Muireann Bradley

Ireland’s blues and folk prophet in Castlebar this weekend

MUIREANN Bradley is a 17-year-old finger picking guitarist and singer, who grew up in the hills overlooking the Finn Valley, just outside Ballybofey in Co. Donegal.

Muireann performs primarily Country, Ragtime and Piedmont style blues from the 1920s and '30s. Her influences include Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Elizabeth Cotten, and Memphis Minnie, to name a few. She delights in interpreting and performing the music of these early blues masters, always putting her own unique stamp on the tunes.

Muireann grew up surrounded by guitars and old blues and began playing at the age of nine when she convinced her father to buy her first guitar and teach her. She worked hard and learned to finger pick in various old blues styles. However, as she got older she began to invest more time in the sports of boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which she trained and competed in successfully from a young age.

This led to the guitar and music beginning to take something of a back seat. Then in March 2020 when the first Covid lockdowns happened all contact sports were shut down and Muireann rediscovered her love for the guitar and the old Blues that she had grown up with.

Now listening and practicing with a new intensity and focus, she decided to start posting videos on YouTube and the first - her rendition of Blind Blake's 'Police Dog Blues' - has now had over half a million views.

She was contacted by Tompkins Square Records, in San Francisco, who suggested she record an album. The songs and instrumentals were all recorded in studio, in one, or two takes. Done so, in an attempt to make the process as similar as possible to the original, classic country blues artists of the 1920s and '30s.

These recordings would become the album I Kept These Old Blues, which was released in early December.

Muireann recently went down a storm performing on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, on BBC, and she has also starred on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show.

The great Arlen Roth has described her as 'a natural!'. Jorma Kaukonen said: “That kid is really good and I don’t mean really good for a kid, I mean REALLY GOOD.”

While Stefan Grossman said: “A wonderful player, I can now retire, the torch has been passed.”

In what is anticipated to be the Gig of the Year in Castlebar, Muireann Bradley comes to The Ruby Room of The Royal Theatre in Castlebar this Sunday night.

For further info, visit Tickets (limited availablility left) can be purchased at eventbrite