Chatting the ‘Naked Music’ songbook with Eleanor McEvoy

Eleanor McEvoy. Photo: Shane McCarthy
Eleanor McEvoy. Photo: Shane McCarthy

One of Ireland’s finest performers, Eleanor McEvoy, has collaborated with artist Chris Gollon to produce the Naked Music songbook, and it’s a cracker.

Eleanor McEvoy’s Naked Music – The Songbook presents a pioneering collaboration between one of the best known voices in Irish music and acclaimed English painter Chris Gollon. It includes lyrics and melodies from the songs on McEvoy’s 12th studio album, Naked Music, alongside 22 of Gollon’s stunning paintings inspired by the music and in particular the lyrics on that album.

With starkly intimate photographs of McEvoy taken by Shane McCarthy (they’ve been working together for years and years), Naked Music – The Songbook also features an introductory essay by best-selling author Jackie Hayden exploring the nature of such collaborations, alongside interviews with both Gollon and McEvoy about the evolution of their boundary-crossing partnership.

The seeds for this remarkable collaboration were sown when Eleanor purchased Chris’ painting Champagne Sheila from a London gallery when she was planning her next album. Recorded using only her voice and one instrument, and a collection of fiercely intimate songs, Naked Music became the focus for Gollon’s next series of paintings, which ultimately led to the publishing of Naked Music – The Songbook. Art aficionados have already singled out Gollon’s interpretations of McEvoy’s recordings of Deliver Me, Please Heart You’re Killing Me, Whisper a Prayer to the Moon and her inventive reworking of Thomas Moore’s Oft In the Stilly Night for special attention. Naked Music – The Songbook is a boundary-crossing collaboration and an undeniable tour de force in music and art.

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