By Shauna Golden
Our ‘Keep your ear down to the ground’ series continues with 5 Westmeath acts that are making waves in the industry. Talent in the midlands is certainly flourishing at the moment and here are 5 acts that you should definitely look out for:
The Driftwood Manor
One very interesting band to watch out for that have just emerged on the Folk scene are Athlones’ The Driftwood Manor. They have just released their debut album ‘For The Moon’, which is already receiving excellent reviews and fuses enchanting folk melodies with more contemporary beats. It’s an album that transports you to a different era, keeping with the traditions of authentic Irish folk while also bringing something fresh and new to the table. Front-man Eddie Keenan’s voice and harmonies are both crisp and timeless, adding to the many reasons why you should give this album a listen. The band performed on the Animal Barn stage at KnockanStockan and will also be touring throughout Ireland in the next coming months. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for more information about upcoming gigs. The Driftwood Manor are definitely a band to watch out for in the future.
After the release of their debut EP ‘Loose Friends’ in 2015, Mullingar natives The Academic have had a very successful year and have been touring both Ireland and Europe, with three dates in the UK in October still to come. They have followed their EP with the release of their new single last month ‘Mixtape 2003’, full of the same indie rock vibes that have helped get them so much notice in the first place. If you have not yet seen them live, I would be inclined to try and catch them at their next Irish gig which will be at the Rose of Tralee festival on the 17th of August. Their stage presence is rumoured to be incredible and their lively sets are sure to win you over and add yet another fan to their fast growing fan base.
Fallen Lights are a 4 piece indie/pop group based in Dublin with members from Mullingar and Waterford (a mixed bag as they put it!). Since starting out in 2014 they have supported some very successful Irish acts such as Raglans and The Academic and have just completed their own Irish tour. Following their great live performances they have since secured a spot at Electric Picnic, playing on the word stage on Friday the 2nd of September. They released their debut single in 2015 ‘If I only Knew‘ and it immediately started getting a lot of airtime, being played on Spin 1038 and 96FM. The band are currently working on their upcoming EP and are certainly an Irish act to watch out for.
Starting out as a drummer in a local band in 2010 in Mullingar, Amy Quirke a.k.a. Skywriter has since played all around Ireland and moved abroad to both Australia and London in order to follow her dream of becoming an artist in her own right. After moving to Los Angeles, California in 2015, she developed her own brand of songwriting and recorded her self titled debut EP. Her debut single ‘The Simple Method’ was released on the 1st of July and is available on Spotify and Itunes. After a very successful tour of L.A. and Dublin, she is set to play Electric Picnic in September. Skywriters’ blend of hard pop can be heard in her new single and we can look forward to her future releases and all information of her future gigs can be found on her website.
No list of music talent from Westmeath would be complete without a mention to The Blizzards. After a 6 year hiatus, the five piece from Mullingar are back with their new single ‘Drop Down The Anchor’. During their time out, lead man Niall Breslin has been pursuing a solo career while also appearing on the Voice of Ireland as a Judge. Prior to their break, The Blizzards received a lot of success with their previous two albums, their most recent being ‘Domino Effect’ released back in 2008 and included many hit singles such as perhaps their most well known ‘Trust me, I’m A Doctor’. The lads will be hitting Electric Picnic in September in Stradbally and have their own headline show on the 19th of November in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. The Blizzards have a great stage presence during their performances and have told their anticipating fans to expect big things from them over the coming months.