At first glance, Loretta Lynn’s famous country song Coal Miner’s Daughter might seem an unlikely choice for a debut single by a classically trained soprano who has featured in several opera productions over the years.
In reality, however, Ballinasloe’s Rachel Goode is adept at a wide variety of musical genres and has been singing songs like Coal Miner’s Daughter ever since she was a child.
“I grew up singing country and Irish folk. It was a huge love of mine and my parents,” Rachel explains.
“I still remember listening and singing to all the songs on the ‘Shades of Country’ album, with Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline being my favourites.
“Even when I went off to study opera, the other genres were still a very close part of me and I would always sing them at weddings and various concerts.
“Asking me to choose my favourite genre to sing is like asking a mother who is her favourite child. I love them all for different reasons. I just love to sing!”
Her version of Coal Miner’s Daughter was released last week and is available on all of the major streaming platforms.
Rachel, whose parents are Caroline and David Goode, said the song had been one of her ‘party pieces’ from an early age.
“This song is a country classic, and from six or seven years of age I knew every single word! When I sang it as a child it always reminded me of my summers in Ireland and my Granny Eileen’s home place in Kilmore Quay, Wexford.
“Now, as I am older, it really reminds me of that time when I was a child, so it has very fond memories for me. I have never released anything before so it is very scary but also exciting at the same time and I just hope people like it!”
The track was recorded with producer Wayne Thorose at the Ballyrose Media Recording Studio in Ballyforan, Roscommon.
“Wayne is fantastic at what he does and has a wealth of knowledge in the country business. I went to Wayne and told him what song I wanted to record and then we discussed the instruments I would like on the track and the type of vibe.
“I wanted it to be quite original to me and wanted a slight acoustic bluegrass feel, which is exactly what I got,” she says.
Rachel grew up in the UK and would spend her summers in Ireland, but in her early teens she moved permanently to her parents’ home town of Ballinasloe, attending Our Lady’s Bower in Athlone for a year and then Ardscoil Mhuire in Ballinasloe.
She completed a Bachelor of Music degree, specialising in performance, at DIT, before going on to complete a Masters in Opera Performance course at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
She has become a sought-after performer at weddings, and sang at the funeral Mass of legendary radio DJ Larry Gogan in January 2020.
The pandemic has been a very challenging time for everyone associated with live music, Rachel says.
“This has been a very strange year, and obviously like many industries the music industry has been hit hard. In fact, there is still a ban on live music, so it’s the one industry that has never been given the chance to reopen and that upsets me a lot.
“I lost out on a lot of singing work, but luckily I had my online vocal teaching to keep me going somewhat and I was young artist with Irish National Opera for the past year so we got to do some amazing streamed operas!
“They really adapted so well to the situation, so I was actually very lucky to get to do a small portion of performing, though not for a live audience which I hugely miss.”
The online launch of Coal Miner’s Daughter last week is being followed by the release of a video for the track which will air for the first time on The Michael Commins Show on Spotlight TV this evening (Tuesday, August 3).
Rachel hopes to release more singles over the coming year and is keen to organise a concert as soon as live music returns. “I have some exciting ideas so hopefully they come to fruition!” she says.
* Search for ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ by Rachel Goode on iTunes and all major music-streaming platforms.