Birr"s Mundy will next week release his first studio album in four years.
Strawberry Blood will be released nationwide on Friday next, April 17.
If you thought Mundy was just about big, pop songs such as July, Mexico, or indeed, the most downloaded song of 2007 and 2008 Galway Girl, then his latest collection boasts fourteen great songs to make you throw all your preconceptions out the window.
Strawberry Blood, Mundy"s fourth studio album and most accomplished to date, was recorded in Grouse Lodge, Co Westmeath and the Cauldron, Dublin, by Joe Chester. Strawberry Blood features an intriguing cast of contributors including Shane McGowan (Love is Casino), Gemma Hayes (Fever) and Interference man Fergus O"Farrell (Pepper in My Dreams).
Strawberry Blood is the long-awaited follow up to the Number One album Raining Down Arrows (2004). The subsequent tour was documented on Live & Confusion, a stopgap live album and DVD that impressively notched up double platinum sales and delayed Mundy"s return to the studio due to the unexpected success of the live versions of "July" and "Galway Girl".
A chance run-in with Joe Chester at an airport led to a long discussion about recording and mutual favourite music and then to some casual recordings.
'Joe"s work was so good,' Mundy remembers. 'We tried out a few demos but they sounded like keepers. There was no need to hire a big name name producer.'
The result is a beautiful and uplfiting album that"s a true tonic for the times.
'With what"s going on with the country and the world, it"s very easy to be negative and it"s very easy to write negative songs,' Mundy muses. 'It"s more challenging to be positive. This album is thought provoking and reflective but fun and upbeat. It"s about taking on a challenge, and God loves a trier.'
This week Mundy spoke to the Offaly Independent about some of the songs on the new album.
Of "Waiting for the Night to Come", he said: 'This pretty much sums up when a musician hasn"t got much going on by way of work! You spend all the day waiting for the night to come and you get used to getting out of bed very late. It mentions the Numbskulls in the Beano/Beezer that live in Edd Case"s head. I did actually watch Dr Phil with Shane McGowan one morning, drinking and laughing our heads off, so the Doc gets in there too.'
Speaking about "Tenerife (Cruisin" Paradise)", he said: 'Myself and one of my best mates Roesy went to Tenerife in our early twenties. Initially, we thought it would be great to have the Edge on there playing a big Edge riff, as it turns out Joe Chester makes it sound more like JJ Cale whom I"m a huge fan of so it found it"s groove anyway. It was a typical sunshine holiday where we both got sunburnt on the first day really badly.'
He said "It"s All Yours" is about enjoying work and having big dreams, but not getting hurt by your ambition.
Of "I Miss the Country", Mundy said: 'I woke up one morning and I was longing for the smells of the country - my Mother"s cooking, conkers, farms…all that stuff. Sometimes you"ve got to just write with your subsconscious and let it out in one go and this is one of those songs.'
Speaking about "The Corn & The Orange Sun", he said he had the opening lines of this song when he recorded Jellylegs.
'It finally wrote itself in 1999 but never found the right home. It"s about a typical Irish man who"s always in trouble with his loved one because he spends more time drinking than he does in his relationship. I picture this loner going around town looking for the girl who just left him but in the chorus he"s saying cheers! and he"s accepting her departure.'
He said "Valley Song (Dear Liza)" is quite a dark song about a woman who has to run away because she has cheated on her boyfriend.
'In my head the valley is in the middle of Spain, somewhere on the train ride from Madrid to Granada. It"s got a bit of a spaghetti western feel to it as well. It"s an indie stomper. It"s called Dear Liza from the old song There"s a Hole in the Bucket Dear Liza.'
Of Strawberry Blood he says: 'I remember doing a songwriting class and I was telling the students about opposite words like marshmallows and knives and strawberries and blood. The Strawberry Blood thing never left me. Blood isn"t necessarily a gory thing associated with violence and warfare, it"s the silk red thread that sews us all together.'
Other songs on the new album, which is out next Friday, include "Love is a Casino", "Avalon", "January is Blue", "Head Over Heels", "Pepper in My Dreams", "Fever" and "Me and My Guitar"
Of "Me and My Guitar", Mundy says: 'I can imagine playing this at a festival late at night in front of thousands of people and everyone singing along to it. It"s a sort of a dance song in a strange way. The title is little bit old skool. It"s like I"ve taken off the cowboy boots and I"m smoking a pipe. It"s about the fun I"ve had in the last sixteen years of making music. It"s romanticising the whole guitar thing, but it"s why I"m here and I wouldn"t have written the last thirteen songs without it.'