Greenshine are Noel Shine, Mary Greene and their 17-year-old daughter, Ellie. It’s also the title of their newly released album, a delightful collection of 14 folk and country tinged songs, book-ended by a classic Beatles track and an Irish traditional celebration of ‘May Day’.
From the opener, Lennon and McCartney’s ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’, right through to the last track, ‘Thugamar Féin an Samhradh Linn’, this new release, with its stripped back acoustic setting, is an affecting and impressive family album. Recorded at home in the West Muskerry region of Co Cork, it’s the first time that Noel and Mary have released a CD featuring their daughter.
“Ellie has been performing with us since she was 14,” says Greene. “Some of the songs on the album have been knocking around for years in demo form — some of my own songs in particular. But the bulk of the work was done in recent times. It got kind of hot and heavy over the summer. So the album was written and recorded over the years, with the final touches put on it this summer.”
Ellie’s older sibling Sadie, though not a member of Greenshine, features on a version of Jagger and Richard’s ‘Ruby Tuesday’. “When we sing together as a family it actually vibrates,” says Greene. “I’ve done a lot of harmony work over the years, working a good bit with Declan Sinnott, doing harmonies with the various artists he’s worked with. But I think it always feels different when you sing with your family.”
“A lot of the music we would listen to would be families like The Carters, The Everleys, The McGarrigles and now I’m listening a lot to The Kings of Leon, another family band. In Ireland, you have The Keanes in Co Galway, The Ó Súilleabháins in Cuil Aodha, The Leonards in Ballyvourney and The Cronins, too.”
The new album presents the songwriting talents of both Shine and Greene, with Greene’s ‘Dancing Boy’ being a tribute to The Band’s Rick Danko, inspired by a rediscovery of the movie The Last Waltz. “Recently, I dragged out the film again. When the two girls (Sadie and Ellie) came in from school they hit on the part where Danko was singing ‘It Makes No Difference’. They were gobsmacked, as I was too. There’s something about the exuberance of Rick Danko... and his appetite for music and the joy he obviously got from music. I got it in my head that I wanted to write something for him or about him, almost like one friend to another. That’s how ‘Dancing Boy’ came about.”
Greene says Ellie brought the Lennon and McCartney tune to the mix. “She’s a huge Beatles fan and it’s one of the first songs we began doing live with her. We learn songs from her and the other way round as well. We’re trying to get her interested in writing songs too.”
Right now, Ellie Shine is finding her feet as a genuine emerging talent. The fruits of her musical nurturing have taken seed and blossomed on this fine new album.
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