We asked a number of musicians/ artists to look back on the extraordinary year that was 2020. You can see the results below.
Find out more about Barry McCormack here.
An extraordinary year in many ways. How did it affect you?
Musically, I was lucky to have brought out a record at the end of last year and got to promote it before the crisis. I only had to cancel one gig due to the lockdown in March. Music doesn’t pay the bills, but my day job as an English Language teacher has been on hold since March, so I’ve been concentrating on writing songs and making videos while I’ve been out of work.
Where did music fit in during 2020? Does it seem important?
Yes, for me it’s been not only important but a life saver. I’ve often wondered where my head would be if I didn’t have it as an outlet, both as a songwriter and as a fan.
What albums resonated this year? Can be old or new.
David Berman’s Purple Mountains album came out in 2019, but I didn’t check it out till this year due to his death because I thought it would be too difficult to listen to then. It is heart-breaking to listen to at certain moments, but it’s also tender, wise and very funny in parts. It became the soundtrack to my trips to the supermarket during the summer months.
If you had to pick one album to sum up this year, what would it be?
Leonard Cohen’s The Future is from 1992 or thereabouts, but there is so much on it that chimes with what’s happening now; between the chaos of the US elections (‘Democracy is coming…to the USA’) or the apocalyptical madness of the past year (‘I’ve seen the future, brother, and it’s murder’) I find it captures a lot of the insanity. That or Bitches Brew.
How have you got through the last 9 months?
I’ve been mostly stuck in a room all day every day since March and being able to write songs has got me through the groundhogness of it all. In some ways, it’s been a blessing as a songwriter because I normally write songs after a day of teaching, which I find exhausting if enjoyable, so I’ve been able to use that energy just for songwriting.
Are you working on any interesting projects?
I’m just finishing off an album’s worth of songs that I’m planning to record next year. I’ve been very frustrated not to have been able to do a live online gig because I haven’t had the necessary equipment, so that’s something I’d like to do. I managed to record a lockdown gig and put it online, so I might do another one of those if I can’t do one live.
This is the link to the online gig (shameless plug!) ‘Never Leave The House’ Barry McCormack not quite live from an undisclosed location
Any hopes for next year?
Just that things will return to some normality and live cultural events, teaching of face-to-face classes and socialising can happen without social distancing and masks, etc.