Thursday, 8 December 2011

Aaron Shanley VS Ciaran Lavery - Tour Day 5 (Junkies)

Our short trip between Dundalk and Dublin was beautiful and pretty to say the least.  We drove to Howth to park the car – the most gorgeous place we’ve probably ever seen.  After hanging around and looking at the boats for a while we took the train into Dublin to get on with it.

We left our shit inside and went out onto the street for a smoke where we watched three junkies doing their thing…two dudes and one girl with chlamydia lips and stitches in their faces.  They approached us and tried to sell us crack…we said we were quite alright and then the girl stole my cigarette out of my mouth.  We lived to tell the tale.

Anyway.  Rua Unplugged upstairs in Anseo was awesome.  A lovely little room.  Niall McGarty and Leanne Harte (with Bob) were amazing.  Such stunning tunes.
We played 100% unplugged which was a real trip & Ciaran busted out his beautiful sweet cover of ‘We Found Love’ (which for the record is the best version ever).  Such a fun night!

A&C x

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Aaron Shanley VS Ciaran Lavery - Tour Day 4 (Man & Dog)

Monday morning took us on the curious journey to Dundalk..mostly curious due to my strange knack for getting lost on any road/journey.  After surviving the trip we planned on sourcing out somewhere to rest our travelling bones for the afternoon - many Bukowski discussions later we found ourselves in the Spirit Store ready and primed for the gig.

We were lucky to have RunawayGo for company on stage on the night and the little setting was perfect for their two-part haunting harmonies.  Big thanks to the lads/gal for the scarily good set and banter!

Once again, the whole night was style, and another big thanks to the local bartender for his patience to let us play long into the night...and the local pizzeria for providing us with a first class night-cap that kept us in good stead for our early journey to Dublin the next morn..

A & C

29th November - Rua Unplugged, Dublin
1st December - The Woodville, Lurgan
2nd December - Listening Post, Coleraine

Friday, 2 December 2011

Aaron Shanley VS Ciaran Lavery - Tour Day 3 (love & DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

After simultaneously dreaming about Hell, we woke up, had several cups of coffee and drove to Belfast.  We parked up & everything was cool until we were attacked by ninjas on the short walk to the venue (we won).
Ciaran rearranged the upstairs room of Love & Death with a helping hand from Ben (thanx dude!) & it ended up looking rad like this:

Cedric Has A Name kicked off the night with a sweet set & some seriously cool stories, including my personal favourite about throwing a rock at his friend's head as a kid.

And then that time again - The Hour Of Epic Sadness (Battle Style) busting out tunes old and new.

Big major thanks to Jason, Danny, Jamie, Sir Aaron Rossi, Lyndon, Ben & that memorable white wine.  Oh, & the scary folks at the scary bar where we picked up some beers on the way home. 

A & C x

28th November - Spirit Store, Dundalk
29th November - Rua Unplugged, Dublin
1st December - The Woodville, Lurgan
2nd December - Listening Post, Coleraine

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Aaron Shanley VS Ciaran Lavery - Tour Day 2 (Bridget)

Our second night on the road took us to Saintfield, and more namely Saints cafe on Saturday 26th November.  The venue was perfect and small and full of more than pleasant folk to share our songs with. Fountains Fall opened the show for us in a great way (thanks lads) and after stuffing our faces with some otherworldly foods we played a rousing two hour set, belly's full.  We even got to premiere our rendition of Blue Christmas (that we worked out an hour previous in Maghera)...tiz the season I suppose! The higlight of our night was getting to listen to the razor-sharp poetry of Andrew Gibson - funny as hell and educational, the perfect mix. All in all it was a style evening, with some more new friends (Andrew, get that script to the big screen!!!)..we must thank Saints for their bad ass service, hopefully we will be back again sometime soon..until then...

A & C

27th November - Love & Death Inc, Belfast
28th November - Spirit Store, Dundalk
29th November - Rua Unplugged, Dublin
1st December - The Woodville, Lurgan
2nd December - Listening Post, Coleraine

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Aaron Shanley vs Ciaran Lavery - Tour Day 1 (GhostBusters)

We kickstarted our acoustic tour in the city of culture, Derry, at Cafe Del Mondo last night.  The gig setting was a whole bowl of awesome, in an old thatched cottage full of burning candles and incense, that totally blew us away on arrival.  We decided at soundcheck to perform the gig in true battle style, both on stage, trading songs and stories to a super patient and respectful audience.  The whole atmosphere allowed us to be completely comfortable and open, trying brand new songs never played live before or recorded previous, culmonating in a close to two hour set.  It was a real blast for sure, that wouldn't have been possible without the people who came out and the girls at the cafe (big thanks!)
ps. after the gig we also had to chase some ghosts from the venue - cheap asses never even bought a cd!

