Adjacent Meridian Point,
Ahead of his July 2nd show, the Birr balladeer charts his early childhood rock’n’reel inspirations…
I grew in a bar in Birr, County Offaly, and there was some music on both sides of my family, though not directly.
I had cousins on my mum’s side that all played music that I liked – which was rock’n’roll; Chuck Berry, Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
I loved this music. It was very exciting, and they’d a great selection of vinyl, from the Pogues to AC/DC. On my father’s side, my uncle Anselm is a good singer, as is my Aunt Helen. She had old records, like Bill Haley and the Royal Show Band, which I loved too.
I think rock’n’roll is exciting for kids, as the feel of it jumps into your bones, like a bolt of lightning.
I began playing the guitar proper at 14 years old, and formed a band with a group of friends in school. We mostly taught each other what we knew at break time in the Prayer Room. I was a sponge for learning the guitar. I would sneak into pubs all around our town to catch a few licks or songs.
There was a guy up the street from me, Owen Davis, who could play anything on the electric, and you could hear him from afar. He was slick.
Eventually, I started singing in my parents bar, and other bars locally, and did a few band and busking competitions. We were always close to first or placed. There wasn’t as many people playing back then in Birr as there is now. It’s so great to see it because music is medicine, and a great companion in low times.
I was very encouraged from the beginning and it’s an itch I can’t get rid of till this day. Everyone likes positive feedback.