Cavan, Dublin, Girvan
I'm looking forward to Sunday the 22nd we have a gig in Dublin, watch this space for updates. Following that its off to Girvan Folk Festival - a big thanks to Maggie for giving me a break as a proper performing artist. I intend to knock them dead.
New videos from the Spirit Store and O'Hanlon's
I had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. Paddy Martin
over the Easter weekend. Through default ie a few pints Paddy stayed with Szilvia and I in Newry for 2 nights. We had great craic and I got to know him properly. What a true gentleman, a fantastic musician and a genious in music and craft (pipe making). He is also very funny and had us splitting our sides laughing with his quiet, poignant wit. I hope to play with him much more in the future. Please check out the videos.This tune
we recorded without practice in the Spirit Store.The Prize of Tullyvallen
got a quick run over breakfast.When Orange Men Go Green
got a quick rendition at O'Hanlon's.
Mickey Cunnane RIP
I'd like to pay great respect to the late Mickey Cunnane. When I arrived in Newry 6 years ago with my tail between my legs and like a fish out of water I met Ruairi Cunnane and the gang. I quickly got to know Mickey. He was so welcoming and warm hearted it was like a breath of fresh air. Mickey had such a colourful life in so many ways that one book wouldn't fit it all in. Try and encyclopedia.
He was a proud Irish man and a brilliant interpretor of song. He had his own unique style in music, in life and indeed in his departure from life. How many musicians can claim to have the undertaker pull out a tin whistle at his burial? Thanks Bernard. The music in the church was beautiful and the music at the graveside very fitting.
I'm sure that his essence is enbedded in every rock around South Armagh and every brick of every bar he played in.
We celebrated his life with great humour, compassion and respect. Our hearts go out to his family.
Mickey, "keep on rockin' in the next world!"
Up to date
The album is going quite well and will soon be available here and on iTunes.
Since the launch I have been busy in other areas with the occasional burst of music like Celtic Connections 2012. I've been playing at the usual local sessions. It seems folks can't get enough of "When Orange Men Go Green". A newish song which will be on the next album "My Libido is Out the Window Since You Went Out the Door" seems to be a hit. It is not very often that you here a bunch of men singing about the loss of their libido. Yet men always join in on the chorus. I've also been doing some writing with Stephen Housden (the Little River Band) hopefully you'll get to here some of the results soon. A couple of months ago I spent a Saturday night in Cushendall with a few traditional musicians from South-Armagh. What started out as an afternoon session later became a stage for my material which seemed to go down very well. I'd like to thank to Co. Antrim folks for their appreciation and also for buying albums! A couple of weeks ago I played for the first time in my local village Whitecross. This was to raise money to send the local dance team to the Scór finals. It was great to catch up with faces I hadn't seen for years.
I'd like to thank Colum Sands for getting me on the show prior to the gigs and Mickey MacConnell who helped me through this patch.
Two pieces of exciting news: firstly "My Belfast Love" is being recorded by Goitse
(a traditional band from the Limerick School of Music
). I hope its a number one so all of us make a fortune. Secondly I've been asked to play at Girvan Folk Festival
and during the festival I shall also be plaing in Barr. Imagine that: Finbar in Barr.
The Bard award
What a great night! I thoroughly enjoyed the Bard of Armagh
. Probably the most unusual gig I've ever done. Congratulations to Henry McGrath the overall winner with "The Priest". My entry came a respectable 3rd - not bad for a countryboy. I look forward to travelling to Clare as a part of the price to host a weekend's story telling.
Reflections of the launch
Sorry for not updating during my launch, but things were quite busy. Now the gigs are over I can say it was a great experience and overall successful. The pick of the gigs were Rostrevor and Fermanagh. In Rostrevor there was an invasion from Armagh (thanks very much to the O'Toole gang). It was great to see Colum and Barbara Sands and lots of other friends. Thank you so much for coming. The Enniskillen gig was brilliant with lots of Mickey's friends there. Thanks so much to Mickey who helped motivate and inspire me. He stayed in my house for 5 nights during the gigs and I have never laughed so much in my life. He should definitely write an autobiography though I doubt if people would believe that a life could be so colourful.
The Bard beckons
With the launch gigs over I now look forward to the Bard of Armagh 2011. This will be my first time in this famous competition. My entry "Sarah Sturgeon - the Veterinary Surgeon" is brilliant if I say so myself.
The Ship of Fools gets launched
My new album "The Ship of Fools" is released in November 2011.
