Fieldish Recording

Available to purchase on band camp:

‘I love what you’re doing with the cassette and wish I had done it myself. The tone of your pipes is just like mine on those old tapes from the 80’s. I hope this doesn't mean that your grandchildren will be releasing albums of digital distortion!' - Ronan Browne

All tracks recorded via cassette tape in Cardiff, Wales, March of 2021.

Jason plays a set of pipes made by Geoff Wooff pitched between

C and B (#62), and a tin whistle by John Sindt pitched in D.

Well, it’s pretty niche, but this is for the fans of all the old Irish music field recordings. Tapes such as these were passed between musicians like sacred relics, sometimes finding their way onto a commercial release, but more often than not locked away within the golden circle. This album is a love letter to those days: it’s personal, imperfect, raw, and immediate.

I recorded this album on my own old Awia cassette recorder, one that was a mainstay in my pipes box since I was a child. It’s recorded many concerts, recitals, lessons, and many of my favourite pipers over the years. I chose some tunes for this album to reflect my 21 year graduation as a piper and my growth from listening to these recordings.

Side 1:

1. Reels: The Silver Spear/Speed the Plough/Miss McLeod’s Reel (3:31)

Some session standards, and three of the first tunes I got from my teacher, Noel Devine. It’s hard to think of the first one without the piping of Seamus Ennis, so there are some Ennis touches in my playing here, without trying to sound too pastiche. The second one featured on Martin Nolan’s solo album, which was given to me on cassette again by Noel. The last was a favourite of Patsy Touhey, but also recorded by Paddy Keenan. Slightly sped up here on tape, feels like a great way to open the album.

2. Air: Buachaill ón Éirne (2:25)

The very first tune in my tune book, I didn’t take to it as a child, I was too busy getting into playing dance tunes. I rediscovered it recently playing along to the song in a local band here in South Wales.

3. Jig: Wallop the Spot (2:38)

I picked this up on my first trip to the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay. I was in Tommy Keane’s class with my bud Christopher McMullan. Tommy taught us how to do staccato triplets with this tune, so I had to put a few in here.

4. Set Dance: Rodney’s Glory (2:49)

I came across this from a recording my dad had of Pat Kirtley on fingerstyle guitar. Not heard often on the pipes, it sits well on the instrument. Apparently based on a Turlough O’Carolan composition.

5.Polkas: Tarmon’s Polka/Sweeny’s Polka (3:08)

A change to the whistle, two common session polkas that I would have learned from Noel Devine. The second tune offers a welcome change in key from a largely piping repertoire on this record.

6. Hornpipe: Poll Ha’penny (1:53)

A lovely piping tune, and one that I had in mind approaching this album after listening to many wrinkly recordings.

7. Mazurkas: The Irish Mazurka/Shoe the Donkey (2:38)

Two nice mazurkas for a change of pace. Shoe the Donkey was a favourite of an old fella who used to attend sessions when I was a kid. I played this at his funeral.

Side 2:

1. Jigs: The Lark in the Morning/The Atholl Highlanders (4:11)

Two session standards. I’ve flipped the second from A to G, something Paddy Keenan does on a pre-Bothy Band recording, which gave this tune a new lease of life for me.

2. Reels: The Flogging Reel/The Twelve Pins (2:44)

This set was put together by Ciaran McPhilemy, who played them along with my Dad (on bouzouki) for a concert in 1998. On the original tape, Ciaran misspeaks the first tune as ‘The Frogging Reel’, which always tickled me. Ciaran is a funny guy.

3. Waltz: The Spanish Cloak (1:58)

Another early tune in waltz time. Great fun to play on the pipes. I dip out on this one before it overstays its welcome.

4. Set Dance: The Job of Journeywork (2:43)

A big piping piece, made famous by the recordings of Johnny Doran. Plenty of opportunity for lovely legato runs.

5. Air/Fling: The Rocks of Bawn/Kitty Got a Clinking Coming from the Fair (4:19)

Two tunes I associate with Willie Clancy, my favourite piper. Lots of wild, emotive piping notes that just sound great on crackle tape.

6. Slides/Polka: Rathawaun/The Hare in the Corn/The Cock of the North/Oh Susanna (4:14)

The first two tunes on here are a famous pairing by the Sliabh Lucra siblings Dennis Murphy & Julia Clifford on the fantastic Star Above the Garter album. The second and third tune are quite similar and a lot of craic to play together. I first heard Oh Susanna played on the pipes by Paddy Keenan, I thought I’d put my own stamp on it here to finish up the album.

Jason Rouse

released May 7, 2021

With thanks to the Rouse family, Noel Devine, Geoff Wooff, John Sindt, Ronan Browne, Russell Bradley, Christopher McMullan, Jade Taylor, Mike Mullins, Martin Gallen, Rick Lines, Na Píobairí Uilleann, South Wales Uilleann Pipers & Lara Davies.