I was just listening to this record by my Irish alter ego Shameless Seamus from 2009.
It is essentially a Jim solo record, me playing and writing everything with some great musicians: Suzy Flowers, Elizabeth Geyer, Luke Bonic and Kevin Kelley.
Even though it explored my Irish heritage somewhat, with arrangements of the traditional song 'The Parting Glass' and songs like 'Irish Rose' and 'My Irish Heart', No Vans Mary has a lot of other content, with songs like 'You and Me and The Princes Highway', 'Messenger Birds', 'Strange Beauty' and 'Belangalo'.
I'd actually describe it as my lost second solo album. I don't know that it should be ever found having said that...
It's a first attempt at this type of acoustic/folk genre, if you like. Without trying to sound apologetic (I really like it), it's another musical thread to anything resembling traditional Irish music.
After making this in 2009, I went deeper into traditional Irish music with our band Shameless Seamus and The Tullamore Dews with our album Ballroom of Romance. Then was spawned a love affair with the Irish bouzouki and the music of Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Johnny Moynihan etc. and observing guitar accompaniment to traditional Irish tunes trail blazed by people such as Stephen Cooney, Dennis Cahill, Jim Murray etc which is a world of which I feel like a novice but learning all the time.
I called myself Shameless as I was probably subconsciously afraid that people from my rock past may take issue with it. I feel that now that was a mistake. In a way, Jim and Shameless have now fully merged into the one person. That sounds silly, and clearly is. But life is full of these kind of contradictions.
So here it is.
My second solo effort, No Vans Mary.
Here is the original blurb that came with it.
"With a name like that, clearly this character will go to any lengths – unlike his alter ego the shy and retiring Mr Jim Moginie of Midnight Oil.
‘I had met my birth family and found they were Irish. Inspired by that culture, and tuning into those voices, this record came into being.’
Moginie is adopted but has always felt Irish. Perhaps the Celtic look of him gave it away every time he looked in the mirror – but it was only in recent times that he finally met up with his birth family where the immediate sense of at homeness was as comfortable as his old Aran sweater.
‘It’s more of an outpouring than a normal record. It happened fast. We were lucky to be able to catch it when we did.’
Seamus’ first long playing record, ‘No Vans Mary’ tunes into his Irish heritage, exploring the culture of dislocation. Irish Australian immigrants in a strange landscape, yearning for what they have left behind – but harnessing the power of music to unite both streams to create something new. A battered suitcase, some wild hopes and Irish luck.
Between them, Seamus and Jim played most of the instruments in a marathon session in a drafty shack deep in the Australian bush, in the dead of winter.
‘I made the record deliberately sparse, meaning I could do most of the playing in the process without a band.
Engineer Brent Clark and I threw a laptop and some instruments in a car and headed for the bush… for a bone numbing winters’ 7 days of cold, watching steam rise when we sang, mice running down the power cords, giant eucalypts swishing judging and creaking, wombats-a-thumping, recording songs as we went, with a wood fire struggling and Australian birds making noise they can do.
released March 20, 2018
Jim Moginie (Shameless Seamus) vocals, footsteps, 12 and 6 string acoustic guitars, Gretsch Country Gentleman electric, tiple, tenor and soprano ukeleles, accordion, harmonium, upright piano, ruined piano, programming, optigan, acoustic and keyboard bass, minimoog, percussion.
Suzy Flowers on backing vocals, Elizabeth Geyer on flugelhorn, Kevin Kelly on bodhran and Luke Bonic on drums.
Jim Moginie’s 45 year contribution to Midnight Oil cannot be overstated. He is currently touring with his band The Family
Dog. Jim has toured the world with the AustralianChamberOrchestra. He is a record producer (Sarah Blasko), collaborator(Carolina Eyck, Kev Carmody), film composer and a fully fledged solo artist....more