Singer Damien Leith pictured outside Temple Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland.
Singer Damien Leith pictured outside Temple Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland. Contributed

Celebrate St Patrick's Day with Irishman Damien Leith

DAMIEN Leith goes back to his roots in his latest album Songs From Ireland.

The Australian Idol winner, singer and playwright travelled to Dublin to record some of the beloved songs from his childhood.

He recorded the album, his first upon resigning with Sony Music last year, at the same studios where he worked with his family band Leaf 14 years ago.

"I always said if I was going to do an Irish album it had to be in Ireland," he told APN.

"You have to be surrounded by the whole environment to do it properly.

"And to work with my brothers and sisters again was the perfect way to do it."

His sister Aine Coe sings on several tracks, including the duet Bright Blue Rose, while his younger brother played the drums and his older brother played guitar and photographed the album artwork.

But the stand-out duet on the album is Leith's performance with the late Bing Crosby.

Leith received permission from Crosby's estate to record the album closer Galway Bay.

"When you put one of those ideas out there you don't know if it's ever possible. It was totally left-of-field," he said.

"But they came on board and gave us all the footage. It was just brilliant.

"The warmth of his voice is amazing; it's silky smooth… There's a nice acoustic start to the song and then gradually we introduce the sound when Bing comes in. We've made a music clip - it's not approved yet - but it's looking really good so far."

Songs from Ireland was released on Friday, just in time for today's St Patrick's Day holiday.

"Well, you know, that's an added bonus," Leith laughed.

"It's pretty exciting as it's been a couple of years in the works."

The concept of the album was inspired by Leith's first foray into writing. He penned the one-man play The Parting Glass for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and will tour the show later this year.

"It's set in Ireland in a pub and all the music is playing away," he said.

"There's a father and a son catching up on lost time. I'm the father and the son and the singer in the band.

"It's demanding but we get a lot of laughs and then we see tears. It's one of those shows where something is gradually revealed and that (the tears) is exactly the response you want."

Damien Leith tours regional Queensland in May.

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