Showing posts with label Iona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iona. Show all posts

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Iona’s Dave Bainbridge Releases 4th Solo Album “To The Far Away”

Despite all the traumas and uncertainties of 2020, it turned out to be a very busy year for Dave Bainbridge. As well as producing the epic 17 CD “Book of Iona” box set celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Iona, Dave contributed in various degrees to new albums by Kimmo Porsti, Cronofonia, Downes Braide Association, Lifesigns, Nick Fletcher, Glass Hammer, Celtish and Strawbs. However, in between all this activity Dave was also taking time out to put together the concept and music for his 4th solo album, “To The Far Away.”

Iona fans might recognize the title as a quote from the lyrics of the song “Edge of the World” from “Beyond These Shores” and there are definitely parallels in the themes of the two albums. “Shores” recounts the ancient story of St Brendan’s epic voyage across the Atlantic ocean, whilst “To The Far Away” tells a more contemporary story of lovers on opposite sides of the Atlantic ocean, separated for many months by the global pandemic. Both albums, however, end on a note of optimism. Brendan finally returns safely home, whilst our contemporary lovers are finally reunited after an epic trip across the same ocean.

The album’s 71 plus minutes of music draws upon the Celtic, progressive, rock and classical influences that have permeated Dave’s music since he started composing at the age of eleven and which he honed during his years with Iona and through his previous solo and many collaborative releases. Featuring his usual array of keyboards, guitars and assorted acoustic instruments, Dave also assembled a fantastic group of supporting musicians to bring the project to life:
Sally Minnear (Lord of the Dance / Celestial Fire) - Vocals  
Iain Hornal (Jeff Lynn’s ELO, 10CC, Three Friends, solo artist) - Vocals
Troy Donockley (Iona / Nightwish / The Enid / Maddy Prior) - Uilleann Pipes, Whistles, Voices Jon Poole (Cardiacs / Lifesigns) - Bass Guitars
Frank van Essen (Iona / Martin Garrix) - Drums, Violins & Violas
Jonas Pap (Epica, Cronofonia) - Cello
Nigel Cameron (Celtish) - Whistles
Julie Cameron-Hall (Celtish) - Violin
Martin Nolan (Iona) - Whistles  

Dave collaborated with acclaimed Canadian/Irish poet Lynn Caldwell on the album’s lyrics. “I’d read some of Lynn’s work and immediately felt that she would be the person to help me organize and bring an emotional focus to my thematic and lyrical ideas for the project. It was a hunch that paid off and I’m absolutely thrilled with what she came up with. Lynn, her husband Martin Nolan and friend Una Ní Cheallaigh were also able to put together the haunting Irish Gaelic lyrics, sung by Sally, which I’d wanted to include on several tracks.”  

Dave continues: “As with many artists and composers I know, 2020 was a bittersweet year. The complete shutdown of venues left us without places to play and income, but also paradoxically gave us the time and space to write, record and bring to fruition projects we may not have otherwise got around to finishing. For me it was especially bittersweet as I was due to be married at the end of March 2020 to Sharon, my fiance from Baltimore, on Cruise to the Edge, with my friends Neal Morse officiating and John Young (Asia/ Scorpions/Lifesigns) as best man. Not only was that plan put on hold, the abrupt shutdown of flights into the USA meant that Sharon and I were torn apart for 8 1/2 months. The thematic ideas behind ‘To The Far Away’ encompass thoughts, feelings and ideas I experienced, largely when I was doing my daily runs and walks on the rural country lane on which I spent so much time between March and October 2020.”

“As the music for this album evolved, I realized that the main emphasis was firmly on melody. Melodic lines and riffs that will hopefully stay with the listener, reflecting the emotions and sense of place in which I was immersed, as the seasons moved through spring, to summer and finally the rich colors of autumn under the vast skies of the Lincolnshire landscape. In some ways this is probably my most personal album to date and I hope that, as well as capturing some of the heartache of the time, it also leaves the listener with a sense of hope and optimism, that in the end, love will triumph.”

