in Floodplain Studios.
Lig Amach will be available from all digital outlets from April 22nd, from Claddagh Records and Robert Doyle Music.
The album launch for Lig Amach will be taking place on April 28th in the Cobblestone Backroom, from 8.30pm with free admission.
You can follow Robert on Facebook to keep up to date with his latest news.