Kieran Goss Solo + special guest Annie Kinsella

 In Reviews

A sold out show in Berlin is a dream for many artists and a reality for few. Kieran Goss is one of them. Although more than half of the audience are regulars to his live shows, also the novices understand quickly how the singer songwriter wins the hearts of his listeners and establishes a connection with them before even playing the first note. Greeting everyone in fluent German (which he picked up busking in Cologne in his student days), he manages to make every single person in the room feel like a personally invited guest.

Long connection with Germany
In a very Irish way, Kieran Goss has perfected the art of being not only a singer-songwriter, but also an entertainer. The anecdotes and stories he weaves around his songs cross the gap between performer and audience effortlessly. The confidence and skill acquired during many years of touring carries each song of the two sets. Opening the first set with the nostalgic, pensive “One Boy’s Treasure”, things quickly get more up-tempo with “The Reason Why”, which is greeted by clapping, hollering and cheering.

Kieran Goss songs: from experience to “I could have written that”
Kieran Goss’ music is both profoundly personal and universal enough for listeners to relate to his songs. It doesn’t take his specific family background (he has no less than fourteen siblings, several of whom left their home country in pursuit of work and income) to connect to “Reasons To Leave”. “Should I stay or should I go moments” are part of every human life, be it for economic or personal reasons, and it’s not surprising that it’s this song audiences usually know best, as Kieran Goss states. It is also his own favourite, and it fulfills his stated conviction that songs are at their best when they are universal enough for audiences to identify with the emotions they carry and to have a “I could have written that” reaction to them. He ends the first set with “Time To Go Sleeping”, a lullaby he wrote for his niece.

Kieran Goss and Annie Kinsella: a power couple of modern folk
While Kieran Goss jokes that he might have “exaggerated” his stardom in Berlin when talking to Ireland’s RTÉ Radio 1 about playing the “Lichterfelde Arena”, he certainly doesn’t when he describes his special guest for the second set, Annie Kinsella, as a “world class harmony vocalist”. The harmony between them is not restricted to the musical connotation of the word either, but can be felt in every song they perform together, whether it’s the Nashville-inspired “We’ve Got Us” or Rodney Crowell’s emotional New Orleans hymn “Jewel Of The South”.

Before Kieran Goss performs Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye” – one of the many early musical inspirations his large family provided by exposing him to whatever they, respectively, were into – the songs he and Annie Kinsella perform show how connected the couple are as spouses and artists. Almost 20 years on the road together have turned them into a tight musical unit unachieved by most other duos. The comparison with country music’s immortal power couple, Johnny Cash and June Carter is inevitable, and Kieran jokingly refers to himself and Annie as “Johnny and June” – before his wife dryly comments, “more like Sid and Nancy”.

The pair are living the dream, and they know it. Together they have created a powerful bond of music and love inspired by their families, relationship, their adopted home in Sligo on the West Coast of Ireland and the people they meet on their road trips, and they generously share that bond with their audience. Kieran Goss’ shows might not be the “arena” type of live gigs, but his listeners meet one of the most real artists on the folk scene, and that’s what keeps them coming back to what is a sold out live show but feels like a family gathering.

Setlist:
One Boy’s Treasure
The Reason Why
Wall Of Tears
Reach Out I’ll Be There
Reasons To Leave
Smile
Time To Go Sleeping
The Song Of Wandering Aengus – with Annie Kinsella
Jamaica I’m In Love – with Annie Kinsella
Out Of My Head – with Annie Kinsella
We’ve Got Us – with Annie Kinsella
Into Your Arms – with Annie Kinsella
Hand Upon My Heart – with Annie Kinsella
That’s What Love Is For – with Annie Kinsella
Jewel Of The South – with Annie Kinsella
Every Time We Say Goodbye / Song of Bernadette

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