Despite being released late in 2021, “To The Far Away” still sneaked into a number of Best of 2021 Polls: No. 1 Best Album, Album of the Month, Cover Feature, iO Pages Magazine (Netherlands) No. 2 Best Album of 2021 Progressive Rock Central
No. 2 Best Album of 2021 Esther’s Rock Blog
No. 2 Best Album of 2021 Scotland Rocks Radio
No. 6 Best Album of 2021 Amarok Magazine (France)
No. 13 Best Album of 2021 Sonic Perspectives
Album of the Month Radio Xymphonia
In addition, Dave was voted 3rd in Prog Magazine Readers Poll Best Guitarist of 2021

Here’s what the press has raved about Dave Bainbridge’s “To The Far Away”:

In my opinion, this is his best work ever! I hear great, uplifting, melodies, wonderful playing and excellent singing.” - Paul Rijkens iO Pages

Absolute sonic perfection!!!” - Chris MacIntosh WCWP Radio New York

If you remember the band 'Iona' you will love this album. It's a masterpiece of Celtic Prog Rock.” - Nigel Cameron - Celtish

To The Far Away, just might be, well - the best thing he’s ever done – and with his years of output that’s saying a lot… A brilliant balance of vocal and instrumental tracks, To The Far Away will thrill and delight fans of both Celtic and ‘traditional’ prog-rock, and anyone open to more adventurous realms of music in general…If you’re a fan of Iona, Dave Bainbridge’s solo work, Celtic prog, classic prog-rock – whatever!  You need this.” - Bert Saraco -

“‘To the Far Away’ is a wonderful journey of the mind, full of captivating music throughout. This album is one of the best albums of 2021. It is definitely in the top ten progressive rock albums of the year…Please get this album, relax and enjoy the journey. Every song is captivating and full of the kind of music that made Iona famous.” - Professor Mark, Progressive Rock Central  

To get straight to the point, the music is of great, if not exceptional, class…the melodies Bainbridge presents us on this album are of very great, I repeat, very great beauty…It seems as if Dave has found the balance between say Celestial Fire (the symphonic) and the Celtic influences...There are not only great guitar solos on this record, but also wonderful keyboard moments...the more you play ‘To The Far Away,’ the better it gets. I could go on and on, but I think it is clear that lovers of atmospheric symphonic music have a pearl in their hands with this album. This is hashtag #heavenly.” - Jacco Stijkel -

Dave Bainbridge “To The Far Away” was released on Dave’s Open Sky Records label & distributed by Gonzo Multimedia, the album is available in 5 formats:
*DIGITAL DOWNLOAD 24 bit wav files
*2CD WITH BONUS DISK featuring over an hour’s worth of alternate mixes, demos and previously unreleased tracks recorded exclusively for this release
*LIMITED EDITION DELUXE PHOTO BOOK featuring the 2CD version, accompanying A4 size hardback book of 123 of Dave’s evocative landscape photos, 6 postcards of Dave’s photos & a signed and numbered certificate.

To purchase:

For more information:

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 1-828-350-8158 (US),

Friday, April 17, 2020

Celtic Prog Rock Pioneers IONA to Release 17 Disc Box Set THE BOOK OF IONA Featuring Hours of Unreleased Material

Available for pre-order now and will be released Jun 20, 2020

This amazing 17 disc set, captures not only all the studio albums from IONA but features almost the same amount of music again on a Companion Disk for each album. These companion discs, which Dave Bainbridge has personally overseen the assembly of are included; rare and unreleased studio recordings, different mixes, original demo recordings from when the songs were first written, plus new (mainly instrumental) recordings of many Iona songs featuring all Iona band members from each era of the bands history. Below is the provisional track listing to the “companion disks”. Additional tracks still being added at the time of writing.

In addition to the extra audio content of the box, also included is:

24 page A4 Booklet (full of previously unseen photos of the band and recently written sleeve notes to accompany each disc) Signed and Numbered certificate Reproduction memorabilia, Reproduction publicity photos, Poster.

