SomeRiseSomeFall is a music project employing the talent of Cork-based songwriters and musicians. Lead by project director Michael Fitzgerald , the ever evolving collective brings together artists and vocalists such as John Blek, Rowan, Anna Mitchell, Kevin Herron, Marlene Enright and a large cast of musicians with producer Brian Casey , videographer Allie Glynn and artist Riona Ni Riagain , all with the aim to interpret & reimagine songs for this unique new release. Michael Fitzgerald (FITZZ Records) established the SomeRiseSomeFall collective to highlight the transformative powers of music and collaboration.
FITZZ Records funds community projects with all proceeds going towards assisting organisations to help those facing mental health and other challenges. The album ‘No Simple Highway ’ pairs carefully selected songs and performers for new interpretations and recordings of songs written by the likes of Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter, Joanna Newsom, Beth Gibbons, Jimmy Lafave, Eilen Jewell, Country Joe McDonald. Roy Wood, Greg Trooper, David Ball, Jackson C Frank, Eliza Carthy and The Milk Carton Kids. These poignant recordings, recorded before the onset of Covid, resonate even more in these difficult times and provide a defiant statement of love in the face of loss.
Starting with Thought Dreams, performed by Anna Mitchell, the moving arrangement and evocative performance sets the tone for the whole album. Mitchell's enchanting vocal brings comfort into the song and a hint of optimism with the line it's not over. She is a key figure on the album, lending her voice to four tracks in total. Funny Time of the Year, despite its title, is a slow and deeply introspective number bringing the sense of reflection and the "what ifs" into play. Mitchell shows her range here, accompanied by haunting arrangement, adding another layer of meaning to the record.
Beautiful piano and string based arrangement of Swansea, re-imagined by Rowan, slightly changes the mood yet the nostalgy and the sadness overhead remains. The vocal is carrying seemingly too much sentiment along yet if you listen carefully you realize it's just appropriate to give the song what it needs. Their take of Years Gone By send shivers down your spine when you hear poignant lines such as " when you go I don't know myself anymore" or " time's the thief and stole the show"
Kevin Herron joins the talented team with The Beauty of You, turning it into a mellow ballad with a country twist. A powerful track that's asking the listener to pour a whiskey and that not only intensifies the experience but also helps to face the pain.
Another key figure of the project, acclaimed singer/songwriter John Blek, follows the theme of sadness and loss with Biologically Blue. Simple piano arrangement makes the song very touching and shows why Blek is so highly regarded."i know she'll love again I just can't say how soon"
I Remember You is seemingly more upbeat than the majority on this collection yet lyrically it fits right in. There's nostalgia, regrets, memories. John Blek's vocal has everything you imagine for a singer to have to do such song justice.
Given the theme and the direction of this album, it's not an easy listen, you have to brace yourself to put it on but once you do, you'll find once again there's a beauty expressed in these songs and there's healing. No shame in crying, it helps the heart and soul.