While my focus in writing about music is on the songs and artists, not usually the labels and broader scale industry, there are always exceptions. Walled City Records, along with Audio Booth recording studio, make up one such exception. Thunderheads know, of course, that these companies are co-owned by Oran O’Carroll and Damian McGinty, and Damian is the lad who was the original youngest principal singer of Celtic Thunder. Glee fans know him as well, as Rory Flanagan, but at the moment Damian is involved in a new adventure, identifying, developing and promoting new and emerging musical talent in and around Derry, NI.
The newest young artist being promoted by Walled City Records is Eric Daugherty, a 22yr-old ‘electro-pop’ artist from the US who flew out to Ireland earlier this year to record at the Audio Booth studio with Oran. While no polished songs have emerged yet from this project for us to really get a good sense of this fellow, Walled City Records featured him this week on their youtube channel, an early introduction to Eric’s music ahead of his in-progress EP. While these live session videos are generally acoustic so far, Eric’s studio sound is most likely quite different. Knowing the range of music that is occasionally referred to as ‘electro-pop’ in Fort Collins, it is anyone’s guess what Eric Daugherty’s new EP will sound like, but here (below) at least is an introduction to this young man’s acoustic side.
The first of the artists announced as having signed with Walled City Records was Darrell Coyle, a very nice fellow with a musical style and voice that make him seem a bit older than he really is (he really is still only 19). While Darrell only has released one excellent 4-track EP so far (My,My,My) he keeps his fans happy by posting new demo videos on youtube quite regularly. He’s covered all sorts of obnoxious pop songs, so far always improving on the originals by quite a bit, and also posts lots of original songs. His latest original song up on youtube is a more polished version of his “Love Song”; this is one that is just about ready to hop on an album tracklist.
And here’s Darrell’s latest cover video, of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble”. This one’s still a bit rough, but Taylor Swift song or not, I could definitely hear the makings of another solid Darrell Coyle recording in this one.
The second artist to release an EP with Walled City Records is Gem O’Reilly, another teenage singer with lots of musical talent. This lady is an Irish variation on Taylor Swift, and does very convincing covers of Taylor’s songs. Hopefully one of these days the two can meet and spend some time on the same stage, because they’d look and sound fantastic singing together.
In the meantime, Gem’s new EP just recently came out and is doing quite well on the itunes charts. Her music, more than Darrell’s appeals more towards a young audience, which sadly I am getting a bit too old to pretend to. I may still vaguely recall what being a teenager was like, but when I was that young cell phones didn’t exist yet. Still, her songs are well-crafted and likable enough even for old people like me. Her style is a blend of pop, country and folk- in other words she sings songs that could blend in with contemporary pop and country music, but she has actual verses to her songs, and actually knows how to play her guitar, details a lot of teen pop-stars seem to skip entirely these days.
And in case anyone wants to compare Darrell’s and Gem’s versions of the same tune, here’s Gem’s cover of “I Knew You Were Trouble”. Listening to Darrell’s version I was envisioning it as a slow song for an alternative 4-piece rock band, but Gem channels more of the essence of Taylor Swift in her rendition.
Considering that Damian’s Glee/Celtic Thunder fame brings in listeners from around the world, hopefully Walled City Records can evolve some sort of plan for touring their growing collection of talented young musicians throughout the UK, Ireland, the US and Australia. (I’m thinking of something along the lines of a Celtic Thunder style variety showcase at the moment, but I’m sure there are other models that would work too.) In any case a US tour will be ein order sometime so I can add some photo albums of their live shows on my facebook page for these lovely people.