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O'Connell Readying Next Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Maura O’Connell’s last album, “Don’t I Know,” came out in 2004 — which means, by her schedule, it’s time for something new.

And that will likely come this year, according to the Irish-born singer.

“Well, I have no precedent for being very timely with (albums),” O’Connell, 39, says with a laugh. “Taking my time, as I have been on this one, is really par for the course.”

That said, O’Connell — who moved to the United States in 1986 and now lives in Nashville with her husband and son — is hoping to finish her next, as-yet-untitled album in the near future. She’s spent two years making it, mostly with Sugar Hill Records executive Gary Pazcosa, who’s also produced albums for Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek.

And while she’s added some new tools to her song-choosing arsenal — primarily an iPod on which to download songs she’s considering — O’Connell says her creative criteria really hasn’t change.

“The material will always be, for me, good songs,” she explains. “They’re quite varied, actually. I try not to allow any kind of designation of, ‘Oh, you can’t sing that’ because it’s one kind of song or another. If the song stands up well, it’s my song to sing.

“That allows any song to be folk music to me,” she adds. “Every song has the potential to be a folk song, to last through their time, though not every one will make it. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s opera or traditional music, anything in blues, it can be a folk song.

“I’ve never gone into heavy metal, but I’m sure there is something there for me to consider — one day, maybe.”

Maura O’Connell performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 13) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $25. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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