Tonight we take to Saints cafe in Saintfield, armed to the teeth with plenty of good spirits and one or two tricks up our sleeves.  We hope to see y'all down there, it's gonna be another great night!

C & A

Tour Shows:
26th November - Saints Cafe, Saintfield
27th November - Love & Death Inc, Belfast
28th November - Spirit Store, Dundalk
29th November - Rua Unplugged, Dublin
1st December - The Woodville, Lurgan
2nd December - Listening Post, Coleraine

Thursday, 24 November 2011

BBC Introducing

Hey y'all,

Myself and The Bad Hearts recently took up an invitation from Rory McConnell to do a few songs live in the studio for his BBC Introducing show...needless to say it was a blast.  Follow the link to hear the results of four songs we managed to lay down, including two brand new and unreleased numbers and a cover of the modern day Bob Dylan, Rihanna ;)

Ps. we also got some airplay of the same session on Jen Long's BBC Introducing show in Wales & England on the same night, a really cool surprise...check out the link for that show

big thanks to Rory, Steven and Philly at BBC Radio Ulster

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Aaron Shanley VS Ciaran Lavery

Two warriors-bound together by one ultimate vision:
...To make really really sad music..
Armed with an acoustic guitar apiece, a full-on assault is currently booked in the following venues on such dates;

25th November - Cafe Del Mondo, Derry
27th November - Love & Death Inc, Belfast
28th November - Spirit Store, Dundalk
29th November - Rua Unplugged, Dublin
2nd December - Listening Post, Coleraine

More dates to be added in the near future

Sunday, 6 November 2011

So, Goodnight - Video Premiere

Here it is folks, the official video for 'So, Goodnight' taken from the EP 'To The Maker of Things' shot by the ever talented Paul McParland of

We shot at two different locations, (Not-so)Funderland and at a house that's been in Paul's family for years.  Though it was perfect for a Blair Witch type/Ghost hunter style video we decided to go with what we both agreed as truer to the song (some day...ill get that proton-pack back on again - sigh)

Anyway, hope y'all enjoy
Remember you can download this song along with the whole EP at iTunes

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Graeme Cousins (Lurgan Mail) Review of To The Maker of Things, Oct 27

Lurgan musician Ciaran Lavery has released his second EP.
It's another accomplished effort by Ciaran, whose voice continues to amaze and inspire in equal measures.
His vocals are befitting of any setting, transcending from Tennessee to Tandragee. His songs transport the listener to a land that time forgot where moonshine flows and people don't have to remember pin numbers and passwords.
Ciaran is familiar to many as frontman of indie folk rockers Captain Kennedy. His solo work ploughs a slightly more introspective furrow though it's sure to be cherished by anyone who leans towards music with heart and substance.
Ciaran's debut solo EP - You Will Be A Stranger Now - was released in May. Less than six months later he follows it up with To The Maker Of Things backed by The Bad Hearts. It confirms Ciaran is not a man to rest on his laurels.
The stand out track on the EP is 'Til You're Leaving' which would not be out of place on a Tom Waits album. It's a tear-soaked ballad of the highest order, which comes to an abrupt end and leaves the listener hungry for more. Elsewhere on the EP Edelle McMahon's soft tones provide the perfect foil for Ciaran's distinctive rasp. The video for 'I Lost' is available on Youtube and can be accessed through Ciaran's webpage ( It's a slick intricate piece of filming by Paul McParland of which tells you everything you need to know about Ciaran Lavery.
Armed with this EP (available via iTunes) major success and prime time airplay are just around the corner for the Lurgan singer.
Ciaran has lined up the following live dates - Thursday November 4 - Auntie Annies (with John Blek and The Rats, 1930s), Saturday December 3 - Crescent Arts Centre (with CornCrakes and Malojian), Sunday December 4 - Black Box

Friday, 21 October 2011

To The Maker of Things Review - David Roy, Irish News

To The Maker of Things is a four-track EP credited to Ciaran Lavery and The Bad Hearts. Rather than the full-on arrangements that will be familiar to fans of Captain Kennedy's material, these songs are more stripped down, whimsical affairs on which Ciaran's smooth, husky vocals take centre stage. In particular the late night lament 'Til Your Leaving' jumps right out with just a lazily strummed acoustic and the raw emotion of Lavery's voice carrying the tune with ease.

