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Shameless Seamus: No Vans Mary
No Vans Mary
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.
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 (vocals, footsteps, 12 and 6 string acoustic guitars, Gretsch electric, tiple, ukeleles, accordion, harmonium, upright piano, ruined piano, optigan, acoustic and keyboard bass, minimoog, samples, percussion) 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 be a total control freak and do most of the playing without a band. Engineer BC 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 only do.’
Also guesting on the record are Suzy Flowers on vocals, Elizabeth Geyer on flugelhorn, Kevin Kelly on bodhran and Luke Bonic on drums.
‘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.’