It took him years to step out from Ronnie’s shadow – and now, Phelim Drew is having the time of his life

Understandable, of course, for any offspring of a much-loved and iconic artist to want to avoid stepping into that same arena, and for Phelim Drew, his natural love of music was kept to sessions, parties and the odd latenight rock’n’roll club.

Today, time has done its thing, and Phelim was finally able to step up to the mic and not only celebrate his late father’s work, but to put his own particular stamp on the music too.

“My dad had always prided himself on following whatever musical path interested him,” says the younger Drew. “From his early love of flamenco through the folk explosion and on to working with everyone from Moving Hearts’ Keith Donald to Public Image Limited’s Jah Wobble, dad was forever searching for new musical kicks.

“It’s by embracing that restlessness that I finally came around to playing those songs my father loved. And it’s given me a springboard into playing those songs that I love too, bringing in influences from all over the musical map. Because, in many ways, that’s the greatest gift my father gave me – this widescreen approach to the world, and all the music that’s out there.”

With some of the country’s top musicians on board for The Drew House Band, Phelim is now mixing the old and the new, his father’s music with those of his other idols, so that his latest show is an even bigger celebration than their Ronnie tribute tour.

“It’s all about being excited about and connected to the song you’re playing,” finishes Phelim. “That’s the driving force behind this show. We love each and every song, and that just takes your performance to a whole new level.

“It also means that the night is just a whole lot of fun too, from beginning to end…”

Which is just what Ronnie Drew would have wanted, of course.


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