Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Janet Dowd: Press

JANET DOWD – Home 

(Blue Cow Records 2017)

 

 

Although Janet Dowd writes songs, and there are three of her own compositions on Home, her particular forte is in covering other writers. Her subjects are mostly Irish and an album like this will serve to introduce British audiences to some new songs, but she also encompasses Scotland and Australia and unless you are a particular fan of the writers involved these too may be songs you haven’t heard before.

 

The album opens with Eric Bogle’s ‘All The Fine Young Men’ which has been covered quite frequently (but good luck finding Eric’s original these days). It features producer Donogh Hennessy on guitars, keyboards and programming with strings from Niamh Varien Barry. Janet’s strong, clear voice does full justice to a song that should be rated alongside ‘No Man’s Land’.

 

Irish songwriters have a sentimental streak and Tommy Sands indulged his on ‘County Down’, a song of the auld country calling the expatriate home. It features Alan Doherty on whistle and Colin Henry’s Dobro, an instrument which appears several more times. Quite why a resonator guitar should suit celtic songs so well, I can’t say, but it just does. 

 

The theme of home, and not being there, returns in Dougie MacLean’s ‘Garden Valley’, Janet’s own ‘Westport Town’ and, supremely, Brendan Graham’s ‘My Land’.

 

The second Australian represented here is The Waifs’ Josh Cunningham whose ‘Lighthouse’ actually has someone coming home and happy to be doing so. 

 

Another highlight I must mention is the traditional ‘Súil A Rúin’ which again features Niamh Varien Barry and Pauline Scanlon’s backing vocals.

 

Home manages to combine the simplicity of emotion in both writing and singing with arrangements that are always interesting without being too clever or overwhelming the songs. Beautifully done.

 

Dai Jeffries

www.folking.com

Number_1.jpg_resized

Soooo excited....the new cd 'Sailing Away' is Number 1 in Irish Music Magazines Top 10 albums for December 2013... thanks you so much everyone for making this happen, especially Joe Gilmartin from Premier Records in Belfast...so chuffed.

J x

Number 1!!! - Irish Music Magazine (Dec 1, 2013)

Huge thanks to Alan Morley for playing our music on his show in November 2013 and for this wonderful review...absolutely delighted!!!

 

For this show I have the delight of being able to choose tracks from Janet Dowd who has sent me not one but two CD’s to have a listen to. I must freely admit that I hadn’t come across Janet before but we started chatting on the dreaded FaceBook and she asked if she could send me some of her material.

The CD’s are called ’300 Miles’ and ‘Sailing Away’ and they are packed with quality tracks featuring the enchanting voice of Janet. There are a few well know ‘standards’ such as Sandy Denny’s ‘Farewell Farewell’ and also ‘Danny Boy’ and everything is handled with care and thoughtful arrangements. I don’t normally attempt to review CD’s and prefer to leave it to our folk music journalist Pete Fyfe who is far more knowledgable and skilled on these matters, but I was moved to make an exception in this case.

I really enjoyed Janet's smooth voiced interpretations of all the material on the albums and I will have no hesitation in playing some more in a later FolkRise show.

Highly recommended.

Alan Morley

Spread the news..

Alan Morley - FolkRise (Nov 18, 2013)

Huge thanks to Graeme Cousins for this great review of the new album 'Sailing Away' in the Lurgan Mail a few weeks ago....

 

Sailing Away, the new album by local singer Janet Dowd is arguably her most accomplished work to date. It features a number of cover versions of folk, country and traditional ballads as well as three of her own compositions.

Danny Boy is the most famous of the covers, but the stand out track is Janet’s version of Anywhere But Here by Jonathan Asprey.

Janet’s warm vocals combined with the musical input of Jonny Toman are a force to be reckoned with.

Graeme Cousins

Graeme Cousins - Lurgan Mail (Jan 18, 2014)

Cover_Art_for_Sailing_Away.jpg_resized

It’s a brave soul who chooses to record a serious version of ‘Danny Boy’ on a serious album. Whalebone did so and I regarded it as their one lapse of taste but in Janet Dowd’s hands it seems to link her Irish heritage with her taste for Americana – it is arguably more popular across the Atlantic than it is here.

Janet is from Co. Armagh and has been in the business for more than two decades. For all that her solo debut, an album of traditional songs, only came in 2010. Sailing Away is her second album with three of her own songs and seven covers plus ‘Danny Boy’. I get the feeling that Janet records songs just because she likes them which is as good a reason as any.

The opening ‘Appalachian Rain’ by John Smith and Buddy Mondlock is a beautiful country-lite song of separation followed in a similar vein by Tim O’Brien’s ‘Lost Little Children’ and the record looks like settling down to be a real tear-jerker. But then Janet switches tack with Richard Thompson’s ‘Farewell, Farewell’.

