“Visualize a Celt in the Cotton Club.”
Chris B. Donohue, Nashville
Tara O’Grady’s 4th studio album IRISH BAYOU, a tribute to the Irish in New Orleans, will be released March 17, 2015.
Elizabeth Taylor’s features, Billie Holiday’s voice, Audrey Hepburn’s fashion sense, and a combination of Cole Porter’s writing style with a touch of Nellie McKay’s quirky lyrics. Tara O’Grady is the full package, combining celtic, folk, funk, blues, and especially jazz in her unique style.
Featured on BBC Radio 2 in the UK and WFUV 90.7 in New York, Tara’s soulful and lilting vocals have been compared to Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline. WFUV’s John Platt chose Tara as one of his three new music discoveries of 2013 that the station is most excited to get turned on to. And her third album, A Celt in the Cotton Club, made the Irish Voice Newspaper’s Best Albums of 2013 list.
Since she flew on to the scene, this songbird has received rave reviews. Hollywood Mega-Star Bruce Willis proclaimed his love of Tara’s voice and band one night in Manhattan when he stormed the stage to sing along with her. Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy expressed at his tribute that Tara’s performance of ‘Minnie the Moocher’ was better than the version in his 1984 film The Cotton Club, co-written with Francis Ford Coppola.
She recently completed a memoir about her cross country road trip sponsored by Chevrolet and was featured as a cover girl on Automotive News’ commemorative edition of Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary, November, 2011.
Awarded as one of Irish Voice’s Most Influential Women of 2010 presented by Ireland’s Prime Minister, her debut album, Black Irish, released in August of 2010, is a collection of Irish songs she grew up listening to as a child. Her unique rendition of Danny Boy is featured in a BBC documentary award winning film celebrating the song’s 100th anniversary, premiered in Ireland and the UK in November 2013, and in March 2014 at the Craic Fest Irish film festival in Tribeca. It was up for Best Documentary at the IFTA’s April 2014, Ireland’s version of the Oscars.
WATCH CLIP of Danny Boy
Black Irish also caught the attention of Nashville’s elite, and within a few months of its release, Tara was writing original songs and recording in Music City, Tennessee with the finest musicians in the industry. Her second album, Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, was released in April of 2011. Her contribution to the Christmas canon can be found on the 2012 album Together for Christmas: A Contemporary Celtic Christmas Collection, along with Cherish the Ladies, The Celtic Tenors and Larry Kirwan of Black 47. Her third album, A Celt in the Cotton Club, was released in April 2013. In March 2015 she releases Irish Bayou. It features original songs in a gumbo of genres – from zydeco and rockabilly, to folk, funk, swing and blues – plus a modern take on Louis Armstrong’s 1926 song ‘Irish Black Bottom,’ a Charleston version of the tin pan alley classic ‘My Irish Molly O’ and a funky but moving twist on the African-American spiritual ‘Dem Dry Bones.’ As Louis Armstrong once stated, “All music is folk music, I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.”
Raised in New York City on Irish traditional music, as well as the sounds of Elvis Presley, Glenn Miller, Hank Williams, Louis Prima, Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra, Tara spent every summer on her grandparents’ farm in Donegal, Ireland where she listened to her granny Nora singing in her kitchen.
Tara is a sought after artist and has performed in New York at Birdland, Smalls Jazz Club, Lincoln Center, Rockwood Music Hall, Swing 46 Jazz & Supper Club, and holds court weekly at the Refinery Hotel and NYLO Hotel in Manhattan. Her band has toured the globe from Ireland to Austin to New Orleans, as well as music festivals including the An Ri Ra Irish Music Festival in Butte, Montana, the Hooley on the Hudson Irish Music Festival in New York and the Craic Fest, Manhattan’s Irish film festival.