Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke

Yes – I know many of you will have seen it, but many of you won’t. And even if you have – it’s worth watching again. You can do so here. I love the barber’s reaction when McCartney walks into her shop, and then that two mins later she is fondling his hair like she would with any customer. I love Penny Lane – what a great song. Those key changes. That piccolo solo. A song about everyday life that has stood the test of time and survived the dodgy editing in this video. I love that they had to put subtitles on the Scouse accents. Most of all I love the scene in his old house, where he goes into the room where he and John use to write together. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Two young lads writing songs together in the sitting room, asking Dad what he thinks. It just so happens that the songs these

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Regular readers of this blog will know my thoughts on unnecessary comparisons. Sometimes they are necessary though. The whole point of professional sport is to compare yourself with other individuals or teams in a controlled environment to see who can perform better. If you are making a significant investment such as choosing a car, house or holiday destination, you would be crazy not to compare all the options out there. And in politics people must compare candidates to make their choice. When these types of comparisons happen there are winners and losers. Last night my wife had a big win in her field. Most wins, including hers, have real hard work behind them. They usually require someone to push themselves beyond their normal boundaries and to run the risk of failure, often public. And while it is important to recognise that the process is the crucial part, that the actions behind the win are those that really matter, it’s also

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Nothing’s gonna stop us now…

I had a lull yesterday evening at around 5pm. I had already put in a good shift, but was tired, had a couple of hours work still ahead of me and it was looking daunting. I finally focused myself and got to the task at hand – writing charts for the songs for a couple of upcoming 80’s gigs. There’s a new member of the band this time – someone I haven’t really worked with before (not Tonto in the picture who I have worked with for 12 years)! I emailed him to see how he was getting on with the stuff and within a minute he got back to me asking if he could call me. He reckoned it might be easier to chat that way. Before I could even respond to the email my phone started ringing – it was him. 10 minutes later, what had seemed like an arduous task was now something I couldn’t wait to

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Observations on musical direction…

The musical director is the person in charge of delivering the musical side of a project. Sometimes this is the whole project, sometimes it’s part of a bigger picture. Recently I have been both director and directee in various situations. Here are some observations.A good musical director will: Know the music inside out. Be confident enough to say when things are wrong and address them. Create an environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. Trust her musicians. Read the atmosphere in a room. Single people out only when necessary and in a respectful way. Always remember that music is meant to be fun. A good directee will: know his part in the music inside out. Have trust in the musical director. Bring positive energy and commitment to the project. Be confident enough to make suggestions to the musical director, but accept that the final decision is hers. Play the music to the best of his ability every time. Have fun

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This is Georgie Gorman. He was the guest of the band last night in Connolly’s – so it was more of a songs night than a tunes night. The wonderfully respectful Monday night crowd who come to see us enjoyed the night as did we. I first came across Georgie about 5 years ago. I was out having dinner with my family and in the booth behind me I could hear young voices talking about the band they were in and discussing in great detail the arrangement they were going to put together of their next song. There was something off for me – the level of detail was too advanced for the high tone of the voices and so I looked around. There were 4 of them, no older than 11 at a guess, and they called themselves The Biscuits. I asked who taught them. The answer – Georgie Gorman. I got in touch, complimented him on his work

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Unnecessary comparisons

I heard it yesterday after the exciting All Ireland quarter-final between Kilkenny and Limerick – ‘when hurling is played well there’s no other game in the world like it’. With the recent success of the Irish Rugby team it’s now not uncommon for rugby people to claim that rugby is now Ireland’s national sport. The biggest question in soccer at the moment – Who is better – Messi or Ronaldo? People often say to me – Sligo’s music scene must be the best in the country. I say I don’t know. Sure it’s great – I feel strongly and passionate about it but I can’t compare it to any other music scenes – I don’t have the intimate knowledge of the music scene anywhere else like I do of Sligo’s. Even if I did I don’t see the need. I’m quite happy for Limerick, Tullamore, Wexford and Tralee to have great music scenes too. Messi and Ronaldo are both amazing.

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The first time.

“The first time ever I saw your face, I thought the sun rose in your eyes. And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave – to the dark and endless skies” – Ewan MacColl. You will often hear from sportsmen that their first time to win a trophy was the best. I remember the thrill of the first time I saw the Manhattan skyline in the flesh at 22 years of age. Never the same since. Above was our promo pic for the very first teenage theme night in Sligo in 2014. It went great. However, after the thrill of the first time had subsided, we decided we were onto something and so we worked hard to get more people involved, to grow our audience, and 4+ years and 14 shows later they have reached the point where a performance like this one is possible. This one was taken yesterday. I had a great time in Letterkenny last week

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When do you stop?

When you have a bad day? When you stop seeing progress? When you’re too old? When you’re not enjoying it? When it gets stale? When you have a better idea? When someone tells you to? There are many answers to this question. But you can’t stop if you never start. Start, then you can figure out when to stop.

What a nice surprise!

Once….she was brand new. Polished, varnished, tuned, hungry for talented fingers to show her off at her best to an admiring public. Now…she’s in a sonically unforgiving hall in a school in Donegal, left to the mercy of untrained fingers and who knows what else. You’d know she was built well though. Class is permanent as they say. And her character shines through. Whatever it is that you’re building – a family, a song, a house, a school, build it to last. Build it with love and care, and put whatever you can of yourself into it. While it may not always be yours, it will always bear your stamp, whether people know it or not. And wouldn’t it be nice if in years from now, it made someone’s day too?

The key is…the key.

In 1818, a burglary in the dockyard in Portsmouth prompted the British Government to announce a competition to produce a lock that could be opened only with its own key. The winner, Jeremiah Chubb, produced a product still bearing his name almost 200 years later. It’s hard to find when the word ‘key’ came into use to describe the item that would open a lock, or indeed when it started being used in relation to the tonality of a song. One thing’s for sure however, it’s not a coincidence that the same word is used in each case. Find the key and you’ll unlock the song.