On September 9th 2022 Doctor Millar will release Ruining Everything, his sixth solo album and the follow up to C48 (2013).
On Ruining Everything Doctor Millar delivers his rootsiest record yet, with contributions from such luminaries as Donal Lunny (on Look what she threw away and Unhappy woman), Liam O Maonlaí (The Hothouse Flowers frontman plays piano on Communion Money and Danny McCoy) and Bill Banjo Whelan. All while still keeping his habitual dry and dark lyrical take on the contemporary life. ‘Hot Press, State Magazine and the RTE Guide’ have all described Doctor Millar as “Irelands best lyricist”. While the Irish Times called him “..an Irish National Treasure”.
NOTES FROM THE DOCTOR
I have always been a folk musician.
If you know me and my career you’ll know that my two biggest influences are planxty and The Velvet Underground. Lou Reed started out as a folk musician. I just don’t think that when I sing, That I have to sound like I’m within an established tradition.
This album was recorded during lockdown, during a difficult time personally, while I stumbled from health crisis to health crisis against the backdrop of the pandemic, lockdown and what was being predicted as the possible end of the live gig scene.
Like so many, I was cut off from my family and my friends and my way of life. So I wanted to make an album that felt like I was playing in someone’s front room. Like I was with the listener, right there. I was listening to the incredible string band a lot, and I think the album is probably most influenced by them. The way they jump from American to British stylings without feeling they have to explain or mediate that.
Lesley Keye the producer brought in Donal Lunny to play on Look what she threw away, but Donal liked the vibe of the songs and started putting down Bouzouki on a few tracks. It changed the feel of those songs in a way I loved.
I’ve known Liam o Maonlai a long time and I’ve always loved his piano playing, the way he combines American rootsy styles with Irish folk music. It was a pleasure to get him on Communion Money and if you listen hard you can hear him softly humming along on the chorus as he played.
Bill “banjo” Whelan is such a great player and I love his American Old Tymey feel. I’ve listened to and played a lot of that kind of music and I love it.
These musicians and the others Les brought in, all helped create an atmosphere of roots-folk as opposed to Irish folk.
I’m always impressed with how bands like Greenshine can seamlessly do Bob Dylan, old country and Irish trad.
For me that’s the music that Doctor Millar references.
Some of the songs:
The title song is about the feeling I had when I was a teenager that I was “wrong”. That there was something inevitably flawed about me, and that everything I did would end in disaster. That I was “the problem” with everything. That I talked too much, laughed too much, felt too much.
Look what she threw away is about realising, too late, as you age the possibilities you had as a young person.
Communion Money, is about being a sibling, and that deep innate love. Its based on an actual dream I had.
Danny McKoy, is written about meeting a boy I was in school with and the epic journeys we had each been on since we met, and the assumptions we all make about people we know.