Homeland is Mick Hanly at his very best, always striving to find the ultimate album as the vehicle that will express his innermost thoughts and allow them to sing out to whoever will listen, he paints a beautiful picture on this album of his beloved Ireland, a land of storytellers, singers, songwriters, musicians, a land with spectacular landscapes to pull inspiration from, full of warm, welcoming people, it's a country that punches way above it's weight in the music world, and Mick Hanly has been right up there with the best of them for a couple of decades now.
Born in Limerick, he was inspired by mid-50s rock ‘n’ roll and the Liverpool beat group scene of the Sixties. He soon turned his attention to American folksingers such as, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and emerging singer songwriters, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Canadian songstress, Joni Mitchell. However on first hearing Planxty he immediately fell in love with this fresh take on Irish traditional music. Together with Michael O’Domhnaill (ex Skara Brae) he formed Monroe, and supported Planxty on several tours during 1972 / 73, subsequently releasing Celtic Folkweave, before O’Domhnaill left to form the Bothy Band in 1975.
He spent two years in France and on his return to Ireland, he recorded two acclaimed solo albums for the Mulligan label with Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Declan Sinnott. He then toured Ireland and Europe with Irvine, who had recently left Planxty. In 1983, Hanly joined Moving Hearts as a vocalist, and contributed his own songs to the album Live Hearts. He left the band after 14 months, again to pursue his solo career songwriting, and recorded three more contemporary albums with Ringsend Road Records. His album All I Remember spawned the song Past the Point of Rescue, which was a huge hit in the US for country singer Hal Ketchum. The song recently received the BMI award for Two Million Radio plays in the US.
His songs have been covered by Christy Moore, Mary Black, Dolores Keane, Delbert McClinton and many more and he continues to write with a freshness and vitality that few can match.
' Homeland ' as an album was written with the intent of expressing his feelings for Ireland, a vehicle to create an identifiable sound that would evoke the atmosphere of this beautifully rugged place. Hanly strived to create images through song of what he loves about his home, his land. It might be a windswept island on the edge of the atlantic, but he wanted to say something good about the country he loves so deeply, it's people and it's landscape. Listening to the title track all those feelings come rushing in like the tides from the ocean. The stunning title track is his anthem to Ireland and the reprise at the end of the album is a truly spectacular touch, it sent tingles down my spine, and in that moment, I longed to be there.
' The Good Ship Delirious ' is a fantastic track with a really Irish flavour to it, the musicianship and songwriting are outstanding, a constant trait throughout the recording.
' Attention Sous ' has a wonderfully true and funny story that inspired the track, a tale of when Hanly lived and worked in Brittany in the northwest region of France. Unloading fishing vessels of their catch at the dockside could be dangerous work if the crane operator did not like you.
There are many great stories on the recording, I feel Mick Hanly has found the essence of Ireland, it's as near perfection as it gets to describing the familiar places, but it goes much deeper than anything I've heard for a long time, the way he hangs on the delivery of words, you feel his love for the places he is singing about, that sort of feeling only comes from the heart, from living the experience, Hanly has said that the songs were all written for himself and what he wants to say, when his voice and music sing out, we should all listen because it doesn't get much better than this.
' Homeland ' reunites Hanly with some of Ireland’s most respected musicians, such as The Voice Squad, Donal Lunny, Keith Donald, Eoghan O’Neill, Dave Keary and Ray Fean, it has class stamped all over it. I love this album from start to finish.