There's a smidgen more instrumentation employed elsewhere (piano, mandolin, banjo, box drums) but in general the low-key 'sitting on the porch with a bottle of whiskey and memories of the way we were' vibe cuts through loud and clear - or rather, quiet and clear.

He's in full-on heartache mode throughout the EP, with the gentle, sad country pop ballad Needle and Thread telling a tale of broken promises and cut-off heads.
Soft and gentle finale So, Goodnight enjoys the benefit of breathy female backing vocals to set the mood, also employed to great effect in beefing up the melancholic melodies on opener I Lost.

Its all great, saccharine-free stuff that should be enough to guarantee Ciaran Lavery and indeed The Bad Hearts a residency at any decent dive bar. They'll have the punters crying into their beers even as they scrape together enough shrapnel to buy a CD and a carry-out for after hours listening.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Big List Review - 0ctober 2011

Ciaran Lavery & The Bad Hearts: To The Maker Of Things........4 Stars

Solemn and heartfelt, the opening two tracks of this four song EP thoroughly showcase the Ben Ottewell flavours Ciaran's rasp that first drew attention his way. During his days with Captain Kennedy, Ciaran's voice was always a force of nature but here he explores Tom Waits tones and phrasing, fitting the more laid back direction of The Bad Hearts especially in the too short Til You're Leaving. Ciaran's new outfit give classy support, with some restrained banjo and sweet backing vocals from Edelle McMahon. I found myself waiting for some of the tracks to take off and move towards a crescendo, which nearly happens during Needle & Thread, but even though Ciaran's voice is at its most impressive when pushed and full-bodied, I suppose it's too his credit that he's prepared to leave that in the bank occasionally.

Moving With The Times

Just a short message to let everyone know that indeed the times have caught up with us, long gone are the days of hard copies of albums/e.p's being the norm...although I am deeply sad at this fact, such is the day and age that even Bob Dylan is moving with the times...
To The Maker of Things gets its official release to the world wide web via iTunes (with a really bad ass parental advisory sticker) follow the link....

The e.p also got its very first review from the very god people at The Big List, free entertainment mag kicking around Belfast and nearby.  To read this 4 Star review (awesome) you can do so at the above blog entry :)

In closing, November is starting to shape up like a busy month, with some new gigs announced and some more on the way hopefully I will get to meet some new happy faces along the way


Saturday, 17 September 2011

To The Maker Of Things...

With the iminent release of "To The Maker of Things" the second e.p I thought it I would give everyone a heads up!! some songs are available now for listening pleasure's on soundlcloud, facebook and twitter pages...Also, to celebrate the release, a video by Paul McParland of (independent movie maker and all round genius of sorts) has been completed and currently screening across the world wide web...with all assorted links below, what more could you peeps want from a Saturday afternoon.....

much love


Where were we?

The last month or so has been that of a pretty busy one.  With both the handful of gigs including the always joyous return visit to the Listening Post, Keith and Pete, my first show on stage with The Badhearts Paul and Ed, a new video for I Lost with Paul McParland (whom I owe many bags of gold) and a return to the home studio to start a new session and with it a new chapter, things are nice at the moment.  Alongside everything else, the band (Captain Kennedy)  have been getting back into the swing of things and the anchor has been lifted, so to speak.

I've spent the last while between times writing more songs, I guess mainly from the people ive managed to meet in the last while, and my recent thoughts of a few pals over in San Fran no doubt toasting to the good life (go on lads!)...but where I'm at is a nice place to be right now.

So marks the start of a new chapter, new stranger recording that have already taken brave new risks and a sound that's like the forgotten sibling of the previous sessions (we like), more gigs and new places with new and great's gonna be an interesting time...

In the words of Fionn Regan "it starts with a kick..."


Saturday, 6 August 2011


There you are
standing defnite and real;
definitely real.
And I, like clouds come rolling
without thought or sanity I have made my way here
because I knew you waited,
I know by your stance you waited
and by your eyes you're content I am here.
where shall you take me?



