Lullabies for Trying Times
A mix of Gaelic traditional tunes and contemporary songs in English make this a lullaby album for the parents who want more than the usual lullaby.
"Lullabies for Trying Times" is a collection of Gaelic and English lullaby songs, which Ross Crean created for his mother, Charleen, who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in July of 2014. "My mother begged me for years to record a lullaby-type album," Crean said, "as did many of my friends who were having children. The only thing they all requested was that I make it listenable and interesting for them as adults, so I chose a few traditional favorites as well as composing a few original songs."
During the pre-production process, Ross' mother was diagnosed with terminal Pancreatic Cancer. "After my Mum's diagnosis, I knew immediately that I had to record 'Siúil A Rún'. She sang that song all the time when I was a baby, and it was my chance to pay her back with a gift of that song, so I did a version that she would have enjoyed." Charleen quickly succumbed to the cancer three weeks after her diagnosis. "All we could do was watch," Ross said, "and when she was close to the end, I was able to bring in a copy of the song, and let her hear it. At that point, she was very incoherent, but when I asked her if she wanted to hear the song, she said a very solid YES. I put the earphones in her ears and let it play. I saw tears, and I knew I had gotten it to her just in time. She was still in there, and above anything else, I was so grateful to have that last chance. She was always the first one to listen to my songs, and I was damned is she didn't get to hear that one."
Many of the songs on "Lullabies for Trying Times" are piano accompanied, but also included the drone-infused "Taladh Chriosta", the folk guitar driven "A Fighter's Lullaby" (originally written for the CHERUBS Organization, which helps raise funds for children with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia disorder, also known as CDH), an orchestral accompanied version of the traditional song "Bheir Mé Ó", and the song "All Through the Night", in which Crean uses harp and clarinet to reflect the sense of innocence the words convey.
A tear-jerker here is the song "Madeleine", which tells the story of two inseparable 6-year-old children who were fighting leukemia at the children's hospital Ross volunteered. "Yes, some of these songs are sad in nature,"Ross said, "but I think those that know and hear the story are able to keep in perspective what an amazing connection these two kids had between them. When one was dying, the other one said, 'I'll be right behind you', and kept his promise, passing away two days later. You never expect children to say things like that, or even know how to console others. That's what made this pretty incredible to me."
BIO Award-winning singer-songwriter and composer, Ross Crean, began his professional career as an operatic Bass-Baritone, specializing in avant-garde and 20th century classical music. A graduate of Illinois State University in Music Theory/Composition, he has worked with Stephen Taylor, Augusta Read Thomas, and Nancy Van de Vate. He began training in several vocal styles in his teens, including rock, opera, sean-nos (traditional Gaelic singing), and Indian and Middle Eastern vocal ornamentation. Crean's three-octave range brought him several opportunities to perform pieces that required considerable vocal acrobatics. His emotionally-violent compositions "Missa Dementia", "The Mysteries of Uncle Archibald", and "Xenophysius Obscura" brought the composer/performer a lot of critical acclaim in Europe. By the age of 25, he had performed with the Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, and Moscow Symphonies, as well as the Parisian Chamber Consort.
In 2005 Crean founded his own record label, Knight & Thorne Music, and has performed worldwide as a solo artist, from the The Knitting Factory to Carnegie Hall. His critically acclaimed albums "Blackwater" and "Lovers and Other Kinds of Monsters" have been featured on Skope TV, Much Music, Fuse TV, and Comcast OnDemand.
You can see and hear more of Ross Crean's work by going to www.rosscrean.com.