Going from a Raglan to a Reverend hasn’t dampened Luke Carrig’s love of music
As anyone who knows their music history will tell you, some of the greatest songs ever have been forged in that raging battle between the secular and the sacred.
Replacing the fevered cry for Jesus for that of a chosen object of desire a little closer to home has seen artists from Aretha Franklin and James Brown to Whitney Houston and Justin Timberlake make the move from the heart of the church to the top of the charts.
Heck, Jack White’s original plan was to be a priest. Which, considering his dismal run of recent albums, might just be his true calling.
Other artists took the opposite journey, Al Green famously becoming one of the faithful after a run-in with a lover’s husband almost turned fatal, whilst Cat Stevens gave up his soul-searching, chart-topping folkie ways to convert to Islam in December 1977, changing his name to Yusuf Islam. As to Bob Dylan’s simple twist of faith in the late ’70s, there’s also a third option of once being lost, then found, and then getting lost again.
For Greystones’ Luke Carrig, there was no Road To The Darkness moment, his faith having been part of his Kenmare Heights upbringing. The leap from acclaimed Irish band The Raglans to seven years of study in the US to become a Nazarene reverend was, he says today, “just a natural progression of my beliefs, and my desire to help others“.
It’s worth noting that The Raglans were truly going places when Luke informed co-founder Stephen Kelly that he actually needed to go somewhere else. Having formed in 2006, two years later, Glenn Tilbrook from the rather poptastic Squeeze (Tempted, Up The Junction, Cool For Cats) brought them out on his UK tour, and into his London studio to record their debut EP, Where Do We Go From Here?. By the time The Raglans made the Top 10 in Ireland with their debut album, Luke was in the US, getting his Masters, and starting a family.
The move back to his native Greystones in 2020 to run the Nazarene Community Church here was a sort of homecoming in more ways than one, with music now a big part of every Sunday service – and once again, a big part of Luke’s life. Last year, Luke released both a fundraising single for Pieta (having lost his brother Anthony to suicide in 2010) and an EP recorded in Elliot Crampton’s Big Red Studio.
“And now, I just want to take all those songs from all those years, and put them in one show,” says Luke. “Music has an incredible power to touch people, to bring us together, and to become a diary of your life at that particular point. It will be amazing to bring all those points together for one night…”
Playing at The Whale on Saturday, January 21st, we caught up with Luke on this rainy Tuesday to talk rebirth, religion and rock’n’roll…
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Theatre Lane, Adjacent Meridian Point, Greystones, Co Wicklow A63 V1F8
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