Cormac Neeson, the lead singer of Northern Irish rock band THE ANSWER, has inked a deal with the independent label Social Family Records (SFR). The label will be responsible for the re-release of Neeson‘s Americana/country soul/blues-based debut solo album, “White Feather”, which has been well received in his home territory of Ireland and the U.K., charting at No. 4 on the U.K. national country rock albums chart, as he looks forward to taking his new sound and band on the road, with the USA and Australia firmly within his sights.
“This feels like the perfect fit for me and for a record that represents a big part of who I am,” said Neeson. “Delighted to re-kindle my connection to Australia and looking forward to getting this music into a lot of ears across this big old globe of ours.”
“White Feather” was recorded in Nashville and offers flourishes of country soul, Americana, folk and blues. It is slated for re-release in 2020, with the first of the singles to hit in September.
Neeson blazed the road to rock ‘n’ roll glory for the better part of a decade, touring the world, sharing stage supports with the likes of AC/DC and THE ROLLING STONES, achieving both fan and peer respect as not only an outstanding vocalist but consummate performer. Yet, recessed deep within his creative subconscious lay a creative music and Celtic narrative that constantly gnawed for release from the straight jacket of rock ‘n’ roll.
It is well documented that the last THE ANSWER record, “Solas” (2016), arrived unexpectedly, borne from moments of solitude, darkness and desperation. This was in part inspired by Neeson’s journey from the edge of personal trauma as he overcame his first-born son Dabhóg‘s premature, life-threatening and complicated birth. Following “Solas”, Neeson decided it was finally time to reach for something different.
Following three intensive songwriting trips to the USA over a period of 15 months, the album was recorded in 2018 in Nashville at the legendary Studio 19, now the Sound Kitchen. Cormac immersed himself in the rich musical history of both the studio and the city, channelling a re-energized creativity working with some of the finest Nashville musicians, including Steve Grossman (Gibson Miller band, India Arie) on drums, Doug Kahan (Cody Johnson) on bass and John Heinrich (Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and Tammy Wynette) on pedal steel.
Following the album tracking, he returned to complete dubbing and mixing in Belfast where he brought in some of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians to help with final arrangements. The result is a powerful blend of two diverse and rich musical cultures, a Celtic Nashville concoction connected by Neeson‘s unique vocal tones and songwriting prowess, performing songs co-written with leading USA and Nashville country songwriters, including 2016 Tennessee songwriter of the year Corey Lee Barker, Steve O’Brien, Blue Miller, Chase Akers, Blake Densmore and Allen McKendree Palmer, who between them have sold in excess of 30 million songs.
In February 2019, Neeson became a brand ambassador for the learning disability charity, Mencap NI, a partnership that stemmed from Mencap‘s instant connection with the lyrics of the song “Broken Wing”. In 2014, his son Dabhóg was born three months prematurely with Down’s Syndrome and the impact of that life-changing experience had such a lasting and profound effect that Neeson sought solace in penning an autobiographical and emotional account of his inner thoughts and what it’s like to bring up a child with disability. It’s no surprise then that much of the powerful subject matter of the “White Feather” album is rooted in the life-changing events of the past five years.
In “White Feather”, Neeson has shed a skin, revealing something about himself that defies all previous perception. In the acclaimed words of Dylan, he has decided that everyone should see what he knows about himself.