Just thought i would put ipen to ipaper and throw together a blog. It is early on Friday morning after sleeping 12 hours. I am not operating on 100% but I am actually grand after 30 hours of travel from Australia. So used to fairly sleepless night. I am at home in Ames, which feels a bit strange as the past few months have been a series of hotel stays. Nothing like waking up, or in my case staying awake all night, in your own bed.
Last week I was in Nashville and seeing that others have posted about it online, I thought I would let you all know that there is a plan for a new tour in October, separate to my holiday tour. You will know now about my obsession with American roots music and it's connection to where I come from. When I was a kid my musical training was classical however once I got home, I would hear 2 things; Irish and Country music. I was raised on Verdi, Massenet, Handel, Elvis, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. I know. What a combo! My mother loved country music and sang it. I grew up knowing the lyrics to every Tammy Wynette song because they played constantly in our house.
Now, thanks to fate and some manipulation, my management being based in Nashville, at last I am reconnected to my roots. It is the reason why I love the town. I feel at home down there. It is so funny that a classically trained Irish tenor can call Nashville his soul mate but it is how i feel. I makes me relive my childhood, it connects me to my parents and oddly enough, the people i meet there remind me of home. I feel loved and supported there.
I love that I get to hear my heroes sing in bars on a Monday night. I love that everyone has stronger accents than I do. I love that they fry a lot. I love to watch kids with dreams arrive in town. I love that I can hear the best musicians in the world on every corner.
Last week, I brought my lovely friend Susan on a musical date. We hung out in The Gulch and headed over to The Station Inn, home of bluegrass, a spit and sawdust joint where Bill Monroe still echoes through the room as the bands playing there, warm up.
I was there to hear The Grascals, legends in the Bluegrass world. A group of six coming together on stage bringing comradery, laughter, gorgeous harmonies, beautiful songs and mad skills. I sat there nervously as I knew we had a connection even though we hadn't yet met. They knew I was in the room and I guess, didn't even know what I looked like. That's the way introductions happen in music. Their 2 sets were stunning. Traditional, concrete, big, gorgeous and more than anything, FUN.
Why was I there? Well, you see I have had a plan for a long time to put together what I do and what they do. I have always wanted to combine that sweet bluegrass sound of strings and harmonies with how i sing and what I bring to the table, to create a new type of sound. We already have a connection historically. The father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, always said that his music had an element of Irish / Scottish folk songs. I can hear it in every piece that the band performed that night. I think the combination could be profound. I don't want it to be Celtic or Bluegrass but something new, something lush, something beautiful.
I met the band, we laughed and chatted. We connected. It is a no brainer. We have decided we want to get out there on the road together and perform for you. Now this is not going to be easy. Both of us are kind of busy so our schedules are pretty locked up. We are looking at some dates in October and trying to make that work. As soon as something is figured out we will let you know where we are coming. I may even show up at one or two of The Grascals summer dates, for a song or two.
The band have a wealth they carry with them. Dolly Parton picked them as her Bluegrass band and they toured with her for several years. They have recorded with legends of the business like Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and a parade of others. They have IBMA Entertainer of the Year Awards and several Grammy® nominations.
I am not sure how this will pan out but i know I needed to do something like this. You know I love a project. This will be the most fulfilling project I've had...ever. It is full circle. It will bring me home.
I headed to Melbourne, Australia this past week. Just down for some meetings. My company, WEXFORDHOUSE works with other artists and I am exploring working with someone from down there. I also had some fun. I've been to Australia before but never to Melbourne. Lovely town. It was a lovely week and worth the really long flight, there and back. So nice to be home again though.
Just wrote a new song with Steve Skinner for a musical revue that Eoin Colfer has written to stage back in Ireland. It came out great, i think. Eoin seems very happy. I like to write for other singers. It makes it more objective. It becomes something that can be edited, reworked, made better.
Look out for new October solo dates in San Francisco and a new set of December dates for my Christmas show have been posted.