Watch the promotional video:


Turning Tide (remastered from original 2 track DAT master tape)
Flight of the Wild Goose 1 (Dave's original demo)
Flight of the Wild Goose (original album version - remastered from original 2 track mixtape).
The Island (Jo’s original demo)
The Island (original album version - remastered from original 2 track mixtape)
White Sands (Dave's original demo)
Dancing on the Wall (original demo)
Dancing on the Wall (original album version - remastered from original 2 track mixtape)
A'Machair (original album version - remastered from original 2 track mixtape)
Vision of Naran (original demo)
Vision of Naran (remastered from original 2 track DAT master tape)
Beijing (Dave original demo)
Iona (Jo’s original demo)
Iona (remastered from original 2 track DAT master tape)
Trilogy (first Iona studio demo version, which includes some sections not used on the album)
Here I Stand (original version with piano)
Columcille (with Electric guitar playing the melody!)


Kells Opening Theme (original demo)
Revelation 1(early demo)
Man - Vocal section 1 (demo, wordless vocal)
Man - Vocal section 2 (demo, wordless vocal)
Tree of Life (which became Mark the Lion)
The River Flows (early demo)
Faithful Heart (remastered from original 2 track mixtape)
Virgin & Child (solo harp version)
John the Eagle (demo, recorded on the Isle of Mull 1991)
Kells Theme (Dave original demo)
Kells Theme Jig! (Dave original demo)
Eternity (Kensington Temple heavenly choir with new keyboards)
Warrior of the Wasteland (studio recording with additional overdubs)
Lost Tribe (demo March 1991)
Harp & Whistle idea (demo March 1991)
Watching You (demo).
Sax / Keys Improvisation (demo September 1990, plus new additional keys).
My Town (studio demo with new additional overdubs)
Hard Way to Learn (demo with Frank violin - recorded on the Isle of Mull. in 1991)
Reilig Orain (demo)
Whistle & Keys Atmospheric (recorded on the Isle of Mull 1991)

BEYOND THESE SHORES COMPANION AUDIO DISK Complete running order to be confirmed, but including:

Bird of Heaven (alternate vocal section - demo early 1993)
Bird of Heaven (2007 remix)
Machrie Moor (solo harp version)
Burning Like Fire (rehearsal, Acton, London, early 1993)
Beachy Head (rehearsal, Acton, London, early 1993)
Murlough Bay (Jo's original demo, early 1993)
Frippertronics (with Robert Fripp)

JOURNEY INTO THE MORN COMPANION AUDIO DISK Complete running order to be confirmed, but including:

Bi-Se I Mo Shuil Part1 (Dave's original demo Feb 1995)
Everything Changes (original completely different version, recorded during Kells album sessions)
Journey into the Morn (2007 new arrangement & recording, featuring Roine Stolt)
Frippertronics (with Robert Fripp)
Moya Brennan & Joanne Hogg Vocal Loops

OPEN SKY COMPANION AUDIO DISK Complete running order to be confirmed, but including:

Woven Cord (rehearsal take, including slow section not on the album version. Recorded at Joanne’s, Ireland 10/98)
Wave after Wave (Dave & Jo's original demo Otley 3/99)
Hinba (Jo’s original demo)
Songs of Ascent Part 1 (Dave's early demo)
Lament for the World (Dave & Jo's demo of this piece)
Jo Hymn Tune idea (demo)
A Dhia Gheigil (Angel of God) (Beautiful vocal version of this track, originally considered for inclusion on the album)
Jo Song of Hope Vocal loops (from Open Sky album studio recording)
I Cannot Understand (Dave & Jo song idea)
Columba Poem song idea (Jo & Dave improvising around Columba’s 6th century creation poem)
The Spacious Firmament (Jo & Dave working on a song idea which ended up on Jo’s first solo album)
Voices (Jo Layered Vocals)
Vocal Harmonies & Keys (nice layering of Joanne’s vocals over Dave’s chord progression)

THE CIRCLING HOUR COMPANION AUDIO DISK Complete running order to be confirmed, but including:

