Athlone’s Eva Coyle releases debut album ahead of Whelan’s gig

It was years in the making and now it's here. Down To The Shore, the debut album from critically acclaimed Athlone singer-songwriter Eva Coyle was released on Friday last, featuring ten beautifully performed original songs that marry Irish and Swedish folk influences.

The release of the album comes ahead of a performance by Eva at Whelan's in Dublin on Wednesday, June 1, and she has also been booked to play Electric Picnic when the country's biggest festival returns in September.

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent, Eva said she had been working on the songs for Down To The Shore over many years.

"We began recording it in 2018. So it's been kind of slow-cooking over the last four years!" she said. "I put a lot of work into it, and I am really proud of it."

Eva's music has been attracting attention and praise in the folk world in recent times. Mark Radcliffe of BBC Radio 2's Folk Show said he "adores" her sound, which has been described as "haunting" and "ethereal".

In an article about the title track of the new album, the UK-based Folk Radio website said the song underlines Eva's "musical sophistication and crossover appeal," before adding, "If she's not on your radar, then she should be."

Daughter of Patrice and Bernard Coyle, Eva studied Irish Music at the Irish World Academy and then earned her Erasmus at Ingesund, Karlstad University in Värmland, where she studied Swedish folk music.

She also spent time in Chicago between 2013 and 2016, where she performed with some acclaimed Irish musicians including Denis Cahill of the Gloaming, Liz Carroll and John Williams.

Those influences are at play on the album, which Eva produced herself with contributions from Swedish folk musician Mattias Pérez and Cork's John Blek. In addition Eva's fellow Athlone musician and songwriter Bean Dolan wrote one of the songs on the album.

The title track Down To The Shore was the subject of an excellent music video which was filmed in Leitrim.

This song is, she said, very much the main theme of a record which captures "the dichotomy of escaping yet longing for connection."

Though she has performed in pubs in the past, Eva is now focusing more on live music settings that are conducive to her original sound.

"This material lends itself to more of a concert setting. So I'm trying to focus in on the sound of it, and on my target audience as well. It would be specialised enough, but people who are listeners of folk music would probably appreciate it."

Eva previously played at Whelan's, one of Dublin's most renowned music venues, when she launched her EP, Feels Like Rain, in 2018.

She said she was very much looking forward to returning there at the beginning of June.

"It's a great venue. The lads are so sound there, and Dave Allen (booker and promoter at Whelan's) has been really supportive of my music."

The album is also set to be showcased with an online concert that was recorded by Eva with several other musicians in Kilkishen, Co Clare, recently.

* Down To The Shore by Eva Coyle can be ordered from her website or from bandcamp. Details of her upcoming online concert will be posted on her website and social media accounts, while tickets for her concert in Whelan's on June 1 are now on sale, priced €10.