The voice heard on the CD Music from the Works of James Joyce — and in many of the music clips scattered throughout this Web site — belongs to Kevin McDermott, a gifted professional singer whose pure Irish tenor voice has been compared to that of the great John McCormack by reviewers and discerning audiences alike.
But he does not merely perform this concert: he lives it. Combining his admiration for Joyce, a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of music history, and a deep appreciation for the vibrant culture of song that flourished in the time period that Joyce's works depict, he first conceived of and researched this concert in 1975 as a means of conjuring into entertaining existence one important aspect of the inner lives of the characters that Joyce writes about; and, accompanied by pianist Ralph Richey since 1979, he has performed variations of it continuously to the present day.
Before Sunphone Records could even think about releasing this concert to the public on CD, it was necessary to rescue the audio tapes from the original studio recording for the LP release made in 1982. Although Executive Producer Bill Black had managed to preserve the tapes for over two decades, they were beginning to deteriorate. Realizing that time was of the essence if the recording was to survive in any acceptable form, Kevin undertook the critical task of project-managing the digitization and remastering of these irreplaceable reels.
With the able assistance of Joseph C. Chilorio of Mechanics Hall Productions, in Worcester, Mass., Kevin guided the audio restoration project through multiple iterations, ruthlessly winnowing out every defect in the sound, until it could honestly be said that the digitized version of the concert did not merely resemble the original LP in quality, but actually sounded noticeably better.
Next he expanded upon the original liner notes by Zack Bowen, and also typeset the text. Finally, drawing upon his expertise in turn-of-the-century typography and design, he created the tray card and booklet that accompany the CD. (Webmaster Frank Weaver lent a hand with some minor editorial and aesthetic tweaks, preflighting of the PageMaker files prior to the publication, and a redesign of the disc label based on Kevin's original work.)
In short, we at Sunphone Records have devoted an enormous amount of effort and spared no expense in our desire to produce a concert album that is both a valuable resource for scholars and a delight to the ear of music lovers — Joycean or otherwise.
To read more about Kevin McDermott's background and career as a singer and musician, be sure to visit his professional c.v. page.