‘West to the Evening Sun’, Ailie Blunnie’s forthcoming début album, is, at its purest, a love letter to her native home patch, and at its rawest, a restless cry for hope and adventure.
The title track gently weaves both of these threads into its fabric, from its delicate whispered opening to its repeating closing chant ‘I’m going west to my freedom and west to the evening sun’.
From Leitrim, Ailie grew up on the banks of the Shannon: a playground of lakes and woodlands, and a stone’s throw from the rugged coastlines of North Leitrim and Sligo.
Her début EP, ‘On love.. and other murder mysteries’ (2013), marked her first tentative foray into the forests of independent musicianship. From it, her wistful love song ‘How much do you love me?‘, and the starkly despondent ‘You Compare Her to a Rose’, were selected as winner and finalist, respectively, in the UK Songwriting Competition (2014).
A recent song, ‘I Will Count my Blessings’ – a commitment to honouring core values (‘I will count my blessings/I will speak my heart and my mind/I will not be more or less than I am for you’), was included on the 2015 release, ‘Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you’ – a CD produced by, and in aid of, Samaritans Ireland.
Ailie’s début album is the crystallisation of a quiet drive to transmute bare human emotion into full-colour sensory experience. With vocal hints of Sinéad O’Connor, Michael Stipe, and Stina Nordenstam, a nod towards Ger Wolfe’s tender storytelling, a splash of Steve Reich, a shameless sense of fun (think Flann O’Brien’s love of bicycles), and the dueling distant thump of early-90s grunge and late-90s electro, ‘West to the Evening Sun’ will be released in mid-2017, with the title track available from February 10th.
“So new, so fresh, and so good” (Carl Corcoran, The Blue of the Night, RTÉ Lyric fm)
“A taster from the Leitrim singer-songwriter’s forthcoming début album shows a craftswoman who knows the right measure of guile and atmospherics which a soundscape of this majesty requires.” (Jim Carroll, Irish Times, on the first single, ‘West to the Evening Sun’)
“Describe the Carrick-on-Shannon songwriter as a novelty at your peril […]; while songs like the cabaret-pop lilt of Coming to Get Ya and Monster are positively packed with idiosyncrasies, there is a tenderness and beauty to You Compare Her to a Rose, that lends weight to her sweet-natured compositions.” (Lauren Murphy, The Irish Times)
“One of the country’s leading young poets” (Brian Lynch, writer)
THINGS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW
– How to pronounce her name: Ay-lee (like the last bit of UkulELE); Blunnie (rhymes with sunny)
– Education: BA Music/French; M.Litt Music; H.Dip Psychology
– Tea or coffee: Tea
– Morning or night person: Night owl