Soul music; it’s not something you associate with Clare Island. Neither when you hear the name ‘Niall McCabe Band’ does it scream ‘soulfulness’ at you. But when you hear this man sing, then it’s a different matter.
Reared on the small Co. Mayo island; McCabe says that “the physical isolation tends to make you think more outwardly and look for connections with the wider world”.
Along with some of Cork’s top jazz musicians, he has honed a sound that is structured around the conventions of soul music and, in equal parts, reflects the influence of folk and rock traditions on their performance and writing. They call it ‘transatlantic soul’.
An easy comparison to make – but one it would be remiss to ignore – would be with Jeff Buckley, a singer who married the folk traditions of his father’s music with a soulfulness all his own.
Songs like the title track ‘Part of the Light’ manage to hit the same radio-friendly notes that the likes of Paulo Nutini has done in recent times, though with infinitely more energy and charisma.
Despite having four solid session musicians in his ranks, McCabe’s songs do not get bogged down in cluttered arrangements, opting for a simple, yet solid backing that gives his wonderfully expressive voice space in which to shine
‘Part of the Light’, the debut album from The Niall McCabe band, is due for release this Friday, was released last week and has already seen them garner rave reviews, with GoldenPlec describing it as “oozing with a confidence and swagger that is so desperately absent from our airwaves”.
The Niall McCabe Band play Monroe’s Live, Galway this Thursday, 27 March at 10pm. Admission is free before 11pm and €10 thereafter.
The covers band Face Value will then take to the stage from late. See www.monroes.ie for more information.