We plan a series of gigs with Mickey MacConnell to get her on her way. Please see dates on gigs list and come along if you can - you will be guaranteed an entertaining night.
Concert and album finalised
My upcoming album The Ship of Fools is away to get pressed. It was a little trickier than I imagined but everything is falling into place at last. it should be back in time for the upcoming gigs with Mickey MacConnell - the details of which are below:
Thursday 10th The Cobblestone Bar, Smithfield, Dublin, Doors 8pm Concert 9pm
Friday 11th St. Bronagh`s GAA Club, Rostrevor, Doors 8pm Concert 9pm
Saturday 12th The Railway Hotel, Enniskillen, Doors 8pm Concert 9pm
Sunday 13th Spirit Store - Dundalk, Doors 8pm Concert 9pm
Tuesday 15th The Ivy Bar, Newtownards, Doors 8pm Concert 9pm
For all venues doors open at 8 and concerts begin at 9.
Mickey is putting together an album especially for this tour to include all his famous hits a’la “The Best of Mickey MacConnell”. I’m really excited about playing with Mickey and Joanna Doran (who gets married this Saturday) - I’m sure all who attend are in for a special experience.
Simultaneously I am ecstatic that my second album will soon be getting radio play and I will be playing it live. I feel the range of songs demonstrate my attributes and hopefully the audiences will agree. We will find out soon! I hope “When Orange Men Go Green” doesn’t make Orange men see red and TK Maxx revellers can swing along to the tune as they meander down the aisles.
Down from the Mountain
The Ivy Bar was fantastic craic on Sunday as well as paying homage to the great classic songs from the soundtrack. In between I got a chance to try out recitations which seemed to go down a treat, especially “Sarah Sturgeon, the Veterinary Surgeon” which seemed to strike and agricultural chord with the audience. I have to mention the most fantastic Sunday dinner - soup and a full roast beef main course with all the trimmings. My Ma would have been proud of it - for a meagre £7.95. I’ve never seen better value. I bumped into several Marty’s who gave me the idea to bring Mickey MacConnell to the Ivy, which is now organised for Tuesday the 15th Nov. We’re gonna rock the joint!
Ballymacnab drop in
On Saturday night I had to leave Joanna Shield’s phone up to the ‘Nab where she was performing with Raglin Rogues in aid of the local Gael Scoil. I had accidentally lifted it in her house that afternoon. I ventured in to listen to the concert - a real wholesome affair. I ended up doing a couple of songs, which I hope they enjoyed.
“Down from the Mountain”
“Down from the Mountain” The Ivy Bay, Newtownards, Sunday 2nd of October 3pm
Looking forward to Sunday where I’ll be joining forces with many musicians/singers to perform songs from the cult movie “Oh Brother - Where Art Thou?”. I’ve been asked to do compere and sing “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”. The whole event has been organised by Adele Ingram-Magee. It should be a knock out. I’ve got my overalls and straw to chew on ready to go. Please come along. See you there.
Strabane Accoustic Club
On Monday night I’ll be visiting Pete O’Hanlon’s hometown to perform my own material. Looking forward to meeting up with Pete, Cosy and the boys.
Album artwork almost complete and finalising quotes for pressing. Should be ready in 3 weeks.
A big cop!
On Saturday night I had the pleasure of playing with the Lisbarnett mob at big Davie’s 40th birthday party which he shared with 3 other people. We played in a cow shed with a mechanical bull providing the entertainment in the next shed. The women seemed better at this than the men. I just plucked up the courage to have a go when the bull was dismantled. Maybe it will save on chiropractor fees.
I entered Doyle’s at 7:15 and left at 12:05. We had a great night’s entertainment thanks to the Quinn family and Phil from Forkhill (sounds like a song) especially and an appreciative mob. Great fun and got a chance to try my new recitation “Sarah Sturgeon - the Veterinary Surgeon”. The lads seemed to appreciate the agricultural referrals. I’ve entered this recitation to The Bard of Armagh but would not be surprised not even to reach the final after listening to Jimmy on Friday night.
Cross Culture Craic
Friday night in Bessbrook Townhall was a wonderful evening with folk events from both sides of the community. Scottish dancers from Newtownhamilton, Irish dancers from Camlough, pipers, Jimmy the Bard of Armagh and musicians from South Armagh and a folk group (Stone Wall) from Tandragee. I was talking to the lads at the tea break and we finished the night on stage together. There was a variety of tunes and songs - Gus Bradley nearly had a heart attack when I finished the evening with “The Sun Always Shines on the 12th of July”. Thankfully it went down very well with all musicians from both persuasions joining in. TK Maxx seemed to be the song of the night.
