Born in the west of Ireland in a small little town of Portumna, it’s hard not to become a musician, half of the town’s inhabitants are playing some kind of instrument or other. Growing up I had many influences, like a lot of other Portumna folk, I have always found a great value in singing a song, so much so, that I decided to make a living from it.
When I was in my late teens I fell in love with playing music and twenty years laternothing has changed. I started playing as a solo performer in 1995 in California, playing in pubs and clubs and learning the tricks of the trade. I move back to Ireland in 97 and played around the Island for a year.
I ventured out to Europe and began gigging in Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Greece. I am currently living in Hamburg City where I work as a full time musician, songwriter and producer. I grew up listening to rock, blues, country, folk and traditional Irish music and these influences have always come through in my music but a few years ago I went down a different road and began to write and record a reggae album.
Although it may seem an unlikely endeavour, writing and recording a reggae album brought great joy and clarity. In 2004 I moved to the city of Hamburg and started to scout out the city’s pool of musicians to work with. In dribs and drabs I recorded in different studios throughout the city, not the most productive approach I know, but it was a matter of chipping away at it whenever time and money allowed. I do remember singing my vocals into my bedroom wardrobe and attempting to record a brass section in my apartment.
In the twilight of 2011 I was introduced to Jurik Maretzki who was the owner of Rooted Music Studio, and it was there that I took up permanent residence for two and a half years. Jurik had just opened his studio and I was his first client. As luck would have it, he was a great lover of roots reggae. The songs started to develop the professional polish and the edge that I felt had been missing. We built on some of the old material and recorded a lot of new stuff. During this time I slowly became acquainted with Hamburg’s fine reggae music community.
A year into the project I was looking for a guitarist and Jurik told me of a well schooled reggae guitarist called Rudy Valentino. Rudy came for a day and did a session. At the end of the session we played some of the other songs we had been working on. Rudy liked the songs and he started working with Jurik and I bringing a treasure chest of magic and experience to the project. Rudy produced and played with a whole host of acclaimed artists including Kymani Marley, Tessanne Chin, Tarrus Riley, Toots and the Maytals and Samy Deluxe to mention a few. Having cut his teeth in the Jamaican recording scene, Rudy lent his time and talents as a producer and guitarist that brought a super positive polish to the production.
And thus “The Dawning” was born.