I was brought up in a seriously musical family. My grandfather Eamon was a founder member of the The Liverpool Ceili Band which won the All Ireland several times in the mid-60’s. My father Mick is an uilleann piper who gained public recognition when he won first prize in the uilleann pipe competition at Oireachtas na Gaeilge.
Both my uncles, Eamon and Terry are also very respected traditional musicians. So you would think that musicianship would be “in my genes”… But it took a lot of persistence and persuasion from my parents to get me into playing music.
I didn’t have a natural flare for melody instruments, so I failed pretty miserably at playing the tin-whistle in school and after years of fiddle lessons I could hardly string a simple tune together. Now most Trad musicians would have started to play at pretty early age. But I didn’t really take to music properly until I took up the guitar at age 15. Now, once I had found my instrument I was completely hooked. Initially I was just playing rock and acoustic folk music, but I realised that there was actually something to this Traditional Irish music after seeing people my own age having so much fun with it.
So it was in joining the ‘Inis óg’ and ‘Tigh na Coille‘ grúpa ceoils that I found out what it was like to play alongside world-class musicians and feel the buzz of playing at All Ireland competitions. Then in the St. Flannans Siansa group I realised how traditional music didn’t have to always stick to the same old mold. It was eye opening to me and it all shaped the musician I am today.
It was because of Irish music I started playing around with alternate guitar tunings, especially ‘DADGAD’. This greatly influenced my style of playing and I’ve since adapted these skills into my solo music. I even chose my college course in Dundalk Institute of Technology due to the fact it was the only course in Ireland that covered Classical, Contemporary music and Irish music. At the time I really didn’t know what direction I wanted to take my music so it was ideal. It enabled me to keep my options open.
I qualified from DkIT with a B.A. in Applied Music in 2008. Those were four of the best years of my life. It was there that I really started to hone my songwriting skills alongside practicing playing Irish music.
I was very lucky to have joined a 7 piece Trad band called ‘Saor‘. With them I got to perform at prestigious venues around the world including Cambridge University, The Presidential Palace of Malta and Áras an Uachtaráin. I found myself absolutely loving it all. On returning home at weekend I could join in on unbelievably good sessions with friends and family in my hometown of Ennis Co.Clare. “The Heart of Traditional Irish Music”.
Here is a FREE downloadable track as a thank you for being a subscriber. This is the title track from by Trad music album “If We Only Knew”.
And if you would like to listen to more songs from “If We Only Knew”, you can find the full album HERE.
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