A singer/songwriter has spoken of how her passion for music helped her cope during lockdown and gave her hope and solace.
Alison Kealy Hayes has released an album, These Times We’re Living In’, which was penned and recorded during the pandemic.
Alison is from Ballyhale and now lives in Castlecomer. She has worked as a Special Needs Assistant in a special school in Kilkenny for the past 22 years.
“I am very lucky to be able to say I love what I do. But music has always been my passion, and my happy place, but with life in general, years passing, having a family , music passed me by for a while,” she said.
The Kilkennywoman explained how she reconnected with music through meeting up with a legendary local musician, John Travers.
“I rediscovered music when I met back up with the immensely talented John Travers just before lockdown,” she said.
“And within that I rediscovered super singer/songwriters including Joni Mitchell, Kate Wolf, Sandy Denny to mention just a few. These women wrote and sang about every day moments everyday life and memories and I just love the humility and honesty of that.
“The folk genre is the only platform in my opinion for this kind of writing and I fell in love with it all again. I was back out playing every Friday night in the Kilford Arms with John and just loving it,” she said.
The artist shared how she, like many others, found lockdowns tough.
“The lockdowns were very, very, hard for me personally,” she admitted. “I know everybody found it incredibly difficult, but again personally to have just rediscovered music and then for it to be taken away again was devastating.
“However John, being the super positive person that he is, started sending me tunes he wrote and we started sending lyrics back and forth over messenger.
“We started to write songs in this way which is incredibly difficult and often so very frustrating, but nonetheless it worked and I am proud to say that there are two original tracks on the album, one of which is written for my Mam.
“With the help of John, who played all the instruments on all the tracks, and Gavin Carroll at his new studio 28 steps, and in between travel restrictions and being allowed to mix with people safely we managed to complete an album, which I am hugely proud of and thankful for,” Alison continued.
“I can’t wait for life to return to whatever sort of normal we will be left with after Covid-19, but I know one thing for sure, music will be a part of that normal.
“It is a hugely important part of most people’s lives and I am very much looking forward to playing live again.
“Music has kept my head above the water in the very toughest of unprecedented times and I am so thankful to have it in my life again,” she finished.
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