Everything is going really well. Something happened two days ago that has encouraged me. I had a bit of a brain fart on my personal facebook page and started saying what was swirling around my head. I suppose the words CHARLATAN and HACK stand out the most. In fact, I wrote a song about the whole Charlatan thing about a year ago. The chorus is "This path we all walk but we don't prepare, Ideas they will come and just take you there - we have no plans - we are all Charlatans". Thats how I ended up in folk music. Ideas they just came and they took me here.
THANK YOU to the people who commented on the brain fart facebook post with their support and kind words. You gave me the softest kick up the hole so I can start enjoying this single promo week for Welcome to Ballsgrove!
Whats the next thing? Well the video for Welcome to Ballsgrove is coming along nicely. Breifne is now fully traumatised by the song as he makes the last few tweaks to the master! When both things land in the next few days I will be getting in touch with the press folk. And in the most subtle way I will try to beg them to play the song at least the once or to write about it.
It is gonna be a tough oul two weeks. This is the Undulating part.. you hope the big boys in RTE Radio One or BBC Radio 2 will play it (i know nobody there so will be cold calling!) or someone like Nialler 9 or Joe.ie might even listen to it. However, the people I depend on are the friends I have made in the Regional Radio stations and in the Folk world.
You know lots of the most well known magazines and websites will print loads of nice things about you - ONCE YOU BUY AN AD! Or once you pay thousands for a PR campaign. But I have no money left! And time is the old enemy when working shifts - the time in the day just isn't there for all the relationship building needed for a big campaign. So I depend on you guys big time to share what I do with your friends.
The support I appreciate the most is the organic support and the family support. The people like you reading this who have met me at a gig or found me online and we made a connection. I am most excited about giving you the best song I can give you. And to look back on this in 10 years time and say yes I did my very best at that time. Moreover, I want to enjoy this as well !
Welcome to Ballsgrove will be on Bandcamp for 4 euro. I've chosen 4 euro for the song because its the price of a very cheap pint here in Ireland. Question being if you enjoy my songs, would you buy me a pint? Yours truly is in the hole for about 1000 odd euros for releasing this song. Consequently, I trust you understand that every little helps - so have a think about that pint!
My Friends. Alot has happened in the past year. I had originally planned to share music with you back in March but the lockdown dashed all hopes. This was followed by the joy of my wife and I having twin girls in April. Inevitably some sleepless nights followed. Whenever I could, I went live on Instagram/Facebook/Youtube to keep in touch with you all. The new songs were ready to go but I wasn't!
The studio was calling. Eventually Breifne Holohan and I spent a week in Gerrards Church in August and tracked the new album. The album will be called Welcome to Ballsgrove.
Ballsgrove is a small terraced housing estate originally owned by Drogheda Council after being purchased from the Ball family estate in the 1950s. The project gave people the opportunity to own their homes. Much like in Liverpool or Glasgow, a tenants association was established and a thriving community was grown on the back of it.
My Father grew up Ballsgrove. My Granny still lives there. I was born and raised in Ballsgrove. We left when I was 15. If one place could be testament to the soar of the Baby Boomer generation then it is Ballsgrove. Countless families thrived here and the range of social backgrounds made it a place where you just couldn't be a snob. The 'pallet of colour' I talk about in the title track Welcome to Ballsgrove (out October 23rd) made me who I am today.
Probably the most unique part about Ballsgrove was how the green fields of the Boyne Valley stared at us all from in between the rows of houses. Rural countryside was two fields away when I was a child. We just called it 'the fields', my Dad or Godfather would say 'you coming the fields?'. This is what makes regional towns in Ireland so special. Killarney, Dundalk and Newry all have places like this where concrete meets the cows. You can have graffiti and green hills all in one eyeline. A friend mentioned to me how this was Patrick Kavanagh's kind of setting. The great Irish poet Kavanagh pondered the parochial and regional mindsets in alot of his work. Hearing this rekindled my grá for poetry again. And it put a bit of wind in my sails too!
So I'm about to start sharing all my hard work with you. And of course I am nervous about it in an almost child like way. My debut album Dreaming is Allowed was essentially a live album overdubbed with other instruments. Dreaming is Allowed was existential. Welcome to Ballsgrove is parochial. It will charge down the neighbourhood, take you away from there for a while and then slip you back there feeling good about the journey.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Video for the first single, "Welcome to Ballsgrove" on 23rd October.
Stay positive in all this virus nonsense. Your mindset will always win the day. Remember what people will remember you for.
Keep the faith brothers and sisters,