Getting to know the Clon clan
Just back from the Clonakilty Guitar Festival. I had a fantastic time incorporating Stephen Housden’s birthday party in Fisher’s Cross. Stephen’s family arrived en force and provided a lot of the music. What a talented bunch of lads. Because of this I stayed with Dave and Paula who were fantastic hosts. Luis (Paula Gomez’s father) and Michael Hewitt (keyboard player) also stayed. They are all in Paula’s band. Of course Paula sang fantastically including Lost in the Blue (a co-write with Paula, Stephen, Dave and myself). It didn’t sound half bad. I had the pleasure to play a few slots and do a few recitations. Sunday afternoon in Scannells was extra special where many aspects of society were given an opportunity to perform - young kids at the age of nine upwards, a young Down’s-syndrome boy who gave a drum solo and several other kids with various disabilities. It was very moving. Luckily I got a chance to lash into Eyes of a Stranger, When Orange Men Go Green, and TK Maxx. It was a fantastic jam. Thanks to Marcus (The Lynch Pin), big Dave and all the gang. I heard many fantastic musicians young and not so young including kids on the street singing their original material - great.
Having returned back to Newry I feel I’ve left a part of me there. It is always the same every visit.
I’m having difficulty in getting my album cover done the way I want it. Strangely at the same time a girlfriend from my university days in England (Jane), who was an art teacher happened to contact on Skype. She is going to try to sort it for me.
Belgian music night at O'Toole's
Saturday night the 10th of September I was invited by Peter Doran to go to O’Toole’s again (I need to be carefull or I end up living in Ballymacnab) to join 14 Belgian musicians who had arrived at O’Toole’s looking for musicians. Along with Tom and Rosie and Peter we had a real international night. Belgian music is lovely - it has a strong Baltic influence so we had a real exchange. We were invited to go to Belgium next year in June to celebrate the Irish soldiers who died in the World War I. The Belgians know more about Irish history in WWI than most Irish people do. And the Irish are highly respected in Belgium. It was a great opportunity to perform Jimmy Crozier which was well appreciated.
At O’Toole’s Bar on a Friday night of Feile Joe...
At O’Toole’s Bar on a Friday night of Feile Joe I felt quite inebriated. When I looked up the bar and saw the most stunning woman. Of course I made a complete idiot out of myself. However on Monday she inspired a new recitation which I have entered for the Bard of Armagh. Her name is Sarah, which was disappointing as I swore I’d never look at another woman who’s name began with “S”. Sarah is a veterinary surgeon, the most beautiful vet I’ve ever seen. Certainly a lot more attractive than Eddie Rooney. She was inspirational material and good craic - as was her friend the veterinary nurse Caroline. The Bard of Armagh has extremely high competition and it is even very difficult to get to the final - here’s hoping. Unfortunately she has moved away to Longford which is probably lucky for her.
Just back from Cavan Town where I broke my all Ireland Fleadh hymen. I had a fantastic time playing with all sorts of brilliant musicians of every age. The character that impressed me most was a beautiful young 14 year old girl Jasmin from Co. Fermanagh. And she is a brilliant box player. Of course I teamed up with the SAS (South Armagh Session Men) Terry Jr. and Sr., John, Robbie, Pearse and on Monday we teamed up with the magnificent Briege and Phil Quinn and who gave the session a real lift. Unfortunately we had to go before Brian gave a song. The song of the weekend to which people sang along immediately was definitely “When Orange Men Go Green”. It will be on my next album for sure unless it is banned!
In the mixer
My CD is presently being mixed and mastered by the master himself Peter O’Hanlon. Sophie Coyle (herself a fine singer/songwriter and overall sound person) is undertaking the artwork. She is taking two images which arose in my head and I can’t wait to see what she does with them.
