Maighread Curran and Stephen Doohan together make Blackbird & Crow, a blues-rock duo from Northwest Donegal. Hailing from the same county as blues legend Rory Gallagher and growing up in small towns steeped in traditional Irish culture, Blackbird & Crow have been moulded by music.
This is more than apparent in their riveting live performances. Ms Curran’s eccentric dancing and impassioned howling over Mr Doohan’s exceptional guitar licks creates an atmosphere that is all too rare in the modern Irish gig scene. B&C are a grounded pair that will likely have no qualms about speaking to audience members after a gig. Their sets are often comprised of both covers and originals, with some of their own tracks being preceded by a comical personal story. The passion and contentment they exhibit while either performing or addressing the audience in between songs energises the crowd and truly engages with music lovers. This is certainly not a subdued, fiddle with phone and sip your drink quietly in the corner type of experience. It invokes movement, participation and excitement.
Blues is a genre of music that no one can truly hate. It speaks to a part of the human spirit that we can all relate to. In recent years such a feeling has been lost amidst more contemporary forms of musicianship such as EDM and Hip Hop. That is not to say these are sub-par genres as opposed to blues. It simply means that they serve a different purpose. Blues’ allure lies in its ability to provide a silver-lining of sorts to some of life’s more taxing endeavours. The greatest blues songs all pull from the glass half-full formula. Considering recent developments in the political sphere and the deaths of some of the world’s most beloved musicians, this may just be what we need. Blackbird & Crow embody this sentiment to the highest degree and they are a must for any music lovers who are looking for a new Irish group to get excited about.
Having now performed on BBC Northern Ireland, Radio Nova and one half of the duo having toured southern USA with great success, the two-piece is beginning to accumulate momentum in the music scene. Tour dates are regularly posted on their Facebook page so if you feel that way inclined do check it for the next dates.
The Blackbird & Crow Ep is currently available on their website (link below) if any of you wish to give them a listen. They will be revealing news of tour dates and other plans in the coming days and the full LP ‘Shock, Shatter, Convince’ will be available in hard copy on their website as well as iTunes.
If you feel like you’re in need of some good, wholesome blues, give Blackbird & Crow a listen.