It’s Her Voice

Maura O’Connell has heard it throughout her 30-year career. The Irish vocalist’s fine set of pipes have been praised by fans and those in the industry and then she has been asked why she doesn’t write songs.       “I”ve been through that so often,” O’Connell said while calling from her Nashville home. “I don’t know how many times I’ve responded by saying how come it’s alright for Jack Nicholson to not write the movies he stars in? Why don’t opera singers write arias? Most jazz musicians don’t write their own material. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t write good songs. I don’t have to write them. I also don’t play an instrument and I’ve gotten grief for that but I don’t care. For me, it’s always been about the voice.”      So it was about time for O’Connell, 51, to make an album to highlight her sublime voice.  She finally did just that by releasing the aptly tagged ‘Naked With Friends,’ which is an a capella disc, which also features a number of O’Connell’s pals, such as Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss and Mary Black.       “It reminds me of my childhood in Ireland when we would have a party and people would just be singing without instrumentation,” O’Connell said. “It’s great fun. I had the best of times in the studio. It was a loose, fun environment. “        O’Connell will deliver a couple of songs a capella when she performs Sunday at the Sellersville Theater, but most of her set will be comprised of tracks from prior albums. “I couldn’t pull off an entire a capella show,” O’Connell said while laughing at the concept. “That would just be a bit much for me.  But you’ll hear some songs from the album. I love that people seem genuinely pleased with it.”       ‘Naked With Friends’ was nominated for a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy. “The Grammy nomination was a great honor,” O’Connell said. “I couldn’t be prouder. I’m glad the album was recognized. I hope it’s the start of something and there are more a capella albums. I heard that someone else is making one. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. Other recording artists should give themselves the chance to experience that feeling as well.”

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