The probable running order of the songs on the album will be (I feel the suspense out there):
1. Ship of Fools
2. Chasing Time
3. Through the Door (Rosie)
4. It Won’t Be Long
5. The High Bridge
6. The Best Things In Life Don’t Come Free
7. TK Maxx
8. Benefits - Gerald
9. Jimmy Crozier
10. To Be Friends
11. The Eyes of a Stranger
12. Tullywinney Days
13. Love’s Got No Rules
14. ‘Tween Hell and Damnation
15. That’s Just Dreamin’
16. My Libido’s Out the Window Since You Went Out the Door
New Album - The Ship of Fools
At long last I’ve just finished my second album - 6 years, 1 marriage breakup, 6 ex-girlfriends and 1 breakdown later! Now, if that’s not good material for country songs, then I don’t know what is. I’m searching around to get the right artwork drawn up and we’re ready to go. The album will be called “The Ship of Fools” inspired by a book by Fintan O’Toole. In the song “The Ship of Fools” I have used the ship as a metaphor to represent the crumbling of the Celtic Tiger and all it’s roguery. It could also represent capitalism in general.
It should be available to download soon, you can also pre-order it in the webshop
More gigs on the way
Monday the 3rd of October I will play at the Acoustic Sessions in Strabane.
Sunday 2nd of October Ards Guitar Festival 15-17 with John Fitzpatrick on Fiddle.
September 23rd as a part of the Duathon Festival playing in Bessbrook Town Hall with Emmet, Gus and the boys.
Sunday 28th of August Feile Joe Festival in Ballymacnab to judge the song competition, but of course I’ll be participating in festivities the whole weekend.
Please come along!
The future is orange
Last Thursday I was at the session in Lisbarnett House, Comber with my good friends Gary and Anne from Montrose, Scotland. As a part of the action I lashed into the Ginger Gene after spotting a rugby type fella called David followed by a new composition “When Orange Men Go Green”. This would have been a partisan crowd - mainly Unionist, but I was glad to see that they have a rich sense of humor as well as culture.
Really enjoyed Tanglewood - got a good listening mob and went for comedy as the main theme - thanks to Molly and her other half (names gone - he's a lucky fella!) for their kind complements and from others.
Tanglewood Folk Festival near Warrenpoint
Looking forward to a Tango at the Tanglewood Fest - come have a listen - get your head untangled.
This Saturday 6th of August at the Acoustic Stage at 1pm.
Gigs with Mickey MacConnell
I´m thrilled to be playing with Mickey MacConnell
Thursday 10th The Cobblestone Smithfield Dublin
Friday 11th St. Bronagh`s GAA Club - Rostrevor
CANCELLED - Saturday 12th Culturlann - Belfast - CANCELLED
NEW DATE - Saturday 12th The Railway Hotel - Enniskillen - NEW DATE
Sunday 13th Spirit Store - Dundalk
Tuesday 15th The Ivy Bar, Newtownards
Every night: doors 8:00pm Concert 9pm
Mickey is a long time hero of mine - a fantastic mentor and razor sharp wit. He has become a good friend and I have learnt a lot from him. He rarely visits the North so please come along, you`ll be in for a great night. You can come to all five if you want!
Songs for Peace
I would like to thank Tommy Sands
for inviting me to play at the Songs for Peace on Thursday the 28th. Strangely the song requested was TK Maxx. I`m not sure what it has got to do with peace but it seemed to be well appreciated.
Fiddler’s Green 2011
On Sunday I took a walk with Gypsy dog to the opening of the Fiddler’s Green Festival
hosted by Alfie Corr. We were blessed with good weather and I was delighted to meet up with a lot of old friends. I was also pleased to be invited to sing a song - the irrepressible “TK Maxx” - which went down as well as an 80% off January sale. This was followed by the 20 Singers 20 Songs concert which was very entertaining - a lot of local talent! The session in the bar afterwards was great craic and I was happy to launch into recitations ie. The Ginger Gene and The Volkswagen Camper. On Monday night we had a great blast in the Old Killowen Bar with the Parrs. On Thursday night I will be singing at the Music for Healing Concert hosted by Tommy Sands. Szilvia said I needed some type of healing alright - maybe this will do the trick.
Back from Cork
I spent 9 days in Cork with my good friend Stephen Housden.
We were co-writing some new material for ourselves and also for an exciting new singer Paula Gomez who comes from southern Spain. You will definitely be hearing about her. I also teamed up with a good friends Fiona and Clare for a gig in the Black Sheep in Schull. What a night. I was invited back to the Black Sheep the following Sunday for a gig with Stephen Housden - another cracker.
We also did a couple of songs at the Sittingroom Session in DeBarra`s on Wednesday night, thanks to Gavin Moore. And of course we sat in on the session on Monday night. Szilvia sang a great version of Stepping Stones which seemed to cause a good reaction.
Continuing to work with Peter O’Hanlon and almost finished the final tracks. It is a peculiar mixture of serious social comment and humour. Looking forward to getting it out there.