I was one of a lucky bunch who got to play the Forfey Festival today alongside my fellow Captain Kennedy's/Kennedetes and I must admit, it was one of those rare occasions where you feel that you're part of somethin very special that's goin' on.  Personally, I'm not a festival go-er.  Maybe it's watching the Woodstock dvd one two many times, but I've always had that fear that I would just be bitterly disappointed at what should be a gargantuin musical explosion but instead leaves me feeling cold with a runny nose and a bad bad hangover.  Today, however, my faith was restored.  From the old shacks and haysheds to the super snug acoustic area (where everyone was compelled to take the shoes off) I looked around and thought 'now this is a festival I could get used to.'  It was just at the right pace for a recently turned quarter of a century old man as myself (puff puff) and what I thought was impossible was realised in that, dare I say it, it was intimate.  It was like being invited to a big family reunion....i like!!!!

I will sleep well tonight knowing that you're never too old to be converted to festival livin and with my second E.P iminant and a return to the studio in the very near future, I have that to look forward to...til then I will be sure to keep tossin my thoughts out into the ether


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Video Exclusive

I'm very excited to present a brand spanking new video of unreleased song Turning To Rust, recorded at Media Zoo, Belfast by the very brilliant Paul Mc Parland of Mojofilms!

follow the link

Enjoy peeps

Saturday, 16 July 2011


standing in a record store in Tampere, Finland called Swamp Music and I'm thinking about Bob Geldof and what he did in his teens, thinking about what Bob Dylan thinks about when no-one is around.  I was thinking about Shane McGowan and all his crazy nights, about Joy Division and if love will really tear us apart, about James Joyce and how much he missed home and what exactly Luke Kelly said before he died.  I'm thinking about Justin Vernon and how if he knew For Emma, Forever Ago would have had such a major effect on today's music, about Captain Beefheart and what he really thought of Tom Waits, about Eddy Vedder and his favourite album of all time, and what Liam Clancy would put on his ipod at a house party if he was around now.  I am thinking about Bukowski and the love of his life, of Charles Dickens' least favourite person, of Charlie Chaplin and what his voice sounded like and of Staurt Bailie and what his first record he ever bought was.  I 'm thinking of Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, I'm thinking of Pintandwefal and how they're going to be the next big thing, of my friends and people who were my friends but I don't see anymore....everything is good, I think I will buy something here, maybe some Pixies

ps. nice live review from across the line from last weeks show in Belfast


Monday, 11 July 2011


So last weeks shows were a real treat, if anything surprisingly better than I thought they would be (I missed my Badhearts)..but I made it through with few scrapes and bruises and even learned a thing or two.  Acoustic shows are different and hard to know what to expect, so I did what any sane person would do in the situation and expected nothin, it was a WIN WIN scenario.  This is indeed my first expedition into the big bad world of hussly bussly coffee shops/cafes/cafe shops/other but ive been a long term admirer of that setting, so getting a microphone in my face and guitar in my lap was class. The Black Box Green Room gig was as nice as pie, as was the gig in Palomo. I'd like to thank anyone who came to see me, or stayed to watch, or stayed just that bit longer, or inedvertantly were part of the audience, or hated the whole experience, it takes all sorts in this crazy..crazy..crazy..crazy..nights............i mean, world.

I'm making a concsious decision to try to be updateable with the blog (and also to learn the spelling of the word 'concsious').  For some reason ive always been attracted to the mysterious side of communications, for years my mobile used to get me bogged down, and it STILL remains on silent. Whether its the thrill of a missed call or surprise text, or my general beef with ringtones, ill never know...

There is no other song to some up the past week of gigs than this....fight the good fight my friends


Friday, 1 July 2011

EP Launch

The EP "You Will Be A Stranger Now" will be launched with two gigs next week.  Thursday 7th July at the Black Box, Belfast and Friday 8th July at Palomo, Lurgan.  Both gigs kick off at 9pm.  Hope you can make it!  Keep an eye out over here ------> for other gigs....

Friday, 20 May 2011


Dear bloggers,
I'm sittin down here with an empty mug and scribbled notes on my left, to my right two wore out pens, a saucer with crumbs and the Jim Dodge novel, Fup..a class little book ideal for any aspiring nighthawk.
Anyway, while I was searching through different things I stumbled across this and well, why not share it is the eve of the weekend as we know it..