The accompaniments are all handled with the lightest of touches. There are Dobro, fiddle and mandolin to give a country feel but nothing as crude as pedal steel and there’s a button accordion when something more European is suggested. Janet has a strong clear voice which doesn’t need to push against the instrumentation but I’d love to hear her tackle a song with a bit more edge. Having written and sung ‘Leaving The Blasket’, a song of her own part in the Irish diaspora, there are plenty more to choose from.

Sailing Away is doing well in Ireland right now and I’m sure it appeals to Irish misty-eyed sentimentality (now tell me that’s a myth) but I can drift away to it with the rest.

Dai Jeffries

Reviews

Janet Dowd   Album: 'Sailing Away'

Label: Blue Cow

Tracks: 11

 

One of the things I like about the comparatively quiet to the start of the year is that it gives me the opportunity to play catch up with releases that seemed to escape the review pile at the time. Just such a release is "Sailing Away" the latest from Janet Dowd, her follow up to her solo debut "300 Miles".

Like it's predecessor, "Sailing Away" is a celebration of folksongs and styles from both sides of the Atlantic. Similarly, the supporting musicians share that mix of culture, including amongst their number Nashville fiddle player, Eamonn McLoughlin and Beoga's Sean Og Graham.

One of the key themes of the album is migration and movement, predominantly through story songs, which personalise those journeys, both physical and emotional, but without a doubt, it's a song that calls many home, "Danny Boy" and Dowd's interpretation of it, that is the real star of the album.

That said, "Sailing Away" isn't just a celebration of old songs, Dowd pens a number of songs for the album and they sit well alongside the more familiar. I can see "Leaving The Blasket" rapidly becoming absorbed into other people's sets as a traditional song. The song itself describing the final journey of the last residents of Great Blasket Island.

I may be a tad late with the review, but this album certainly hasn't escaped airplay on my radio show and "Sailing Away" is an album that I can easily recommend that you take time to check out.

 

Neil King

Janet-front-cover-web.jpg

In much the same way that Mary Black and Maura O'Connell established themselves with their distinctive vocals the same could be said of Janet Dowd whom I first heard on Richard Digance's Radio Devon folk programme.

Unlike Black and O'Connell however there are no American inflections, just the pure tone of Janet's vocal that will enamour her to anyone who enjoys an unblemished but spirited performance.

Starting with the gorgeous Dingle Bay, accompanied by an arrangement that would I'm sure have been approved by The Fureys in their Sweet Sixteen days, she immediately establishes her credentials with an assured performance that will gain her a legion of octogenarian (for this read BBC Radio 2) fans.

The track that originally made me take note of Dowd was the song John Condon, who was thought to be the youngest soldier to die in the Great War of 1914-1918.

Much like Eric Bogle's epic Green Fields Of France, I'm sure this song will be accepted by the folk music community in much the same way and it won't be long before it is utilised by every major artist (maybe it already has) looking for another holy grail?

This album showcases Dowd's obvious talents leaning towards a good ballad including the Northumbrian The Water Is Wide; Loving Hannah (also covered on the debut album by the afore mentioned Mary Black) and the evocative Both Sides The Tweed, penned by Dick Gaughan. Rounding things off with the Dixie-Land style brass arrangement on Wayfaring Stranger,(which I haven't heard since the heydays of The Seekers!) this lady should be required listening for those that enjoy a good songstress and a must have for festivals in 2011. www.janetdowd.com
 
PETE FYFE

Pete Fyfe - Acoustic Magazine/Celtic Link/Essex Folk News/Everythingfolk/Fatea/Fiddle On/Folk Alley/Folk And Roots/Folk London/Folk Monthly/Folk North West/Folk Radio/Folk Talk/Folking.com/Guestlist/Kent Folk/Mardles/Maverick/Music Maker/Net Rhythms/Propergander (2010)

REVIEW POSTED IN ‘THE ULSTER FOLK’ MAGAZINE by ANDY McKINNEY


Saturday 25th August saw the debut of the Janet Dowd Band at the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena. The band consisting of Janet (vocals), Mervyn Dowd (guitar), Patsy Toman (guitar and banjo, vocals), Brendan Goff (keyboards), Tom Watson (upright bass) and John Giffin (sax) played to a small but very receptive audience in the atrium.

Janet is the perfect ‘frontman’ with plenty of stage presence and a very affecting voice. She had plenty of humorous interaction with the audience and made us all laugh at how mercilessly she sent up the other band members, particularly her husband Mervyn. With songs by the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker (Mr. Bojangles), Kris Kristofferson (Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends), Alison Krauss (Simple Love) and Jimmy McCarthy (Sky Road) in the repertoire it would be hard to miss the sort of music that inspires Janet and which she also so ably interprets.

