The reanimated Honest Ulsterman is now online, and it’s a treasure chest of prose, poems, features and interviews, including one conducted with myself by Darran Anderson, who wrote easily the most incisive review of SWGATR for Stinging Fly last year. Here’s the link, and be sure to explore the rest of the mag. Great stuff, and congratulations to all.
Honest Ulsterman online


Isaac Miller

Weird, cool, majestic, dark, brooding, intense. These are the kinds of words used to describe the Revelator Orchestra’s universe. Their performances can – in a heartbeat – lift you from the space you inhabit to a crimson throbbing place, a place with a soundtrack of primal beats and web-like words, Murphy wearing black feathered wings and blacker eyeliner, climbing across legs, tables and glasses, presenting us with his id while the ego watches in terror, as Acko beats a wailing guitar into submission, and a beautiful woman screams in an ethereal way, and takes you to the very core of yourself while your neck tingles.

Murphy, in black, with earrings, skull rings, has an intensity that nails your boots to the floor. He’s the kind of guy that knows his way around a drum kit, having been a founder member of The Tulips and Grasshopper while simultaneously establishing himself as one of Ireland’s foremost music and arts writers, popping up on RTE’s The View on a regular basis, or interviewing Lou Reed, Patti Smith and James Ellroy, and then becoming an acclaimed author, nominated for the Costa First Novel Award with John the Revelator.

Murphy’s second book Shall We Gather at the River is the inspiration for the album The Brotherhood of the Flood. The book tells the stories of nine men who give themselves to the Rua river in the town on Murn in winter 1984. Punk legend Richard Hell described it as “majestic and squalid at the same time, as if the Bible were actually about Elvis. The rhythm and music carry you like a baby on a raft on the river, but it’s the precision of the words that cinches you.”

The Revelator Orchestra was born in 2009. Following on from an open-mic night, Acko suggested they set Murphy’s words to a musical score. Their debut albumThe Sounds of John the Revelator, released on the Mudbug Club Label in 2012, was compared to Tom Waits, the Velvets and William Burroughs. Hot Press described it as the end of the world news narrated by the preacher from the black lagoon, scored by Aphex Twin’s evil siblings and directed by Hieronymus Bosch” while declared it somehow combines the weirdness of Poe with the coolness of the Beats over a soundtrack that might’ve been created by the Velvet Underground…”

Acko busked and gigged with Kila and The Frames back in the day. He’s music with a capital M – frontman, songwriter, composer, recording engineer, and since 2005, producer. Now, on stage, he’s the man with a Takamine slung over his shoulder, finger on the sample trigger. “Acko was that guy in your class who knew all the cool bands,” says Glen Hansard.

Then there’s Ms Paula Cox, a woman so impossibly pretty as to be untenable, a scattering of freckles across her perfect features that look like they were drawn by Disney. Cox was the lead singer with The Bush, The Tree, and Me for years and was signed in 2000 to Epic, counting Blur, The Strokes and Jarvis Cocker among her many fans. She has sung on and composed for film scores, and has written, arranged, sung and co-produced many of the tracks on the forthcoming second album.

In the last year, as well as completing work on the new album, The Revelator Orchestra played shows in Wexford, London and at Wales’s Portmeirion No. 6 festival. They’ve recorded and performed with Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames, the Swell Season) and also contributed a track to Kevin Godley’s Whole World Band app. The band will perform the album ‘The Brotherhood Of The Flood’ in the Workmans Club on Sunday April 13th at 8pm.

Watch ‘Isaac Miller’ online:

Friends, The Revelator Orchestra are excited to announce our first Dublin headline gig at the Workman’s Club on Sunday April 13th. To mark the event we’re putting online a live performance video for the track Isaac Miller, a taster from our forthcoming album and show The Brotherhood of the Flood.
To all the good Dublin folk we’ve performed with, recorded with, roadied for, written about, interviewed, produced, drank and consorted with over the past two decades: come on down – we’d love to see you there!
Isaac Miller

Double-barreled pump-action: Faber’s shipment of Shall We Gather at the River paperbacks, in shops April 3rd, plus the finished, mixed, yet-to-be-mastered CD of the Revelator Orchestra’s forthcoming second album The Brotherhood of the Flood. Hallelujah!

Here’s one from the crypt. Myself and The Big Mac and his mate Stephen cooked up a wee promo video for my first book John the Revelator back in January 2009. The two lads shot it on zero budget, using chewing gum, string, a fireplace and some old curtains. Neil Gaiman was kind enough to post a link to it on his blog and it jumped about 6000 views overnight. It cracked us up when we read mention in reviews about The Might Of Faber’s Publicity Machine being applied to the book.
Here it is, having since logged some 70,000 views:
J the R promo

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