Town & Country Folk - a crowd of B's
Had a great day at Bryson's where I teamed up with Barry on bodrhan, Bronagh on banjo in the bar followed by a blast before Beoga upstairs - there's an awful lot of B's up there! Szilvia came along and gave us a few beautiful Hungarian songs and From Galway to Graceland - see video.
Thanks to Peter for the lovely dinner and hopefully we will see you when the new album is finished. On the way home Szilvia was driving very carefully through Tandragee (road works diversion) - in fact so slow she attracted the attention of the NIPS... sorry, the PSNI. They thought she was drunk which is strange as she never drinks! However the young police officer insisted on a blow job... thank God it was negative.
Session in the Spirit Store on 22/05/2011
Was good to see the session full swing with Henry and the gang
Did a quick recording of The Wee Punk of the Town
(Gervin New Song Winner 2011). I hope you like it even though the guitar is wickedly out of tune.
29/05/2011 Town & Country Festival in Magherafelt
Brysons bar 4-6 with local musicians. Come along for the craic.
Home from West Cork
Got back in one piece, made a lot of new friends and celebrated my birthday.
Check out the "Ginger Gene" video
we recorded in Levi's Bar.
Great selection of bars, I had my first visit to Daly's - you don't get many bars with set up a feed of tasty ham sandwiches, but you do in Daly's. All of the bars had their individual charm, a great asset to the community.
Thanks to Fiona for the spare room. Good to see Sean again who has made his was to the mainland after many years on ? Sheeps Island? He has managed to trail a beautiful stained glass window around with him through England and Ireland for around 40 years. See photos here
- eccentric or what? I love it!
One of my favourite spots was the hardware store where the owner had to be persuaded by a customer to take an extra 2 euros for tinting some paint. The English customer was astounded when he was only asked to pay 2 euro, he continued "You'll take 5 euro." The owner reluctantly closed the deal: "I'll take 4 and no more." - beat that B&Q! I only hope he continues to trade as it would be a shame for the good people of Ballydehob to have to go to Skibbereen for a screw. Thanks to Mary and Connie O'Sullivan who started a conversation on the street ending with tea and sandwiches in their living room.
On the way home we called in to see friends (Stephen and June Housden) in Clonakilty to close the weekend with the Monday session in De Barras.
Ballydehob Folk Festival 2010
Please join us in one of the beautiful pubs in beautiful Ballydehob for a song or a recitation.
On request - word of The Ginger Gene
Due to repeated requests for the words of the recitation "The Ginger Gene" here they are
Many of the requestees had not a visible trace of ginger in them!
This recitation should be performed without a safety net.
Just back from Sligo where we (Terry Conlon and I) played a couple of gigs during a very pleasant weekend.
Terry had a new mic on his accordion which he couldn't get to work so he ended up playing through a microphone which meant when he sang he had to stoop like a wee old man. I'll say nothing more as I'm older than him!
We ended up in Donal McLynn's bar with very merry crowd including Gerry and Owen - great nights craic.
Sligo is a beautiful town and I must thank Baibre Ferguson for arranging gigs. One strange memory is the carpet in the hotel which looked like something out of a 1960's music set. You didn't need a few pints to feel unsteady - walking across the carpet was enough.
12 Bar Blues gets a rattle
.I got a gig in 12 Bar Club which was supposed to last 20 minutes. Due to the enthusiasm of a group of French fellas who insisted on encores, the set was extended to 1 hour 40 minutes - now that's what I call an encore! Thanks to all at the 12 Bar Club.
And I "thoroughly recommend" the East Dulwich Hotel for the new honeymoon couple... :-( - and then you can escape to the Victoria Inn. :-)
Gig @ 12 Bar Club, London 04/03/2011
Just talked to Andy Lowe from the 12 Bar Club
, seems like a dead on fella. Playing 40 minute set on Sunday night along with other singer songwriters. Just checked Ryanair - gonna cost €80 to take my guitar with me - I think I'll take up the jaw's harp or tin whistle instead!
Só Sligo 18-19th of March 2011
Can't wait to get back to Sligo
(cool town) playing two gigs.
Kennedy's 10pm Fri 18th
Hargadons 10pm Sat 19th
- along with the headcase of the year winner (2010) - Terry Conlon
31st January 2018
Long time no post!
Been through a long difficult spell. My best friend and soul mate Breige helped me a lot. Thank you.
Getting back in the saddle - new songs to be recorded.