God Bless The Young

God bless the young, they carry the debts of the past
And a light for the future that is carefully passed into their unwrinkled hands
Not tainted by the strain of work
God bless them all

God bless the young, theirs are the golden years
Theirs are the recession years
May the many travelled and potholed road lead them skilfully into uncertainty.
Uncertainty of war, of food, of love
God bless every one

God bless the young, and their smile is a lantern
To watch them play freely on some others borrowed land,
on some others borrowed time
and united close their eyes and dream a young dream
that can never be harmed/touched/understood
God bless that sleep

God bless the young for it's something often forgotten
and seldom held onto
In a world of bottle chasers and heart killers, they are the chosen few
It's their right to be protected
and to stay young

God bless the young
all arms reaching, all tongues lashing, all blood flowing
More alive than the dawn

C (zzzzz...)

Monday, 16 May 2011

New EP available for FREE download

Hey y'all.  The new EP "You Will Be A Stranger Now" is finally here and available for free download at Bandcamp!  All we ask for in return is for you to like this post and share it with your friends on your social network / blog of choice to help spread the good word!  Enjoy!  Just follow this LINK to download!

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Great Parade

For old friends...

People behold! The Great Parade
in all its naked wonder
To cast all stones/phones/creaking bones
and fling all limbs to the sky and those below to the mighty earth
Even the gods will lament when The Great Parade comes to pass.
And we watch all knowing, all beating brilliant bodies,
with lips smacking and brows relaxed
all one to the sights and sounds.
Behold, the awful truth that's left in its wake
and all who choose to ignore it
ignore the wind, ignore the rain, the flashing and the crashing luminous glow,
ignore, if you can
for The Great Parade stops for nothing
not for the headscratchers or armfolders, for the can't/won't understanders;
you lay in its wake.
And we dance the great dance and merry along the strange skin
for we are great and our parade will continue
long into the night....


Sunday, 8 May 2011

pssssst....looky here

In celebration of the official world wide web release of 'You Will Be A Stranger Now' there's a shneaky peak on my Facebook page for all you hip kids out there...follow the link good people!/pages/Ciaran-Lavery/117540161661939


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

You Will Be A Stranger Now...background

Since the release of the short-record 'You Will Be A Stranger Now' is fast approaching I thought it would be a fitting gesture to give some background to the recording itself. 

The entirety was recorded with The Badhearts, who I owe a great deal to..Paul Wilkinson and Edelle McMahon.

The whole thing was recorded in a matter of weeks over the bitter cold winter period, in Paul's pretty remote country hindesight a perfect setting for what we were trying to achieve, which in truth we didn't realise until the sessions were coming together, only that we wanted the record to retain an organic personality.  For that reason, much of the recording was one or two takes with a disregard for blemishes. 

Time between recording was spent listening to old L.P's on the record player or out in the garden throwing stick with Rudey the house dog (love you Rudey). 

Within a short space of time we had what you will hear in its fullness, its sincerity and its the words of Bukowski "you have to die a few times before you can really live"


Monday, 2 May 2011

I was taken by Ciaran's voice - battered, winsome and tender. Hank Williams once said that "you got to have smelt a lot of mule manure before you can sing like a hillbilly" and I wonder what was in the air when this young guy from Lurgan got his style together.  Stuart Bailie, BBC

Ciaran Lavery, the voice at the front of Irish folk-rock act Captain Kennedy, is set to release his debut solo EP “You Will Be A Stranger now” in May 2011.  The EP, available for download on Bandcamp, represents a significant departure from the upbeat, melodic songs that Captain Kennedy are renowned for.  This material is dark and raw with a poignancy that will touch your very core.  
Possessing something of a strained and impassioned rasp of a voice, Lavery relies less on traditional verse-chorus-verse structures and more on lyrical content, both poetic and sad.  His voice, laced with emotion, will instantly demand your attention.  Indeed, sounding more like someone with the fully formed soul of a life well-lived, it is hard to believe that Lavery is still in his early 20’s.      

There's the occasional banjo, slide acoustic, harmonica and solemn female backing vocals but effectively that's it.  Lavery’s richly textured voice is the main instrument on this collection of songs. 

To coincide with the release, a new website has been set up at