I am delighted that this project eventually became a reality, and equally delighted I got to name it after and record it in The Laden - aka Verein 08, in Vienna. When I first moved to Austria in 2008, I had had a chat with then Neactains bar tender Emmet Scanlan who informed me of this little secret in Vienna's 8th district. A few weeks later in I went and that was the beginning of my 4 year Thursday night love affair with the Laden.
Run by Dominik Nostizt and family, this intimate venue is the perfect setting for publlic talks, small bands, singer songwriters, film projections, and of course poetry. I have watched travelling artists become immediately charmed by the attentiveness of the audiences, the legendary introductions by Dominik, and the fact that after 10pm nobody is allowed to clap out of respect for the neighbours, and so waving the hands in the air begins.
I chose the tracks for this album on the basis of how well they have been received at various events and shows, while also trying to keep it fresh with some new material. I am grateful to Ultan Conlon for contributing to the album with his beautiful song 'when I fell in love with you', and to Bryan Benner for opening up on the night and playing guitar for Mermaids in the Liffey - a poem dedicated to both Dan Swartz (Treehugger Dan) and Kevin Daly. I hope it's an album you enjoy and I hope too to see you at the next event, wherever it is, whoever we are with, whatever we look like. Good things. Neil