We also had Patsy pay tribute to Luke Kelly of the Dubliners as he more than did justice to Raglan Road. This was no mean feat considering how iconic Kelly’s version of the Patrick Kavanagh poem has become. Musically it was a fantastic evening with the band providing a very full while not overpowering backdrop for Janet’s beautiful haunting vocals.

Probably the most emotional song of the night was John Condon about a young Irish soldier who fought in the British Army in World War One. At only 14, it is claimed by many that he was the youngest soldier to be killed in the conflict and the song beautifully captures the sense of sadness and wasted life such events generate, Janet embues the song with such sincerity and delivers it with such clarity and technical excellence that one cannot failed to be deeply touched by it.

It is my feeling that Janet and her associates will return to The Braid in the future and if this is the case I definitely plan to attend and urge you all to do so too. It was rather disappointing to see such a talented band giving a free concert to so few people. I would strongly encourage you to investigate her work and wish her every success in the future.

300 Miles is NUMBER 1 !!!! in the August edition of Irish Music Magazine, Belfast Region...we are absolutely delighted...

scan0002.jpg_resized

Thanks to all of you for buying the album....Happy Listening...

J x

REVIEW FROM ‘FOLKWORLD’ # 45

Northern Irelands folk singer, Janet Dowd (vocals, autoharp) has recorded her debut solo album with a bunch of great guest musicians including her husband Mervyn on drums, percussion & slide guitar. She sings 6 traditional and 6 covered songs from Ireland, Scotland & America. Brendan Goff plays the piano on the melancholic Irish ballad ‘Dingle Bay’, violin, electric bass, cello, banjo & accordion join in and Janet mesmerizes with her hauntingly beautiful singing. William Garrett plays lowland pipes & low whistle on the traditional ‘Both Sides the Tweed’ & Jonathan Toman on guitar and David Lyttle on cello accompany ‘John Condon’, (R.Laird/T.McRory/S.Starrett), a tender ballad for an Irish hero. Irish songwriter Jimmy MacCarthy wrote ‘Sky Road’ and Janet mesmorizes the romantic song with her crystal clear voice. Scotlands John Douglas from the Trashcan Sinatras composed ‘Wild Mountainside’, another romantic ballad showcasing Paula Raffertys fine fiddling, and ‘Dimming of the Day’ from American guitar player Richard Thompson adds with autoharp, slide guitar and Hammond a touch of Americana to the programme. My favourite song is the classic American traditional ‘Wayfaring Stranger’. Soulful singing, banjo and mandolin play Bluegrass and John Giffin made the arrangements for his saxophone and Rachel Tomans clarinet, an intoxicating version. Unfortunately Janet Dowd mainly sings soft ballads & songs, she also has a brilliant blues timbre & her excellent performance on the only rhythmic track makes you lust for more.

Adolf ‘gorhand’ Goriup

www.folkworld.eu/45/e/cds1.html#dowd

LIVE @ THE GERRY ANDERSON SHOW - BBC RADIO ULSTER (Apr 8, 2011)

JANET DOWD – Home (Blue Cow Records 2017)

Although Janet Dowd writes songs, and there are three of her own compositions on Home, her particular forte is in covering other writers. Her subjects are mostly Irish and an album like this will serve to introduce British audiences to some new songs, but she also encompasses Scotland and Australia and unless you are a particular fan of the writers involved these too may be songs you haven’t heard before.

The album opens with Eric Bogle’s ‘All The Fine Young Men’ which has been covered quite frequently (but good luck finding Eric’s original these days). It features producer Donogh Hennessy on guitars, keyboards and programming with strings from Niamh Varien Barry. Janet’s strong, clear voice does full justice to a song that should be rated alongside ‘No Man’s Land’.

Irish songwriters have a sentimental streak and Tommy Sands indulged his on ‘County Down’, a song of the auld country calling the expatriate home. It features Alan Doherty on whistle and Colin Henry’s Dobro, an instrument which appears several more times. Quite why a resonator guitar should suit celtic songs so well, I can’t say, but it just does.

The theme of home, and not being there, returns in Dougie MacLean’s ‘Garden Valley’, Janet’s own ‘Westport Town’ and, supremely, Brendan Graham’s ‘My Land’. The second Australian represented here is The Waifs’ Josh Cunningham whose ‘Lighthouse’ actually has someone coming home and happy to be doing so.

Another highlight I must mention is the traditional ‘Súil A Rúin’ which again features Niamh Varien Barry and Pauline Scanlon’s backing vocals.

Home manages to combine the simplicity of emotion in both writing and singing with arrangements that are always interesting without being too clever or overwhelming the songs. Beautifully done.

Dai Jeffries www.folking.com