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Austin360 On The Record: Ulla (Irish Invasion)

Peter Blackstock
Irishmen Stephen Carolan, left, and Pat Byrne are part of Ulla, celebrating the release of their first record on Friday at Saxon Pub. [Peter Blackstock / American-Statesman]

Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.


Ulla, self-titled. Fans of Irish music got a welcome surprise earlier this year when Irish expats Andrea Magee, Pat Byrne and Stephen Carolan teamed with ace Austin guitarist/producer Rich Brotherton, long an expert in the music of Ireland, for weekly gigs at the Saxon Pub. Those Sunday shows, initially billed as the Irish Invasion, eventually led to the ensemble being dubbed Ulla when they decided to make a six-song record. With Kris Wade on bass and Stephan Paetzold on fiddle, Ulla sticks primarily with traditional tunes here. Magee and Byrne duet on the opening “Peggy Gordon”; Carolan takes the lead on “P Stands for Paddy”; and Paetzold steps out on the instrumental reel “Fr. Kelly Set.” Two of the best cuts are more contemporary numbers: Magee lends her beautiful voice to Phil Colclough’s “Song for Ireland,” while Brotherton — who played five instruments and tracked the sessions at his Ace Recording studio — sings Johnny Mulhern’s “Mattie.” The set closes with multiple voices joining in sweet harmony on “The Night Visiting Song.” Consider this debut release a taste of what you’ll hear at their regular Saxon gigs, where they might be inclined to cover contemporary acts such as Van Morrison and the Waterboys or dig further into traditional treasure troves. Release show Dec. 6 at Saxon Pub. Here’s a recent live version of “Song for Ireland”:


DEC. 13: Foxtales, “Crossfade” EP, rleease show Dec. 12 at Stubb’s indoor.

DEC. 13: Cowboy Diplomacy, “Burn Down the Road,” release show Dec. 13 at Empire Control Room.

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