Following 5 BBC Folk Awards nominations and a designation by the Guardian as Folk Album of the Year in 2019, it is fair to say that Lisa O’Neill is one of the most evocative songwriters in contemporary Irish music today. Fresh off 2018’s collection Heard a Long Song Gone for the River Lea imprint, The Wren EP in 2019 and an adaptation of Bob Dylan’s “All the Tired Horses” for the final scene of epic TV drama Peaky Blinders, O’Neill now returns with her latest album, and first for the Rough Trade label, the beautiful, resonant All Of This Is Chance.
A raconteur in the truest sense of the word, every story starts somewhere and O’Neill starts this extraordinary collection here on earth, on Irish soil, hands in the land. The album is full of both orchestral masterpieces like the ambitious and cinematic “Old Note”, /the title track All Of This Is Chance, inspired by the great Monaghan writer Patrick Kavanagh’s prescient meditation on The Great Hunger as well as stirring meditations on nature, birds, berries, bees, and blood that ring out over a clacking banjo, dusting and devastating all those in its wake.
All Of This Is Chance takes Lisa’s inimitable voice to greater heights, or depths, depending on which way you look at it.