How Wonderful (original Jo & Dave demos, recorded late ’90’s in Ireland)
Spirit of God (this version recorded in 2006 for BBC's Songs of Praise)
Almighty Father Who Dost Give (this version recorded in 2006 for BBC's Songs of Praise)

ANOTHER REALM COMPANION AUDIO DISK Complete running order to be confirmed, but including:

All that we Have ever dreamed (recorded in July 2011. Troy plays low whistle on this demo, Jo piano, Dave keys & mixing)
Jo & Dave Improvisation (Spontaneous improvisation, recorded at Open Sky Studio on 11th January 2011)
Don’t Look Back (recorded October 2009 at Joanne’s, this was the original demo of what became White Horse)
Dave & Martin Improvisation 1 (Spontaneous improvisation, recorded 14th December 2010)
Gotta Lift Our Eyes Up (recorded in October 2009 at Joanne’s, another song considered for ‘Another Realm’)
Dave & Martin Improvisation 2
Valley of Decision (recorded in October 2009 at Joanne’s, another song considered for ‘Another Realm’)
Dave & Martin Improvisation Pipes Free
What a Day (recorded in February 2010 at Joanne’s, another track considered for ‘Another Realm’)
Dave & Martin Improvisation Pipes Hymn-like
And the Angels Dance (single mix)
Slow Air ( Martin & Dave - Recorded in February 2010 at Joanne’s)

THE SOUND WORLD OF IONA Complete running order to be confirmed, but including:

Featuring newly recorded, mainly instrumental tracks, with contributions from all past Iona band members

White Sands (Nick Beggs & Dave Bainbridge)
Shell of Speech (Tim Harries with Dave Bainbridge. Based on sound samples from the Journey into the Morn album)
I Will Give My Love and Apple (Dave Bainbridge solo piano version)
Edge of the World (Mike Haughton & Dave Bainbridge)
Air from France (Martin Nolan & Dave Bainbridge)
Luke - the Calf (Dave Bainbridge guitar version)
Táimse im Chodladh  (Martin Nolan & Dave Bainbridge)
Today (Dave Bainbridge solo piano version)
Beyond These Shores (with special guest Sally Minnear)
Beijing (widescreen remix)
Plus other new recordings tbc, featuring David Fitzgerald, Terl Bryant, Frank Van Essen, Troy Donockley, Martin Neil, Phil Barker & Sally Minnear

To pre-order:

For more information:

Formed in 1989, IONA took their name from the small island off the west coast of Scotland. From the beginning, their aim was to write spiritual, atmospheric, yet uplifting music that would stir the emotions, weaving complex patterns that echo the intricate knot work of the great Celtic artists. Often inspired by the great figures of the Celtic Golden Age such as Columba, Aidan, Brendan and Patrick, IONA's music is as timeless as the message that reaches out to us across the centuries.

Uniquely combining rock / folk / progressive / ethnic and ambient elements with the crystalline voice of Joanne Hogg as their focus, IONA created 'a blaze of colours and textures...all the sounds fusing into a single, yearning, heartfelt beautiful cry.'

IONA built up a formidable reputation as a great live band with their incredible musicianship and disarmingly humorous banter and were noted for their timeless and innovative studio recordings. They released 7 acclaimed studio albums, four live albums (three doubles, plus one with The All Souls Orchestra), a beautifully illustrated 4 cd box set and two DVDs. Their last album, the 2cd ‘Edge of the World - Live in Europe’ was released in 2013.

Five years on from the bands last live performance and the decision to cease touring and recording “for the foreseeable future” comes ‘The Book of Iona’, the first of a series of Iona box set releases from Gonzo Multimedia. Including all the bands official studio albums, ‘The Book of Iona’ also features companion disks unique to each album, containing previously unreleased songs, original demos, alternate mixes and much more, all personally collated by founder member and band producer Dave Bainbridge. On top of this is included a cd of newly recorded (mainly instrumental) versions of Iona songs featuring performances from all previous Iona band members.

The band are thrilled that Iona’s music will once again be available to reach new listeners in search of innovative and emotive words and music that touches the soul. The ’wild goose' is indeed flying again.

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 1-828-350-8158 (US),