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Songwriting duo hope to receive lots of Bish Bash Love


By Tom Ryder


O'Connell and Love play Bish Bash on Saturday May 4 (8976716)
O'Connell and Love play Bish Bash on Saturday May 4 (8976716)

Brendan O’Connell and Larry Love – aka O’Connell & Love – are an eagerly-anticipated Bish Bash Saturday act.

Larry is the lead singer of Alabama 3, who made a popular visit to the festival a few years ago. His musical relationship with Brendan spans more than a decade. Brendan co-wrote much of Larry’s first album, Ghost Flight, which was released under the name of Robert Love in 2006.

In 2015 O’Connell & Love released their debut LP, Minesweeping, which featured some significant collaborators, including Pete Doherty and Rumer.

The duo will be hitting the stage with a full six-piece band, including acclaimed country and folk singer Stephanie Clift on backing vocals.

Brendan says: “We're recording a new album at the moment, which is nearly finished – 15 new original songs, some of which we've been playing live already. The record should be out towards the end of the year.

"Our set at the Bish Bash will be a mixture of the three albums we've worked on together, including some tracks from Minesweeping.

“Some of the new songs are more ready to play live than others, and some we've already tested in a live setting. At the Bish Bash we'll be bringing out some that we haven’t played yet, so there'll be some first-timers to listen to.

“We tend to play a mixture of festivals and venues. We haven’t had a lot of live stuff of late because of Larry’s involvement with Alabama 3, where he's the main singer – they've been doing a lot of touring. But we're hopefully going to be doing quite a bit towards the end of the year.”

Fewer collaborations are in the pipeline for the upcoming album. “It sounds a bit more like a band set up all in one room and playing all the songs together. It’s got a ‘Desire by Bob Dylan’ kind of sound to it. It sounds like it’s all been recorded together,” Brendan adds.

“The Bish Bash is going to be a full-band show, there’s six of us. It’s worth saying that because people often think that we're just going to be a duo. The line-up is drums, bass, lead guitar and three vocals. Stephanie Clift is a fantastic singer. It’s a really good, entertaining live band and we try to make it a bit more dancey rock when we're playing it live.”

The Alabama 3 went down very well when they came to Stortford, and Brendan is hoping for a similar reception: “I think what we do appeals to a wide range of people. It’s got all sorts in. It’s not fusion, but it’s bits of Celtic music, blues and country, and also a bit of flamenco-style stuff too – I play a Spanish guitar.

“Since Minesweeping, Larry and I have come together a lot more. Life gets in the way, people aren’t always around and Alabama 3 are often on tour, but now we're getting this album together – and I think it's going to be a very good one – we're going to put a lot of effort into it. We don’t know what it’s going to be called yet though!”

Brendan will be a first-time visitor to Bishop’s Stortford.

“I wasn’t sure quite where it was, so I had to look it up on the map!" he said. "I might have to book a room if it’s a nice place to stay and have a look around. Larry did say that he really enjoyed the festival when he played last time and that it had a good atmosphere. Alabama 3 play a lot of festivals, but the Bish Bash stood out in his mind.”

+ To find out more about O’Connell & Love, visit www.oconnellandlove.com.



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