Maura O'Connell to Retire as Solo Act
October 25, 2013 7:19 AM   Subscribe

 “I’d say that my great days, they’re all done,” she said. “I figured out after the last record I did that I’m what is known as now, a legacy artist, which means basically, you’re on your own. . . . It’s been a long road, and it’s been a great road — I’ve been very lucky so much over my life. But at this stage I feel like I’m only going backwards.”

When Maura O'Connell announced earlier this year that she was going to stop performing as a solo act at the end of the year, it made barely a ripple outside her fan forums. As she moves through her farewell tour, she's opening up more about her decision, citing the costs of touring, the changing landscape of the music business, and a diminishing window for folk performances. This progressive folk singer, who melds the musical traditions of Ireland and America, always did get more critical acclaim than commercial success. Here's what some folks have been missing:

As the street singer in Gangs of New York(music only)
Feet of a Dancer
Trouble in the Fields (with Nanci Griffith)
Far Cry From Here
Blue Train
The Vacant Chair
A Stor Mo Chroi
Crazy Dreams
Mo Sheamuseen - with Jerry Douglass & preceded by her talking about making Naked With Friends, her a cappella album
Bright Blue Rose
Crazy Love
Spinning Wheel (music only)
Western Highway - off the album - and live
My Irish Molly-O - from when she was with DeDanann, 1980s
The Water is Wide (c. 1989)
posted by julen (7 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
She is fantastic. I can't find an online copy to link to, but she does a cover of Patty Griffin's "Poor Man's House" that will melt you.
posted by jbickers at 7:26 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:34 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

She's been on my must-see list for years. She was coming to SF ages ago, then cancelled. I was thrilled to see that she will be playing at my favorite venue, Freight and Salvage in Berkeley soon. I have tickets and feel like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Her CD "Stories" is just about perfect. She does a wonderful job with "Blue Chalk", but the whole thing is wonderful.

I'm so sorry she's retiring, but thrilled I get to see her at last.
posted by cccorlew at 7:38 AM on October 25, 2013

I loved her work with De Danann (who are back in a new configuration, and are okay, but not great--saw them at a Celtic festival a couple of years ago) and I've always loved her voice. It's a shame she's retiring from solo tours, but given that I'm square in her target audience, and have seen her live, and I would want to see her with someone to shell out for a show, her decision is probably correct.
posted by immlass at 8:37 AM on October 25, 2013

Ooh, bummer.
posted by mykescipark at 10:28 AM on October 25, 2013

I looked so hard for a video of Poor Man's House for this post. There doesn't seem to be video footage of her covering several of my favorites, unfortunately.

She's so fantastic in concert; full of passion and joy and great flair -- and great music. Her albums are all about her voice married to the song, but the concerts are about her performance. For me, watching her throw herself into the songs makes them a differently great pleasure. You get the best of both worlds with her.
posted by julen at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2013

Sorry to hear she's hanging it up, but I hope she does so in style.

I had never heard of her until I attended this Celtic Festival about 8 years ago or so in Grass River, CA. She played a series of small, intimate performances amongst the redwoods throughout the weekend, impressed me significantly with her own music, and introduced me to one of my favorite musicians. We even talked for several minutes after the show, as she was meeting fans and really taking time with them.

All in all, great memories. Hope she lives well!
posted by markkraft at 8:12 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

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