So I wake up today with possibly the busiest few weeks of my working life behind me, a smile on my face at the thought of a few weeks rest, and some great memories of some wonderful music.
For the last 2 nights we had the pleasure of interpreting 8 songs from each of David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen with friends and colleagues. The songs are just amazing - all so different in style - and there's nothing like learning/arranging/playing them to really explore and get to know more about how these great artists went about writing their masterpieces. And such fun to do so with a crack outfit. I must give special mention this time to the 4 singers who had the difficult task of selling this show to the audience. Nichola MacEvilly, Sinead Conway, Joe Hunt and Tabby Callaghan delivered one huge performance after another, and also learned all the backing vocals (and there were lots!) for each other's numbers. Highlights for me were the girls duetting on If It Be Your Will, Tabby's guitar solo on Purple Rain, and I had the pleasure of hearing the sound created by Joe and the band on Space Oddity out front and it was special.
I have written already about Theme Night 17 in the Knocknarea Arena two weeks ago, and the videos are all on my Facebook page for anyone who wants to get a taste of the night, but also in the meantime Seamie O'Dowd and I have completed our Melodic Reflection tour. No more than any tour, the music grew along the way, and after starting this project almost 3 years ago, it is great to reach the point where we can stand proudly over our debut album, and deliver (what we think is) a coherent and entertaining show of our own songs, tunes and arrangements and bring audiences with us on the journey. We will now reflect and hopefully plan another tour for the autumn.
Finally, I'm delighted to announce that tickets for my next two big projects will go on sale at 10am on Monday morning at www.hawkswell.com. More details below.
Firstly, I am thrilled to have been asked to do a short residency later this year in the Hawk's Well, during which I intend to focus on songwriting. To complement this work, Charlie McGettigan and I (with band) will host a night in the Hawk's Well on Sat July 15 featuring songs of ours and also of 8 handpicked Sligo songwriters.
Finally, Theme Night 18 will take place on Wed July 26, and to cater for demand - for the first time ever we will run two shows on the one night! It should be really special, and I'm looking forward to working once again with Sligo Jazz Project and the Hawk’s Well Theatre to make it happen. I have spoken many times about the depth and variety of the musical scene in Sligo, and it will be amazing this time to combine that talent together with world class international performers brought to Sligo by SJP for a night of iconic swing, jazz, ratpack and big band standards.