“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is the ace singer-songwriter Eileen Gogan who’s been a fixture on the Dublin music scene for a while but whose orbit has happily reached mine with a soul satisfyingly great EP called “Another Golden Day” with Sean O’Hagan of the High Llamas adding his musical box of magic tricks to Eileen’s serene and soothing tones. And it’s out on the increasingly impressive Dimple Discs to boot so it’s a winner all round.

DD’s own Cathal Coughlan got in touch with Eileen in 2018 to ask if she’d sing with Microdisney on their comeback gigs, and that’s where she met Sean who then invited Eileen on a tour round Ireland. It was an intimate affair in that it involved Eileen, Sean and Brian O’Neill from Dimple Discs packed into a rental up and down the country, but firm bonds were formed. Sean helped out on Eileen’s solo album and then out of the blue asked Eileen if she had any songs to send him during some down time. He was a fan and thought he’d have a go at weaving some winning but never winsome magic over them – the “Another Golden Day” EP was born. And I for one am glad. And i’m even more pleased that not only has Eileen come to these pages to choose a song for our series but she’s picked an absolute doozy. Welcome to VS, Eileen Gogan!

Eileen has been in a lot of bands including The Would Be’s, The Revenants, Acton Bell and The Drays, but started picking up play on the Gideon Coe show on BBC 6Music for the aforementioned solo record “Under Moving Skies”.

There is something totally enchanting and elixir like about the “Another Golden Day” EP, it’s timeless quality feels exactly what I need right now as an antidote to the hugely troubling realities of the day. It’s like stepping “Into The Woods” and into a parallel, safe place of nature and nurture, a healing runic salve, rooting in warmth and humanity.

It doesn’t get much more homespun than “Wheels (Happy Cycling)” with its Proustian rush of reminiscences about childhood and riding free. Not to mention the irresistible detail of being 10 and stealing her brother’s bike and the beautifully poetic “a gear for every year and the distance was mine”. I haven’t enjoyed such innocence in an indie record since Belly’s “Feed The Tree”. It’s nostalgic sure, but more vivid green than misremembered sepia.

It’s “Wave” where the storied Sean O’Hagan’s subtly electronic tendrils most seamlessly take root with Eileen’s tales, quirky but never irksome, pleasant electronic waves than are never cloying but definitely cosmic. It makes me long for the longer days and the sunshine of hope.

Just as edifying is Eileen’s choice of tune, and it’s insight into a dreamy, sunny psyche…without further ado this is Eileen Gogan’s “song for ewe”…

“The obscure song I can’t stop listening to is one I discovered the other day while making a playlist. It’s a Cajun/ Zydeco track by Boozoo Chavis called “Johnnie Billy Goat”. Even though my own music is strongly influenced by Irish and English folk music I heard while growing up, when I first heard Fats Domino playing “Jambalaya” I was mesmerised. The music sounded so otherworldly.

It sounded like a rich swampy terrain, very different from the sometimes bleak and harsh Irish weather. I began digging into the music of New Orleans and Louisiana. I discovered Louis Armstrong and the Blafa Brothers.

I was so taken with Armstrong that I named my dog Louis after him!

I love Zydeco music as you cannot keep still when you hear it. When I DJ I slip in a few Zydeco numbers after the crowd has loosened up and it’s wonderful to watch peoples reaction, they can’t keep still. It has an infectious rhythm which makes you want to move.

It is primitive with flashes of sophistication in the playing, a combination which I’ve always loved. Zydeco has its roots in Cajun music which was a result of the expulsion of a French colony from Canada called Acadia in 1755.

A lot of them settled in Louisiana and it’s there that the cross pollination of French, Creole and blues music happened.

There is a more detailed account in the book “South to Louisiana” by John Boven. In Boozoo’s track I love the way the guitar comes in and mimics the fiddle, the whole song sounds like an accidental jam that has the wonderful feeling of spontaneity and surprise.”

MANY THANKS TO EILEEN AND TO SEAN NEWSHAM AT MUTANTE

“Another Golden Day” by Eileen Gogan with Sean O’Hagan is out on Dimple Discs now

Get the EP on Bandcamp on the link below:

 

https://eileengogandimplediscs.bandcamp.com/

You can follow Eileen Gogan on social media Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube  Spotify 

And you can also follow Sean O’Hagan on social media Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube  Spotify

ps. I’m going to play “Wheels (Happy Cycling)” from the EP on the next episode of Velvet Sheep on www.repeater-radio.com this Saturday 5th March and Eileen’s pick by Boozoo Chavis too, but in the meantime please enjoy these other slices of sunshine from the back cat…