For a complete alphabetical list of Robs songs go to http://robhalligan.co.uk/main/songs/
(1999 – With Goldsmiths)
Goldsmiths were Rob Halligan, Danny White, Hugh Mattacola and Gavin Callard. Recorded at Appletree Studios in 1999 by Phil Goss.
The CrossRhythms reviewers gave it 7/10 and editor Tony Cummings had this to say…
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Yep, they’re young. And ‘I Know You Know’, for all its rough edges, still exudes the freshness of youth. They also are clearly new to the ways of recording and needed an experienced producer to sort out the musical ideas that were good, from those that were merely adequate, and kick out the occasional naff bit (like the hardly adequate sax on ‘Nothing Without Love’ or the clichéd effect used on the lead vocal on ‘Paranoid’). But then with gigging around, getting your low budget recording put through the Cross Rhythms third degree, and seeking to get deeper into God’s transforming power, a band like Goldsmiths can go a long way, particularly when they can come up with the goods like the haunting mid tempo ‘Sunshine’ and the energetic rocker ‘History’. Yep, they’re young. Encourage them, buy their debut.
released October 10, 1999
Dancing With Seagulls
Review from the Phantom Tollbooth
This indy release from UK singer/songwriter Rob Halligan (not to be confused with Ceili Rain’s Bob Halligan) is a pleasant and welcome musical treat. Halligan has one of those cool British singing voices that help provide a nice framework for this batch of solid acoustic/gentle electric pop/folk/rock treats. Seagulls features several high-points that will have you singing and strumming: “Sail Away” highlights Halligan’s vocals a very nifty vocal crescendo ala James Blunt (without Blunt’s overindulgent tendencies), the gentle anthem “Who Am I”, the ringing challenge of “Jesus to the World”, and the final cut “Innocence” that features Halligan on vocal accompanied solely by an electric guitar for a unique twist. Dancing with the Seagulls is a collection of tunes that will appeal to aficionados of intelligent acoustic folk pop-rock fans of John Mayer, Jeff Buckley, VOL, and Bill Bragg will enjoy this.
The New York Sessions
- Singing Myself To Sleep
- Something To Die For
- All We Need Is Love
- Jesus To The World
- In The Light
Dark Clouds Fighting
- Holding On
- The Birds Are Still Singing
- Big Fat River
- Streets Of this Town
- This Road
- Innocence (Live)
Best Thing That Happened
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Rob’s decision to travel up to Glasgow’s Foundry Music Lab and work with Wet Wet Wet guitar maestro Graeme Duffin on his new album was a smart one. Suddenly Rob’s insightful, melodically warm observations on life and the cosmos have sufficient punch and power to attract radio play that the previous releases from the Midlands singer/songwriter have lacked. Now don’t get me wrong. Duffin is too wise an old head to drench Rob’s gutsy compositions in multi-track over-production. So here there is a nice organic vibe to the whole proceedings. But the addition of a tasty Hammond on the opener “Dungeon Ghyl” and a delicious bass riff on “Blue Jeans” set up Rob’s neat, incisive compositions nicely while his rough textured voice has never sounded better. My faves are the lilting mid-tempo “Christian’s Brother” while his subdued acoustic rendition of “Carry Me Home”, the After The Fire oldie, shows what a great song it is. Can’t wait to hear Rob sing it in concert when he fronts ATF.
The Perils, The Grace and The Way
Reviewed by Peter Timmis
For seven years Midlands-based Halligan has been independently releasing his beautifully crafted music to much acclaim – 2009’s ‘The Best Thing That’s Happened’ was nominated Best Contemporary Album at last year’s CBC Media Awards. ‘The Peril, The Grace And The Way’ follows a similar formula to previous releases: rich melodies and captivating hope filled lyrics expertly played and soulfully sung with just the right amount of grit. Stylistically, the album ranges from the grooving rock of “A Dangerous Thing” and “Let It Go” to the tender love song “Across The Miles”. Other highlights are the delicious acoustic stomp of “Rain Came Down” (“This house ain’t built from a pile of sand and I’m safe within my saviour’s hands”) and a stripped back cover of Steve Earle’s powerful “Jerusalem” featuring Rob backed by just his electric guitar a la Billy Bragg. ‘The Peril. . .’ is an engaging album full of depth and to paraphrase Rob on “See The Beauty”, he is a diamond in the rough.
