Oisin Leech

Date: Friday 18 October 2024

Opening times: 19:00 - 22:45

Venue: Bristol Folk House

Ticket Price: 19.00 inc admin fee


Website: https://www.oisinleech.com/

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Throughout his career, Leech has become known for his focused artistry and distinctive vocals, both of which shine through in his dexterous solo material. Time spent in Donegal, a place of great significance to the Meath-based artist, provided inspiration for Cold Sea.
Collaboration has always been integral to Leech’s creative practice. On Cold Sea, he joined forces with Brooklyn-based musician Steve Gunn. The pair initially met whilst Leech was recording in New York; they stayed in touch and when Leech had garnered a considerable amount of material, he invited Gunn to make a record in Donegal.
On a summer’s morning in July, Leech and Gunn convened in an old sea-facing schoolhouse in Donegal which they transformed into a studio over a period of days, and got to work on Cold Sea’s nine cathartic compositions. The essence of Donegal’s expansive landscapes, both sublime and stark, is captured in the record’s instrumentation. Melding a palette of synth textures and warm guitar tones, Cold Sea creates an inviting and enveloping atmosphere.
The vast sea waters surrounding Leech and Gunn in Donegal provided something of a foundation for the songs. Watching the reflection of the sun move along its surface was restorative and inspired Leech’s lyrical direction. Speaking about the album, Leech notes: “In some ways, I used the sea as a mirror upon which I could reflect my songs.”
The working relationship between Leech and Gunn was organic, as Leech explains. “I really enjoyed how Steve approached the production. He was aware that often the more sparse we kept the arrangements, the more it let the songs breathe. He kept the session flowing and unfussed, often we used the first or second take for the final mix.”

This album was made in four days and has an ethereal quality to it. Steve Gunn explores the importance of the serene and storied Donegal setting during the recording of Cold Sea:
“Reflecting landscapes in song is integral to so much musical tradition, and I always try to keep this in mind when working on my own music. Perhaps this comes from somewhere deep in my own history. When Oisin told me he wanted to make a record in Donegal because it was an important location for him, it felt serendipitous. I hadn’t told him I’ve always wanted to spend time in that part of Ireland because I also have a story there. This was the perfect way for me to finally arrive at a place I’ve always wanted to see - by way of song. Along the way I got to see where my great-grandmother was born and we got to visit the bar where my great-grandparents met.”
The recordings on Cold Sea showcase Leech’s willingness to stretch his artistic voice in new ways. The songwriting is both innovative and assured. Leech has created a new lyrical language within these songs - one that is totally his own.

A highlight of the album is ‘Colour Of The Rain' which maps Leech’s life as an artist to date. Tony Garnier plays a melodic bass line on this song that lifts the track to masterful heights. Featuring synths from Gunn "Colour of the Rain" has a transportive power, using a combination of closely mic'ed acoustic instruments and electronic textures to build a sonic landscape that feels intimate yet other-worldly. According to Leech and Gunn, this is in part a result of their interest in making an album that expressed the environment in which it was created.

Elsewhere, Gunn’s telecaster playing on ‘Maritime Radio’ is mesmeric. The instrumental pieces on the album add a cinematic feel to the record and they offer a bed for the other songs to live on.

Portland musician M Ward plays an ambient electric guitar on the album’s beautiful opener ‘October Sun' - a song which celebrates the power of music itself and warns of the perils of a ruthless humanity.

Irish traditional legend and musical pioneer Dónal Lunny plays bouzouki on ‘Trawbreaga Bay,’ ‘Daylight’ and ‘Malin Gales’ and adds a timeless melodic and percussive quality to the album’s sound. Róisín McGrory, a celebrated Donegal violin player, has added string arrangements that evoke the minimalist magic of Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left.
One gets the sense that these musicians were caught in the spell of wonderfully crafted songwriting and the joy of making great music. Cold Sea is an extraordinarily beautiful album and is Leech’s finest work to date.

In the months prior to recording, as songwriting was developing, pre-production for the songs took place in Dublin with Steve Shannon. Later, producer Brendan Jenkinson (John Francis Flynn, Aoife Nessa Francis) lent a hand by offering some choice recording equipment before the Donegal sessions began.
The album was mixed by Jimmy Robertson (Anna Calvi, Arctic Monkeys, Yorkston/Thorne/Khan) at Hoxa HQ, London - the former studio of Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins - and mastered by Josh Bonati (Sufjan Stevens, Mac DeMarco, Pharoah Sanders).
Cold Sea is Out on March 8th 2024 on Outside Music and Tremone Records.
More info from info@oisinleech.com.

For more information, contact Pete at petemurphypublicity@gmail.com or on 087-2435048

Oisin has been invited by Gaz Coombes (Supergrass) to open some of his UK gigs before Oisin embarks on his own headline Tour with dates in Ireland, UK and France. In August Oisin will perform on the main stage at Another Love Story Festival.



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The Bristol Folk House
40A Park Street

0117 926 2987

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