Kieran Goss

Photo: keiran goss. 'I'll Be Seeing You' - Gig at Glasgow's Old Fruitmarket

a review by Pat Byrne, March, 2010

I went along to meet Kieran Goss a couple of days before he played at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow to have a chat with him about his 'I'll Be Seeing You' tour, which included a number of gigs in Scotland. Over some cappuccino in Cranberry's cafe in the Merchant City, I heard a bit about how the tour was going and The Kieran Goss Trio, I also learned something of Kieran's background growing up in Co Down. He also spoke about how he met his wife Annie Kinsella from Co Roscommon. She is also a musician and sings backing vocals with The Kieran Goss Trio. Kieran explained how much he enjoys being able to work and travel with her.

The topic of songwriting crept into the conversation and Kieran shared the view that just about every experience allows you to bring something to the table with regard to the creative business of songwriting. Clearly for this particular artist it's really important to have very good songs, in fact, "it's really all about the songs" - he has produced some excellent material on 'I'll Be Seeing You', which is his 8th album.

Kieran's career has had some twists, turns and high spots along the way; he started out on his working life as a lawyer and paid his way through his studies at Queens University in Belfast by playing gigs. He even supported some well known acts such as Elvis Costello and Christy Moore. After qualifying he worked as a lawyer for seven years before deciding to follow his heart and find an outlet for his 'creative expression" so Kieran left his native Co Down and set off to busk in Germany.

You could say that Kieran never looked back and he certainly followed his father's advice: "if it's what you want to do then work hard at it and you will succeed". He traveled in France and Germany composing and playing his music and picking up his, not inconsiderable, linguistic skills along the way. (Kieran speaks five languages and regularly performs in Germany - in German!).

In 1989 he returned to Ireland to record his first album. "Brand New Star", which included the song "Just Around The Corner". Good fortune shone on Kieran when Mary Black heard the album and recorded both the title song and 'Just Around The Corner' for her CD 'Babes In The Wood'. Kieran recognised how fortuitious this was and describes this event as having "changed my life".

More success was to come and in 1998, when he released his album 'Worse Than Pride', he followed his normal practice of asking for feedback from some close friends and he was persuaded to release one of the songs , 'Out Of My Head.' as a single. Subsequently this went to No 2, just losing out on the top spot to Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On'. This was disappointing but 'Worse Than Pride', achieved double platinum status nine months after it was released - no small consolation.

Kieran has continued to produce great songs and 'Clear Day' - was picked up by the Progressive Building Society for use in their television advertising campaign and played on Irish radio as an introduction to the weather forecast. Some five years ago he decided to form his trio with Annie Kinsella backing vocals and Gareth Hughes, double-bass, and has been enjoying gigging, travelling and recording with the pair. His current album: "I'll Be Seeing You" was just released in February, 2009, and the positive reviews have already started to roll in.

When I met Keiran in Glasgow he was very excited about the tour but felt that to some extent with his gigs in the UK he was "starting all over again", as it had been a few years since was last here when he was supporting Don Williams. However, not even his arrival with Annie to a very snowy North of Scotland could dampen Kieran's enthusiasm as they struggled to find roads that were open so that they could reach their destination. They played their first gig at 'The Ceilidh Place' in Ullapool to a very small audience as almost 100 people could not make it through the atrocious weather conditions. However, he loved every minute of the show and despite having played in large concert halls all over the world, he loved "the connection of the more intimite gig". I'm sure those who made it along had a brilliant night.

The Kieran Goss Trio certainly won the hearts of the audience at the Fruitmarket, with fans old and new lapping up the great songs and lovely melodies full of joy, romance, sadness and fun. The music was interspersed with interesting anecdotes, snippets of information and amusing repartee. We enjoyed hearing about the disastrous gigs, including one in Ennis that clashed with Barry McGuigan's world championship fight, when the whole of Ireland was glued to their televisions. It was also endearing to hear that the very accomplished double bass player, Gareth, had a new baby, and after the break we were all just delighted to hear that Kieran had sold: "A shit load of CD's".

Kieran's connection with the audience is palpable and he sets the tone for a very enjoyable and relaxed evening's entertainment. With everyone on their side the three accomplished performers glide through their set with sublime ease. This was definitely one of the most enjoyable gigs I've been to for a while - I loved the variety of the music and the lack of pretension and sincerity of the songs I liked the warmth encapsulated in 'Smile' and the really beautiful 'One Boy's Treasure", where Kieran has drawn on his childhood memories. You can feel the sun shining on your face in "Jamaica I'm in Love" - I really liked some of those lyrics: "soft as butter in the sweet gum trees".

As well as performing songs from the album, Kieran sang a brand new song: "Crazy For Your Love" - a beautiful and melodic love song just brimful of emotion. He also drew on his extensive portfolio and played some older material including "Brand New Star", which I found very uplifting. Some of the harmonies are brilliant and no more so than in the very sad song, "Does This Road Look Rough and Rocky', where you also get a chance to hear more of Annie's great vocals. The Motown number 'Reach Out I'll Be There' was a bit of a surprise but certainly worked in encouraging some audience participating.

When I chatted with Kieran, he told me that he thoroughly enjoys what he is doing, and that it's great that he can travel with Annie and how well the trio works together. It all seems to have fallen into place and long may it last because he certainly left a crowd who would have stayed on for more.

I'm sure he sold a shit load more CD's at the end of the concert.

The Kieran Goss Trio will continue their "I'll Be Seeing You" tour in England, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and USA. You can see all the details and how to buy the CD's on kieran goss myspace