JANUARY sees the return of one of Ireland’s finest female singer/songwriters to Kendal’s Bootleggers.

Dublin-born Eleanor McEvoy started playing piano at the age of four and went on to compose the title track of the best-selling Irish album of all time.

After a childhood spent playing the piano, violin and performing on stage with her older siblings, Eleanor studied music at Trinity College, Dublin and spent four months busking in New York City before playing for four years with Ireland’s National Symphony Orchestra (NSO).

While touring with Irish diva Mary Black’s band, she performed a self –penned song called ‘Only a Woman’s Heart’ during a solo performance.

Mary was in the audience and invited her to use the track as the lead song on an album of Irish female performers she was putting together.
The album, ‘A Woman’s Heart’, went on to sell three quarters of a million copies in Ireland and remains the biggest selling Irish album in the home market.

Her second big break came almost simultaneously, as Tom Zutaut of Geffen Records (responsible for signing Guns N Roses and Motley Crue) heard Eleanor in a Dublin pub and offered her a worldwide recording deal.

While recording her second album, ‘What’s Following Me?’, Eleanor was attacked while walking home from a London studio, leaving her traumatised and with a damaged hand.

The change in musical style to a louder, rockier sound was not what Columbia – her label at the time – had in mind and they let her go despite rave reviews for her third album ‘Snapshots’.

Refusing to give up, Eleanor went down the independent route and recorded ‘Yola’ – a more thoughtful, tranquil album which was named Record of the Year by Hi-Fi Magazine in 2002.

Eleanor’s 10th studio album, ‘If You Leave’, was released in May this year – inspired by 60s albums from the Beatles and the Beach Boys, it showcases a retro, bluesier style.

Eleanor McEvoy plays at Bootleggers, Kendal on January 30.