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Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Sturdy Soul" by Helen O’Shea

By Bob Makin

originally published: 12/16/2022

Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Sturdy Soul" by Helen O’Shea

Princeton-based Irish singer-songwriter Helen O’Shea’s latest single, “Sturdy Soul,” is the Makin Waves Song of the Week. PHOTO BY PIERRE ARSENAULT MONTREAL  

“Jersey Girl-By-Choice” Helen O'Shea is currently working on her fifth recording project with two-time Grammy-winning producer Marc Swersky (Joe Cocker, Marlo Thomas). 

They have cowritten the first single “Sturdy Soul,” an ode to inspirational Seattle singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile and the Makin Waves Song of the Week.

As the Makin Waves Song of the Week, “Sturdy Soul” also can be heard between 6 and 8 p.m. on Dec. 16 on “Radio Jersey” at If you miss it, you also can tune in any time in the archives at The Penguin or MixCloud.

"Sturdy Soul" honors who Helen calls one of her “long time songwriting and life heroes” whose roots root has influenced the local singer-songwriter’s “AmeriCeltiCana” style.

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Recorded in Asbury Park at Dug Deep Productions with owner Jack Daley engineering, the results are poignant and spiritual.

“Since the pandemic, I’ve been driven to let people know how highly I think of them while they are still here to appreciate my words,” said, who also wrote with Marc "Prinetime" for John Prine. 

“He had already sadly passed away,” she continued, “and I wished I had told my mother all the lovely things she said in her eulogy while she was still alive, although I believe she heard them loud and clear in heaven. At any rate, I’m on a mission to convey the truthful nice things about those who inspire me while they are still around.”

This philosophy is in line with a song from Tanya Tucker's last album "Bring My Flowers Now, While I'm Livin',” cowritten by Tanya and Brandi.

"Sturdy Soul" is the lead single and title track from Helen's upcoming album set for release in early 2023. She said she used Brandi’s memoir, "Broken Horses" to write the song, the title of which is taken from the "The Eye.”

Helen said, “That’s my favorite song lyric ever.” 

Performing on the track with her and Marc, who plays bass, are: Brielle Brown & Lauren O'Shea -- Background Vocals; Andrew Carillo -- Lead Guitar; Matt Wade - Keyboards/Piano; Santo Rizzolo - Drums/Percussion. Producer - Marc Swersky; Engineer - Jack Daley.

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Mixed by Seth Von Paulus and mastered by Leon Zervos, the forthcoming LP shares the tenets of a contemporary christian music, such as hope, love, loss, grief and legacy, Helen said. This new direction comes from the losses of both of her parents and other close family members, she said.

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Bob Makin has produced Makin Waves since 1988. Follow Makin Waves on Facebook and contact Bob at



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