A trip down memory lane – How did I get here?

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model orchestra

I’ve always been passionate about music. Since the earliest time I can remember, it was a vital part of my life. My father loved classical music and jazz and he had lots of great records that we often listened to as a family, both vinyl and 78’s. Some of my favourites were Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring, Daphnes And Chloé by Ravel, Take Five by Dave Brubeck, recordings of the great drummer Gene Krupa playing with Duke Ellington and countless others. 

Then later on my older brother brought loads of records into the house featuring many artists ranging from the Beatles through Woodstock to Progressive Rock. When I started listening to the latter I knew I was smitten, although there were plenty of other bands that I also loved. I listened endlessly to those classic prog rock bands and of course soon started my own record collection which I still have to this day. I can remember sitting for hours taking in all the details and sometimes dancing wildly around the room to artists like Todd Rundgren, Led Zeppelin and my favourite band of all, Yes. I had a great group of friends who used to descend on the house and we’d all listen to the latest albums together, sharing the love!

Yes written in the sand by the ocean

I also listened to a lot of classical music so around that time I started to study classical guitar and became pretty proficient. I remember learning pieces by Steve Hackett (Genesis) and Steve Howe (Yes) by ear which I used to play for my buddies and later in public performances, along with the more classical repertoire. I also started writing and performing my own material and got together with another friend who was a brilliant pianist and organist to write our own prog-ish tunes. This later evolved into my first band. We used to rehearse in our garage and we were so excited about what we were doing, all being completely music-mad! A highlight of that time was a trip away to the West of Ireland where we played and listened to music together for days without interruption – it was a truly magical experience.  

Now this may sound like a very ordinary story that perhaps rings bells for a lot of people but it was the beginnings of an absolute love affair with music, ranging from rock to jazz to classical, which has never lessened in intensity. I remember the magic of those years with great fondness because there was such a freshness and excitement to it all. I think when you’re young like that, everything feels so powerful and immediate, so full of energy and newness. 

Years later when I was playing guitar in a Steely Dan tribute band, I can remember the great camaraderie as well as the mutual love of one of the greatest bands ever. These days I am the proud co-founder of another exciting band playing all original, progressive style music and once again the experience of playing together and the shared excitement and passion is electrifying.

However I think my real love is composition and to that end I have studied music theory, harmony and orchestration pretty extensively so as to develop and hone my skills as a composer. Although it is a lone path compared to playing in bands, I find the creative process endlessly fascinating and challenging. Coming up with new ideas and developing them into fully realised pieces is just about the most satisfying thing I can imagine doing. 

Pages of musical score with pen and glasses

So although I have written, and continue to write, rock and electronic music for the various projects and bands I am involved with, my most recent release “Islands Suite” consists entirely of orchestral compositions, with some guitars. I try to bring the various musical genres and styles that have influenced me over the years to bear on any music that I write and that is also true in this case. So you’ll hear flavours from modern classical music mixed in with jazz and atmospheric, almost ambient sounds. That’s what I love doing, throwing genre restrictions aside and mixing things up to create something new and distinctive. My current project is a sort of prog-rock epic arranged for orchestra, electric guitar and electronics. It’s a work in progress that I’m really excited about!

If any of this sounds of interest to you, have a listen to my latest recording “Islands Suite”.

Also, here is a video I made for one of the pieces from that album. It is called “Solitude”. I hope you enjoy it. 

Many thanks for taking the time to read through this as well as for listening to the music. Sharing my compositions with interested listeners like you is what makes it all worthwhile!

  

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