Another Fine Mess
Reviewed by Jon Cooper
Rob Halligan’s folky strum-alongs mine the same musical coalface at which Ryan Adams often wields his pickaxe; rootsier than the ceiling in a badger’s bedroom, and with as many nods to electronic music as an Amish bluegrass band. If you like your tunes emotive, easily replicable around a campfire and are sceptical of worship lyric clichés, then ‘Another Fine Mess’ could sit comfortably in your record collection. Opener “Heavenfield” recalls The Levellers, and “Hope” jingles along like The Proclaimers covering Marc Cohn. Throughout, Halligan’s voice remains gritty and passionate, his harmonies crisp and Springsteen-esque. “All We Need Is Love” is a mission statement of a duet, featuring a beautiful female vocal that makes the chorus soar. The title track is a powerful ballad, complete with Mark Knopfler-inspired lead breaks and lyrics that update the searching and longing themes of many of the Psalms. “Seen The Light” wouldn’t be out of place on the Raising Sand, and closing track “Can Anyone Hear” is a gentle, finger-picked poem written for whoever cares to listen – which should probably be a greater number of people than currently do so. Fans of Neal Casal and Israel Nash Gripka should investigate further.
The One Nation Session
The One Nation Session was recorded Live at One Nation in Warwick with a studio audience. It was a great evening and this disk captures the atmosphere of the recording session. We had a small band – Chris Hunt on second guitar, Craig Wyatt on Cajon and Tim Coleman on violin.
It was the first time the guys at One Nation Studios had done anything like this and it went with (almost) no hiccups! John Wilson, the engineer was a star.
Love Come Down
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Midlands-based singer/songwriter Halligan’s new album is the latest in a long line of quality releases that showcase the experienced troubadour’s ability to offer up passionate, heartfelt songs about faith and life in accessible and memorable fashion. With Foundry Music Lab’s dream team of Graeme Duffin and Sandy Jones once again at the helm, Halligan’s songs are given the treatment they deserve and numbers such as the call to unity “Common Language” and the God-to-man song “I Can’t Make You Walk” contain the right amount of production polish whilst allowing the man’s trademark gritty vocals and faith-on-sleeve lyrics to shine through. Alongside the more fully-fleshed tracks, this release also sees Halligan in familiar stripped-back territory with the likes of the beautiful piano song “Fearfully And Wonderfully” and the Billy Bragg-like “Pride Of Place” – an ode to the courage of the black athletes who took part in the Nazi-tinged 1936 Berlin Olympics – reflecting the writer’s faith in God and an overriding social conscience respectively. Succeeding in keeping things varied stylistically, the slow blues of “Without Your Fire” prompts a stellar vocal performance from Halligan together with some impassioned guitar work from Duffin whilst remade versions of a couple of older numbers – “Streets Of This Town” and “Dancing With Seagulls” – top another accomplished release.
Reviewed by Ian Whitwood
One of UK Christian music’s most experienced singer/songwriters, the Coventry-based Halligan here offers a stimulating and thought-provoking set with more than a bit of Americana about it. “Caught Up” begins philosophically, “Sometimes there are no easy answers/Sometimes the questions feel/Like canyons in my mind.” “I Ain’t Dead Yet” and the title track are more autobiographical. “Hosanna” describes key moments in the Gospel narrative, “No castle walls or palace halls/Just starlight shining down” and “As he rode in they hailed their King/And sang as he passed by” with the song reaching a crescendo as the choir sings the chorus, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna again” with passion making this a truly standout track. On the song “The Boots I Never Wore” Rob sings, “Lead me down the road you had to take/When they took your freedom away,” reflecting his social conscience and empathy for the Syrian refugees and the Global Care charity. The final track, “This Is Our God” underlines and establishes Rob’s gospel credentials, “This is our God who loved the world so much/ He sent His only son.” A well balanced album showcasing Rob’s singing and songwriting talents skilfully produced by the always consistent Graeme Duffin.
We All Write The Songs
Reviewed by Andy Shaw
Once again, the long-established Midlands-based songsmith has journeyed to the Foundry Music Lab in Scotland to work with Wet Wet Wet guitarist Graeme Duffin and producer Sandy Jones. The overall sound of the record sees a focus on acoustic instrumentation with a number of tracks stripped back to just vocal and acoustic guitar and others sticking to a four-piece band of guitar, bass, drums and keys. There are nods to a number of influences in the music with the blues-tinged “God Knows What It’s Like” providing electric guitar licks and an impressive technical solo and the Americana/country feel on “Bigger Than That” alongside the more traditional folk sound. Rob Halligan has a knack for writing songs that feel familiar even though you haven’t heard them before, instantly accessible and engaging. Opener “We Listened To Ray” is a classic folk tune telling the tale of the range of influences we have in our lives with a sing-along chorus that provides the title for the album, “And we all write the songs/And we all sing along/And the world dances on to the tune of our song.” The theme of community and the importance of love and encouragement for each other is repeated throughout the record giving messages of hope in the face of tragedy (“When Heroes Fall”) and a promise of support and love no matter what (“Hold You Tonight”). There is also a clear focus on God’s love as the only thing that can be relied on (“Hold Lightly”) with the power to overcome anything (“Love Is Bigger”). Up to Rob’s usual high standards.