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A Conversation with Gráinne Duffy


By Ken Wallis.


Gráinne Duffy is taking the blues scene by storm with her powerful vocals, her mastery of the guitar, and her insightful song writing. She hails from Ireland and her newest release, Voodoo Blues, is a remarkable work that showcases her abundance of talent. She’s toured extensively through Europe, Australia and Canada and can’t wait to get back on the road again when the pandemic is over.


Ken Wallis interviewed Gráinne Duffy for the radio show Blues Source International. Excerpts from the interview are below.




Ken Wallis

One of the joys of hosting a radio show that features international blues music is you get to hear some music you don't normally hear…and such is the case with Voodoo Blues by Gráinne Duffy. She’s joining us all the way from Ireland. It's a terrific CD, and Gráinne, thanks for coming on the show


Gráinne Duffy

Oh thank you so much for having me Ken I'm delighted to be on the show


Ken Wallis

Now I must admit that this is the first album of yours I’ve heard…I understand that this is your fifth album?


Gráinne Duffy

Yeah well my fourth studio album and my fifth album including the live record


Ken Wallis

Do you feel that this is a natural outgrowth of your previous albums or is it something completely different?


Gráinne Duffy

No, I actually feel like it's very much a mix of my first and second albums and grows from there. My third album was the live one and my fourth album was a slightly different direction. I feel like this one is basically a mix of my first and second records and kind of grows from there.


Ken Wallis

And what got you interested in music in the first place?


Gráinne Duffy

Well I think I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where there was a really good music festival called the Harvest Time Blues Festival and we were so fortunate to have some amazing musicians play at it and it was an international festival…there were bands and artists that came from America and came from overseas everywhere and one of the people I was really enthusiastic about was Peter Green, and also Van Morrison, but really it was Peter Green who turned me on to the blues he's fabulous …


Ken Wallis

When he started Fleetwood Mac he just took the place by storm…he was a great guitarist.


Gráinne Duffy

I think he was one of a kind…I think he was the best British blues man there ever was

Ken Wallis

So what did you start with first…did you start singing first or did you start playing guitar first?


Gráinne Duffy

I started singing first…I grew up in a small village and in that village there was a local choir like a holy church choir, so I was singing in that and I remember I got my first solo, and I think actually that was the first ever solo. It really made me enthusiastic about singing and I remember people were very nice to me afterwards and I just loved the experience. A lot of other people felt it nerve-racking but I loved the experience of singing and I found it very therapeutic…and then I just really got into listening to so many different types of music and singing, pretending I was on big stages while I was singing in my bedroom, like every young girl I suppose


Ken Wallis

How did you come about the decision to name your album Voodoo Blues?


Gráinne Duffy

I think I felt like this record really was very much inspired by blue singers, I've been listening to… so much Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton and I was listening to like all the old blue singers, and when I wrote this I wanted there to be a sense of mysticism, and I loved that whole idea of voodoo, like magic, and everything vodoo, so I think the mix of how I felt and the blues…it just came about and then that song ended up being one of the songs I felt strongest about on the record, so I thought it was the perfect title.

Ken Wallis

When you go to write your music do you start with the lyrics first or do you start with a guitar riff?


Gráinne Duffy

That's a good question…actually strangely enough for a singer…I always start with a guitar part or a hook or something that inspires a melody, but, it usually comes from the guitar. I actually recently have been making voice memos on the phone, if I don't have my guitar with me. I usually sing them so it's starting to change a bit…I'm starting to sing more and then work from the singing back to the guitar

.

Ken Wallis

Interesting…you have such a wonderful voice and it really comes across on the album. If someone had not heard your music before how would you describe your music to them?


Gráinne Duffy

Oh good question. I would call it…I suppose like a rootsy blues with a splash of rock and roll.


Ken Wallis

That's a perfect description because that's basically what it is. You've toured Europe extensively and I believe you've been to Australia as well, any plans to come to North America?


Gráinne Duffy

I have been to Canada…I love Canada and I have been fortunate to played in The Mont Tremblant International Festival, and I also played Kincardine…there's a music festival in Kincardine and I’ve played a few other clubs in Toronto as well… I would love to return.


Ken Wallis

I'm absolutely stunned that I missed you…I'm always at Mont Tremblant…I can't believe I missed you.


Gráinne Duffy

We played on the main stage where everybody sits outside…I loved it…I absolutely loved it.


Ken Wallis

I think it's one of the premier festivals in Canada without doubt.


Gráinne Duffy

Well I’m glad I got to experience it that's for sure.


Ken Wallis

With the pandemic have you been doing anything special…more writing? What's your life been like?


Gráinne Duffy

Yeah it was interesting…we actually finished the record before the pandemic because we started it in England working with two musicians, and then for the end of the record we had still some vocals and guitar parts to do and it worked out brilliant because we were able to do them at our home studio, and we sent them over. We were really nervous about how is this going to work, and it actually proved that it worked really well, and that was something that was totally new. And then I also had a baby during the pandemic who's now three months old

Ken Wallis

Oh boy..I bet that's keeping you busy

Gráinne Duffy

You said it…Absolutely !


Ken Wallis

Most importantly where can our folks get a hold of your album ?


Gráinne Duffy

On my website Gráinneduffy.com and from there they get a link to the cart…but it's also downloadable from all of the main distributions online…distributors like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon etc.


Ken Wallis

I always encourage people to buy and support artists rather than streaming so hopefully people go to your website

Gráinne Duffy

That would be wonderful.

Ken Wallis

Thank you so much for your time …it's been great chatting with you. Again the album is Voodoo Blues by Gráinne Duffy and thank you so much for your time

Gráinne Duffy

Well I hope I can get to buy you a pint at the Temple Bar soon Ken




Website: www.grainneduffy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GrainneDuffyOfficial

Twitter: twitter.com/grainneduffy