A LAZARUS SOUL
A Lazarus Soul (Brian Brannigan, Joe Chester, Julie Bienvenu & Anton Hegarty) is the latest addition to the Bohemia Records roster. They bring their unique brand of raw, genuine, unmistakably Dublin inspired story telling to an Irish music scene characterised, as ever, by a burgeoning range of eclectic talent pushing the envelope in every conceivable direction. Songwriter Brian Brannigan rejoins the fold at a time when reflecting social issues through art with a very personal fire that cannot be ignored is more important than ever.
May 2019 sees the release of the band’s fifth album, “The D They Put Between The R & L”, a record of passion, reminiscence and societal discontent.
Brian says of lead single “No Hope Road”…. “I had a great love of reggae music & Bob Marley was my introduction and probably my first musical hero. Every summer in the working class estates of the north side of Dublin (and I’m told the south side too) Marley would blare out of the “2in1’s”, our name for what was a small ghettoblaster, tape deck & radio. I was always fascinated by Marley and would be glued to any documentary on T.V. My brother had a copy of “Legend”and a rather exotic import, the live “Babylon By Bus” which he got from my auntie in London. This song is my attempt to articulate why Dublin people had such a soft spot for Bob. Like any great artist, you don’t get a proper sense of them from a collection of singles. It wasn’t until my teens when I got to hear “Catch A Fire” or “Talkin’ Blues”, that I really knew what Marley was about and my obsession grew.“
Brian Brannigan was nicknamed Lazarus by his mother. She was told he wouldn’t survive at birth & when he did, he was diagnosed with a form of Spina bifida. He pulled through major surgery early in life, only to be diagnosed with cancer in his teens. A mixture of good fortune & surgery saved him again. However this trauma had a huge effect on a young mind & songwriting became his coping mechanism, his way of figuring out the world. His songs became those of A Lazarus Soul & Brannigan has gone on to build a reputation as one of Ireland’s finest lyrical commentators.
The first 3 ALS albums, ALSRecord (2001), Graveyard of Burnt Out Cars (2007), Through a Window in the Sunshine Room had revolving cast of musicians from other Irish bands including 10 Speed Racer, Mexican Pets, Future Kings of Spain, Sunbear & Rollerskate Skinny. However, they all heavily featured the music of, and were produced and arranged by, one of Ireland's finest producers / musicians, Joe Chester.
After becoming a father, Brannigan all but quit playing live until he was asked (at a 2 year old’s birthday party) to play a tribute gig to his hero, Mark E Smith. He asked Joe, Julie Bienvenu (Lines Drawing Circles) & Anton Hegarty (Future Kings & ALS stalwart since “Graveyard” days) to accompany him. With only an hour’s rehearsal, something very special happened in Stoneybatter that night, the line-up of ALS solidified.
Together they released “Last of the Analogue Age” in late 2014. It was made album of the week by John Meagher (Newstalk), Alan Jacques (Limerick Live95) & Dan Hegarty (2FM). It was included in many end of year top ten including the Irish Independent & Newstalk. It was album of the year for Tom Dunne (Newstalk), Alan Jacques (Limerick 95) & Paul Page (Between The Bars blog / Whipping Boy).
The same year, ALS was invited to play live on RTE Radio 1’s Arena, Other Voices Music Trail & Newstalk’s Pet Sounds end of year broadcast. They were also invited to play the Abbey Theatre, where they stunned a packed theatre with a rendition of the Midday Class.
They were included in Tom Dunne’s / Sunday Times’ 100 Irish Albums To Love in 2017.