Birmingham songwriter reveals the story behind his new album
The songs on Rich McMahon’s brand new album, Songs of Exile, Love & Dissent, are populated by characters who are affected by their links to Ireland and its culture, its past and its present. The Birmingham based Singer/Songwriter hopes that many readers will relate to the idea expressed in his song ‘Inbetweenland’, of being neither one thing or the other but something inbetween, referring to his mixed English/Irish background.
Rich was well into his thirties by the time he decided to embark on a full-time music career. Having overcome a troubled upbringing in Coventry and rural Ireland, a life-threatening illness in his twenties, and a series of dead-end temping jobs and false starts, Rich realised that life was longer than he thought and he had to do something with it.
This Wicklow raised performer has managed to pack a lot in over the last few years, performing countless live gigs and recording albums in various guises. His new solo album, Songs of Exile, Love & Dissent is produced by Mercury Prize and BBC Folk award nominated producer Gerry Diver, whose previous collaborators include Christy Moore, O’Hooley & Tidow and Damien Dempsey. Its twelve self-penned tracks blend the socially conscious balladry of Christy Moore, the Celtic Soul of Van Morrison and the wry observational wit of
The Divine Comedy, but in a style and voice that is unmistakably his own.
Born in England and raised in Ireland, Rich McMahon’s songs address themes of identity and borders, the personal and the political, the mythical and the real. His mixed-media shows, The Imagined Nation and Beyond Borders, have garnered praise for their variety, insight and humour, and it was from these shows that the songs on his new album, Songs of Exile, Love & Dissent, were initially formed.
“These songs are about you and me,” he said, “I love putting on a show with a narrative, where every song is there for a reason. When I tour Songs of Exile, Love & Dissent I’ll be looking at how relationships; with your family, friends or your country, can revolve around the sentiments ‘I miss you, I love you, I disagree with you.”
As a live performer Rich has found himself bridging the generations, sharing a stage over the years with upcoming performers such as The Young Folk, Dan Walsh, Barley Mob and Bellowhead’s Sam Sweeney, and veterans such as Davey Arthur, Martin Stephenson, Frankie Gavin and the Dubliners’ Sean Cannon. Perhaps this, along with a live repertoire that encompasses traditional material and songs by artists such as Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Frank Turner, explains why Rich’s shows attract such a diverse audience.
To mark the release of Songs of Exile, Love & Dissent Rich will be performing a special album launch show at The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath on Sunday March 8th. All are welcome, so please check out his website, www.richmcmahon.com or www.kitchengardencafe.co.uk for ticket information.
Songs of Exile, Love & Dissent is released on March 9th and will be available on iTunes, Amazon and in selected outlets.