Ubiquitous Hilltown musician Matt McGinn teams up with local singer Ciara O’Neill for ‘Bubblegum‘, a taster track from McGinn’s forthcoming album release ‘Lessons of War’.
The song takes it’s inspiration from the tweeted teenage diary entries of Bronagh McAtasney (@nornirongirl1981) which chronicle her experiences of growing up in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.
This is a beautifully understated and subtle track with McGinn picking some slow, rich acoustic guitar behind O’Neill’s unique vocal delivery and McGinn also provides some well-judged harmonies on the chorus. O’Neill’s voice has a purity that can’t be faked and it is perfect for this song; it does the source material justice, transporting you straight into the shoes of a young woman living in turbulent times. In the background, Vyvienne Long on cello provides some added depth and texture to the sound without over complicating things. This is, at heart, a simple but deeply moving song taking in key events of the 1980’s – where else would you hear the lyrics: “Daddy pinned up Bobby Sands for me / Right next to my Madness poster”
Deceptively simple, evocative and moving – surely any songwriter should be aiming for that. McGinn and O’Neill do just that on ‘Bubblegum’, and they do it spectacularly well.