Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful night of music. Some say ‘Blessed Art Thou Amongst Women’ and last night that really applied to the enigmatic Tommy Keyes. In the end, Tommy took centre stage at last nights Leap Sessions at The Salmon Leap Inn and treated an excellent audience to selection of The Best Of… from his three albums to date. Joined not only by the brilliant Ellen & Carla who sang beautiful harmonies to Tommy’s music, he was also joined by 2 more fifths of 80’s stalwarts Sidewinder, Patsy Tracey and Patrick Silke in what turned into somewhat of a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The only pity was that the night had to end as you could see the boys really get going by the time, time caught up with everybody. Tommy’s newest release ‘An Irish Life‘ is available on iTunes.

VIDEO: Tommy Keyes, Patsy Tracey and Patrick Silke, Sailing Ships at The Leap Sessions

Starting off the night was the neophyte from Arklow, Aoibhín Redmond who was supported by her brother Oisín playing bass. Aoibhín is such a fragile looking thing that it completely knocks you off balance when she opens her mouth and then drags her (willing) audience by the scruff of their collective necks to a place most of us only remember as a faded photograph of good times when we didn’t have a care in the world. Aoibhín informs our audience that she is to play in Los Angeles later in the year and to this writer, it seemed that her music would not veer a million miles from (name) a Quinten Tarantino movie. Outstanding stuff! Fresh and carefree! A performance full of confidence and authority.

VIDEO: Rose

Personally speaking, Rebecca Lam from Vancouver held a very special spot on this night since news arrived that she was to visit Ireland on a mini tour of Europe. Rebecca spent a week teaching Vocal Technique at European Vocal Camp in Poland, followed by teaching in Belgium ahead of arriving to our shores and before she traveled to Scotland for more teaching. Rebecca is an associate of mine via the Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA) who teaches from Master Teacher, Spencer Welch’s studio in Vancouver. But not only an exceptional teacher, Rebecca is an incredible singer. After getting slightly dragged down to this author’s level for an opening cover of Glen Hansard’s ‘Falling Slowly’, Rebecca was joined on stage by actress Miriam Ward for a fabulous rendition of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ where Rebecca supported on guitar. Rebecca took centre stage and elevated herself into the pantheons of vocal perfection with three songs that included a beautiful rendition of Andrew Hozier Byrne’s ‘Cherry Wine’.

To follow – armed with her Gretch, which had us all turning our heads – was Vaness! Vanessa arrived on Monday from Breda in south Holland and despite her own misgivings after watching Rebecca Lam ahead of her, Vaness sucked it up and gave a tremendous performance. With a Gretch in your hand it must be tempting to pop the amplifier up to 11 and go dirty, so it was refreshing when asked about the sound by Ross Breen, Vaness said ‘Nope, the cleaner the better’. Vanessa treated us to her own semi reggae beat with songs that bounced along, the colour was ‘sense tickling’ and her tome to ‘Deb’ was fantastic!

Returning to the Leap Sessions were Ellen And Carla. We LOVE Ellen And Carla! There, I’ve said it. These witches of the dark art of Melody and Harmony magicked up spells that had our audience in a trance. Counter melodies that lulled the audience into total submission. We were treated to the first ever live performance of their new song, ‘Lullaby’ but it was far, far from putting anybody to sleep. Ellen And Carla will be playing on Saturday of the Electric Picnic in the Yurt and anybody heading down to Stradbally MUST make it their business to check this amazing two piece out. You may not want them to stop! ‘Wash Over Me’, EP can be purchased here.

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