Americana has always found firm purchase round these parts, and this newly hewn trio mine a rich seam that owes something to Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. But mostly The Whileaways deal a hand all of their own making. With a seven original songs and a refreshingly spirited take on the hoary old The Banks of the Ohio, Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie McDonnell cut a confident trail through the undergrowth of roots music. Kennedy’s songwriting is the highlight of this set piece, with opener Dear My Maker managing to both set and steal the scene in a few short minutes. Kennedy and Joyce harmonise with sibling-like ease, while McDonnell adds a six stringed backbone to the mix. This is an audacious debut (which hollers for a chance to be heard in a live setting, so rich is its lyrical tapestry) from musicians whose experience pays ample dividends here.
The Irish Times - Siobhan Long - Saltwater Kisses 2015
The intuitive quality of the harmonies on the Whileaways’ debut collection suggest a sibling kinship, but it’s marriage and friendship that bind them so intimately. Longer in gestation than they’d originally planned, this is music made for long, lazy evenings on the porch where finger-pickin’ patterns cast sprightly shapes across the melodies.Shades of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Be Good Tanyas colour the Whileaways’ essence, with Noriana Kennedy’s feathery vocals intertwine with the darker tones of Nicola Joyce, the pair revelling in their own inimitable double helix. Noelie McDonnell brings a deep southern sensibility, in the style of Eric Bibb: languid and unforced. Lyrically the trio manage intimacy without oversharing. You’re Home is a glorious bedfellow to the band’s earlier, wistful Dear My Maker.
The Irish Echo - Colleen Taylor
One of my favorite Eircana bands, the Whileaways, are back in business. I fell in love with their sound after hearing them at Whelan’s in Dublin two years ago, and their self-titled first album quickly became one of the “most played” on my iTunes. Now the Whileaways, comprising Noriana Kennedy, Noelie McDonnell, and Nicola Joyce, are gearing up for a sophomore album release. Kennedy had been on tour with Solas over the summer, but she’s returned to her Galway roots and her hometown band. “Saltwater Kisses” is the band’s new album, and it doesn’t disappoint. It reflects an array of music simultaneously traditional and inventive, inflecting the old balladeer tradition with modernized rootsy flare. “Saltwater Kisses” showcases this band’s musical penchant: perfected simplicity. The songs avoid superfluous ornamentation and let the harmonies and instruments speak for themselves, proving each one of this trio’s natural talent. In particular, I can’t stop listening to “She Waits” and “Wake Up Sleepyhead.” They’ve also included some gorgeous instrumental arrangements on the album as well. Not to mention, the band sounds even more polished than they did in their debut record. This time round, the Whileaways add even more sophistication to their harmonies and collaborations. This trio was meant to play together. This autumn, the band is promoting their new album with an Irish tour. Fingers crossed for an American invasion soon.