Being the staunch fan of the Irish band from Dundalk, I’m proudly presenting my own amateurish review of a veteran musician that I can’t adore more. She’s the gorgeous violinist, Sharon Corr.
Following her youngest sister Andrea who three years ago released her solo album TEN FEET HIGH, the second eldest of Corrs siblings was popping out last month with her brand new album titled DREAM OF YOU. Many wonder if our dear Sharon can take the challenge better than Andrea, whose solo album was almost unheard and seemed to go unnoticed by the Celtic music lovers. To be quite frank, I up to this second hardly ever listened to any of Andrea’s songs.
Sharon, in my opinion, seems to be working harder to promote her solo album than Andrea did. She’s shown up a lot on so many TV shows, off-air events, etc, which improves significantly her visibility on the mass media and Internet. Sharon also smartly makes use of the marketing power of Twitter. She gathers hundreds thousands of followers on her account @Sharon_Corr, which as far as I know Andrea or the other Corrs haven’t done pretty well. What makes me so stunned is the fact that Sharon is not a Twitter snob, that is following so few people while having thousands of followers. She is totally not one of the snobs as she admits she isn’t reluctant at all to follow any person’s Twitter account so long as she finds them interesting and eye-opening. And now she’s one of my (few) followers! She also sets up a site dedicated to her solo musical journey after The Corrs being in hiatus for an undecided period of time. She is taking advantage of the social media titans i.e. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Flicker to get to know and reach as many listeners as possible. And Sharon proudly combines the old, conventional way with the more sophsticated fashion of interaction by bridging herself with the audience she’s targetting. But once again, what matters most is of course Sharon’s exceptional musical talents. In The Corrs, she might have only served as the backing vocals along with the lady drummer Caroline but it was her fiddling that gave the one-of-its-kind touch to all the band’s tracks. Thanks to her, I’m now considering to take violin lessons myself (wish me luck!).
Basically this album is kind of short, consisting only of 12 tracks (as listed on BBC official site). Let’s review each and every of them, using my own perpective as a Corrs musical works worshipper for more than a decade.
TRACK 1: OUR WEDDING DAY
I have no idea why Sharon picked this as her first track but my hunch is this track speaks of her sacred bondage with Gavin Bonar, the Belfast barrister she’s married to now. The instrumental track is really slow. Nothing is heard but the fiddle sound. So serene. Tom Hocknell of BBC stated it’s actually based on an Irish folk tune, “She Moved through the Fair”.
TRACK 2: EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME
Sharon resings The Korgis’ past hit called “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime“. Frankly speaking, I’m clueless about The Korgis and their hits. Regardless of that, I know for sure Sharon’s version fits my musical taste. As you can see on the Youtube video up there, this song is meant to be the first hit. The shot was done in Alhambra Palace, Spain. There’s not much I could tell about the song, it just sounds good to me.
TRACK 3: IT’S NOT A DREAM
This track is so impossible to hate. And I mean it. Enough said.
TRACK 4: MNA NA H’EIREANN (Women of Ireland)
It’s not a Gaelic song but an instrumental. Sharon is remaking the Irish folk instrumental by combining the fiddle, drums and the guitar. The folk tune gets modernized.
TRACK 5: BUENOS AIRES
Another track to replay over and over again is Buenos Aires. I especially love the version featuring Alex Ubago. Simply awesome and romantic. “Buenos Aires” is just a perfect ballad everyone finds easy listening.
TRACK 6: SO LONG AGO
“So Long Ago” is a mid-tempo ballad. The BBC harsh review claimed it whines so incessantly that the listener actually yearns for more fiddle.
TRACK 7: SMALLTOWN BOY
Sharon said during her official Dream of You interview that this is the song that best represents her teenagehood. She calls it “the anthem to her teenage years”. The song offers dark and somber lyrics. Her voice dominates throughout the song. There’s hardly any instrument heard but very few.
TRACK 8: COOLEY’S REEL
Sharon puts some additional instruments sounds like banjo (Apparently it’s mandolin! Kudos to Hand_Rian for the correction) and guitar in some of her recent instrumentals (with lively, upbeat style), as far as I’m concerned. So every time I listen to it, I’m reminded of North American country songs, instead of an Irish tune.
TRACK 9: BUTTERFLIES
“Butterflies” features Sharon accompanied by piano. The song is fast-paced, as if she really wanted to emphasize the restless movements of a butterfly. It’s not my favorite but amusing enough to listen to.
TRACK 10: DREAM OF YOU
Sorry, no offense but I have to say this song doesn’t deserve to be the cover. I wish “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime”, “Buenos Aires” or “Smalltown Boy” could replace it. But because this is a song dedicated for Sharon’s son, Cathal Robert Gerard Bonnar or Cal, I must say this is such a breakthrough for contemporary pop music world, which is dominated by men-women love themes. So this song deserves praise for its rarity: mom-kid love theme.
TRACK 11: REAL WORLD
To me, “Real World” has failed to attract me. I have no idea why but it’s just something in it that doesn’t suit my musical preference. Apart from that, the song tells about the loss of youth’s idealism.
TRACK 12: LOVE ME BETTER
Nothing’s special in this very song. It simply sounds plain and dull, which explains why it’s placed in the rearmost part of the album. The country flavor sounds good…for some singers like Shania Twain or Faith Hill, but not Sharon Corr. So I guess.
Sharon Corr’s solo album may be quite impressive in terms of a musician’s idealism. She has been working hard to promote the album. So she earns some praises here and there. She has proven to the world she can be achieving something even after The Corrs are ‘retired’ (which I don’t hope so). She is truly a woman of musical talents and is very much blessed to have vast opportunities to pursue her dream, i.e. music. She is doing these things with overflowing passion and spirit a blind man can see and a deaf can hear. Unhappily, the mainstream market isn’t thinking the same. “Dream of You” isn’t overly hyped. In Indonesia, so far I can hardly find any buzz about the album in local media. Some loyal fans of The Corrs and Celtic music may be very pleased to welcome Ms. Bonnar’s solo debut but it’s hard to expect more than that. But if that is what it takes to be a liberated real musician, I don’t think she will mind.
No matter what, I love Sharon Corr and her fiddle!