THE PAST 12 months have been among the most fertile, creative, and exciting in Galway music for many years. The wealth of talent both produced by Galway city and county has been witnessed by the numerous albums, singles, and EP Galway acts have released in 2017 - much of it of very high quality.
Following a few years of a fallow period, there is now a real sense of a 'scene' having built up in the city again - largely thanks to the work of Citóg Records, FEAST, Rusted Rail, and Hexan Haus, with invaluable support from venues like the Róisín Dubh and The Cellar - all providing spaces where the following artists can record, perform, and display their work. With this in mind, the Galway Advertiser presents the following 'Best of Galway 2017' - take the time to listen and explore further these great musicians we are very lucky to have on our doorstep.
1. Tracy Bruen - 'Mirror'. The opening track from Tracy's outstanding debut album, showcasing the range and ability of her talent as a vocalist and composer.
2. Field Trip - Plant The Seed. This is my choice for THE Galway Song of 2017. There is a sophistication at work here that belies Field Trip's young years. Teenage Fanclub would have been proud to written this.
3. Rofi James - 'Open Eyes'. There is no reason Rofi James cannot break right into the mainstream. Tracks like this show they have what it takes.
4. A Liliac Decline - 'Galaxies Away'. We know Cecilia Danell is a wonderful visual artist. This year she revealed herself as a superb singer-songwriter as well.
5. Eoin Dolan - 'Sea Of Hope'. Catchy sci-fi pop from Eoin's latest album UBIQUE. You'll be singing it all day.
6. Loner Deluxe - 'Winter's Last Fire'. This is what has been called "UFOlk" - play it and you will see why.
7. Ten Ton Slug - 'Slug Grinder'. Turn it up all the way to a Nigel Tufnel approved 11! Galway is now quite a centre for metal in Ireland. This band, led by Connemara's Seán agus Micheál Ó Suilleabhainare, one of the reasons why.
8. Weed Priest - 'Sky Daddy'. Let's keep it metal with this intense, Sabbath-esque, molten lava riffage from the Priest's new album.
9. Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon - 'King Rabbit Stalks Lowlight'. We enter a different soundworld now, in this hauntingly beautiful composition from Aaron Hurley and Scott McLaughlin.
10. Daithí - 'Holiday Home'. 'Modern mind, Gaelic heart' is the very definition of Daithí's approach to music - a deep respect and love for traditional music and culture, with a forward looking embrace of the modern.
11. Half Forward Line - 'Joint Account'. Brian Kelly (as So Cow ) has written many wonderful songs over the years, but in this new guise, he has written his best.
12. The Clockworks - 'You Are The Problem'. Another band with a serious ability to break into the mainstream. They also know how to write a guitar riff - an art that is being lost.
13. Steven Sharpe & The Broke Straight Boys - 'Waterlady'. "I'm gonna get all Bon Iver on your ass," Steven said when introducing this song at his album launch earlier this year - even that won't prepare you for just what you are about to hear.