ABOUT JOE CHESTER
One of the most critically acclaimed contemporary singer-songwriters and one of the most in-demand producers around ("A legitimate giant of Irish music." - Hotpress), Joe Chester has been nominated for both the Choice Music Prize and the Meteor Irish Music Awards for his own work (his debut album A Murder Of Crows was included in the books 101 Irish Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, by Tony Clayton-Lea and Buried Treasure Vol. 2 by Dan Hegarty).
His newly released fifth album, The Easter Vigil has drawn praise as “genuinely breathtaking” and “truly transcendent” by Hotpress, “melody incarnate” by The Sunday Business Post and “his most profound and moving work yet” by RTE.
His production, meanwhile, has led to multi-platinum sales for many other artists and he has worked in the studio with a vast array of Ireland's music scene, including Gemma Hayes, Hozier, Mundy,
Shane McGowan, The Lost Brothers, Camille O'Sullivan, Lunasa and The Hedge Schools to mention just a few.. His signature sound has been generating more and more demand lately, Joe's recordings achieving multi platinum status with The Coronas (Heroes or Ghosts) , recently hitting the number 1 spot in Germany and earning platinum status with Ryan Sheridan (The Day You Live Forever) and steering folk legend Finbar Furey to his first Number 1 since 1987 (The Last Great Love Song), Most recently he has produced and played on A Lazarus Soul's Last Of The Analogue Age ("The best album in twenty years" - Tom Dunne, Newstalk FM) and he co-wrote, produced, played piano, guitar and ambient electronica on The Hedge Schools much-admired At The End Of A Winding Day ("A miracle of perfection" - Benzine)
As a guitarist he has worked with The Waterboys, Gemma Hayes and Sinead O'Connor among others.
Having served his apprenticeship with long stints in the Nina Hynes group, Dublin art-rock ensemble Sunbear (signed to The Enclave by the infamous Tom Zutaut, best known for signing Guns & Roses) and later Ten Speed Racer, Joe Chester released his debut solo record, A Murder Of Crows in 2005 to pretty much universal acclaim with Hotpress magazine decribing it as, “The perfect pop record“, and broadcaster Tom Dunne claiming that it was the best record he had ever had sent into his show, Pet Sounds. The record was nominated for the 2006 Choice music prize and Joe was nominated for Best Irish Male at the Meteor Irish Music Awards. It subsequently went on to be included in the books “101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die“ by Tony Clayton-Lea and "Buried Treasure Vol 2" by Dan Hegarty.
The follow up, The Tiny Pieces Left Behind, was three years in the making, finally appearing in 2008. Much more of a band record than its predecessor, it featured contributions from Gemma Hayes, Ann Scott and Binzer. Reaction was similarly effusive with State Magazine leading the charge with the opinion that, "The Tiny Pieces Left Behind is a delight that should propel Chester towards his rightful spot at the top of our musical food chain.“
However, the making of the album had left Chester burnt out and, with the exception of a launch show featuring his musical collaborators Gemma Hayes and Ann Scott, there would be no tour to support this record. Instead he embarked on a period of touring as a guitarist, beginning with Gemma Hayes, including opening for My Bloody Valentine on the North American leg of their 2008 reunion tour and then straight into several months of pre-production with Mike Scott of The Waterboys to prepare for the world premiere of his An Appointment With Mr. Yeats show which ran for a week at Dublin’s hallowed Abbey Theatre before heading off on the road.
By now, Chester had assembled the material for what many believe to be his best album yet, 2011’s, She Darks Me. Performed with a stellar band, including Trevor Hutchinson, Binzer, Steve Wickham and Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson's legendary sideman), and consisting mostly of first takes, Hotpress said, “Themes of jealousy, heartbreak and desire are given a fresh twist, his mature outlook mixed with images of murder, villains and “sistine chapel faces”. It is stirring stuff. She Darks Me is elegant, measured and all the better for it.“, while the Irish Times said, “Chester is one of those meticulous types for whom compulsion or irrationality is a rarity. Under these terms (which are by no means limitations), Chester triumphs.“
After a return to touring under his own name, including being invited to perform for the newly-elected President Michael D. Higgins and with a loyal fanbase who might reasonably have expected no new material until 2014, Chester took to Twitter in early 2012 to announce the immediate release of his fourth album, Hope Against Hope, a more experimental, electronic record on which he set out possible future creative vistas. Nonetheless, it contained some of his most powerful songwriting to date, including, “Dark Haired Mistress“ and “Somewhere for the Animals“. Hotpress found that it was, “as intriguing as it is enjoyable,“ and that it, “sonically recalls the atmospheric territory explored in the 1980’s by Talk Talk and The Blue Nile.“
While he continues to work with Irish artists, Joe has recently set up a studio in Nice, France and is working more and more with French artists.