After a long day’s hustle and bustle, everybody wants to relax and perhaps think about nothing. At such time, a mediation session will help big time as a fatigue depressant while soothing music nourishes the spirit. I’m no exceptional, and when it comes to music, anything from O’Connor Band is just the perfect food for my soul. If you’ve never listened to music by this band, then you are missing a lot.
Before I introduce you to the songs that this band has recorded, let me take you through its journey.
The O’Connor Band is a dream of Mark O’Connor which came true. In case you don’t know who Mark O’Connor is, he is an American professional violin player and his artistry features a combination of bluegrass, country, jazz as well as classical music. His musical journey is traced back in his childhood years, and when he was a teenager, he emerged the winner in the national string instrument championships under the guitar, mandolin, and fiddle categories.
O’Connor would later become a perennial award winner. He won two Grammys in early ’90s, a period in which he was also named Musician of the Year during the CMA Awards for six years consecutively. Besides, he was featured on very many commercial country albums (hundreds of them) and worked together with other great artists including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Wynton Marsalis. His versatility in music was evident as he could perform nearly any type of music including jazz, country, jazz, swing, violin concertos, classical music, bluegrass and much more.
That’s Mark O’Connor. Now let’s come to the O’Connor Band.
By the time Mark was starting O’Connor Band, he had already mastered an array of musical skills, considering that he’d been in the music industry for about four decades. As such, it would be of no surprise if the band came up with high-quality music. Amazingly, it even surpassed many people’s expectations.
O’Connor Band is a family band comprising of Mark O’Connor, his wife (Maggie O’Connor), son (Forrest O’Connor) and daughter-in-law (Kate Lee). The first album by this band was released in the year 2016 and is called Coming Home. The album was released under Rounder Records label.
The album contains 12 songs including Always Do, Coming Home, I Haven’t Said I love You in A While, Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man, What Have I Been Saying, Jerusalem Ridge, The Sweet Ones, Blacktop Boy, You Too, Fishers Hornpipe, Old Black Creek and Fiddler Going Home. All these songs are soul-healing as they are amazingly composed and performed and recorded.
In Coming Home, Forrest features on mandolin and vocals, Kate on violin and vocals while Mark and Maggie, his wife, specialize on violin. Their family friends Joe Smart and Geoff Saunders also bring their musical prowess in this album, the former playing guitar while the latter features on bass. The result of this combo is an out-of-this-world experience! Incredible music!
Sometimes experts focus on outdoing one another and you’d expect the same to happen in the performance of this album, considering that three violinists were at work. However, it’s clear that they were working not to bring the best from their individual selves, but to come up with a blend that would bring out the best out of the album. They merged seamlessly and their voices blend in a sweet sorrow.
The guitar and mandolin performances are epic as well, giving the melodies an awesome rhythmic counterpoint. Overall, the entire album demonstrates the incredible harmony of the group.
If you are looking for a fantastic set of contemporary bluegrass featuring deep Appalachian soul, you can rarely get a better option than the songs in Coming Home album. The lead vocalists Kate and Forrest season the instrumental combo of the band with their sweet voices. The result of the band’s effort is pieces of splendid music with easy-authority traditional and modern-day bluegrass styles.
While listening to the songs in Coming Home, you’ll have a feel of a deep Appalachian soul which symbolizes the great talents that the band members possess. Besides, their charisma combination makes their onstage performances very immersive from the beginning to the end. If you have attended one of their live performances, listening to the songs in Coming Home will be nostalgic, rekindling fascinating memories and you won’t help but sing along and perhaps try to mimic their stage movements and expressions.
All six band members possess charisma that, when combined onstage, ensnares audiences from start to finish. All are masters of their instruments, all improvise as readily as they play parts in counterpoint, all can sing, and all move about the stage in a free but gripping choreography.
In fact, you can hardly differentiate the sounds produced by Maggie’s violin and her husband’s; the two violins sound like they are being played by one person. When it comes to the way Joe is playing his acoustic guitar in this album, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was playing electric.
Geoff’s talent also comes out very clearly and excellently in this album as he commandingly arcos high just like the way he does when grooving low. Mark is one of a kind guitarist and you’ll certainly attest to this when you listen to his album. He always leaves his audiences and everyone who listens to this album enthralled.
Coming Home is indeed a great album to listen to when lying down and trying to disconnect you with the troubles of this world. It has won many people’s hearts and that’s why O’Connor Band won the Best Bluegrass Album Grammys trophy in February 2017.
Lying down and listening to O’Connor Band is the best feeling ever. The melodies of the songs, unique composition, instrument combination and overall harmony are all I need to forget my worries and have my soul nourished. It’s the only album that I don’t find monotonous even if I play it six times in a row. If you haven’t yet listened to a song by this band, most likely you don’t know what good music is. You should try to get one soonest possible, particularly from Coming Home album, to enjoy fantastic music.