Time and tide waits for no one and isn’t it amazing how time flies. We say that all the time. But looking at our phones, time online or even reading this is a testament to just how distracted we are. No time for the space in between. It’s the world we live in right! Now there’s a nice reflective way to start my last blog post of 2018.
So let me really begin by saying thanks. Thanks for all your support and for all of the stories we have shared this year. Those stories came thick and fast. It’s been some year for me and hopefully a good one for you. The long and the short of it is… 2018 has been long and short. Right, that might sound mad but let me explain in more simple terms. Yes, the year has flown by and yet, I’ve packed so much deadly stuff in (“deadly” being a Dublin colloquialism for “brilliant”), and so many cool things have happened in 2018, that it’s hard in fact to even gloss over it here. Short, long and sweet. That’s what 2018 has been to me.
It’s been a hard year too. With family issues at home in Ireland it’s been tough being away. That’s the real stuff that we live with daily I suppose and I’ll get to that more in 2019. A year that will see bigger things coming down the track. Things to face, to help with and to shed light on; and I am committed. 2019 will also see me release a special 10 Year Edition of “The Watcher & The Comet”. After all your gentle and subtle hints, I am going to do what I wanted to do 10 years ago and release my first born to vinyl. The album was recorded in Cork and set up from the get go, songs to artwork, for vinyl format. Much more to come on that.
The Sun Turns – Winter Solstice
Does the sun actually turn? I’ve often thought about it. We know the earth turns. Spinning violently and beautifully as it rips through space around our magnificent star. Sure everything is moving and turning. So why not the sun. On what is today, a full moon winter solstice, 21st December 2018, I’m spinning myself. Having done yet another lap through the dusty darkness, I find myself looking back on the year that was. For music and art. For people and places. I’m always in mind to try to remember what has come to pass. Pinching myself for good fortune and also laughing at how I hear more and more people trying to imitate my accent. They must like it. Laughing at how I say things. It’s nuts… but hey, with imitation being the best form of flattery – I’ll take it. It’s also happening more and more at my shows. People knowing the songs and singing them back. Sounding them back. It’s the coolest thing ever. I come from a culture of song. A culture of singers. I come from a culture. I’ll sing it proudly. It’s light!
Speaking of light, in Ireland for well over six thousand years, the suns warmth has entered the lightbox at Newgrange, gradually skulking up the eternal etherial passageway illuminating the chambers and ancient symbols within (See image above). A marvel to behold if you ever get the chance. This is our relationship with the stars, caught on stone… and more on camera these days. I was fortunate enough by the good will of another to find myself in the very same other worldly chamber many years ago, to welcome the suns souvenir. And what a moment. What a memory. All memories are souvenirs, be they hard or soft, good and bad. From all the countries I have travelled alongside with my life companion and best friend Sabine, this year has had them all. It’s been incredible.
Albums and Ankles.
Yes ankles are beautiful things. They get you there and back again. For all the fantastic shows, some hard fought and some maybe even failed, there is a learning. Thankfully my songs have gone further afield than I could have ever imagined. ‘They Might See Dolphins’ and album number three, is a slow burner and has many more roads and waterways still to meander. ‘Everything You Need Is Here’ the middle child is still shaping hearts and album number four is in the mix. The “Irish album”, as I fondly refer to it as (not it’s actual name maybe), is coming soon. Then late in 2019, I will record the new album and slight departure as Shane Ó Fearghail & The Host. Some amazing moments there too with the band. You’ll know some of the songs… and with this really cool outfit… there are more coming; bearing a good weight on the legs.
But Isn’t that what ankles are for. Complex structures that support our weight to take us places beyond our circle. Ankles are bridges. They are splendid superstructures between two worlds; the body and planet earth. They are space bridges. Mechanisms and support systems. They are transporters… We should use them wisely.
Speaking of ankles. Mine want to do more. Not content with haven taken me all “over the shop” this year, (another Dublin parlance for “everywhere”, “anything”, “everything”), from securing a guitar endorsement with Shadow Guitars as Brand Ambassador (Thanks Thomas), not to mention the support I’ve received from management, Fusion Bags (Brand Ambassador), Nicki and the girls, Jameson, Arte Hotels, Ruby Hotels, VSC, Irish Embassy, Tourism Ireland, The OSCE Irish Mission and all my friends, family, Sabine and me good aul buddy’s and my companions in art Rían agus Bébhinn. There was Schottenfest, Routes, Songwriting retreats at the Panorama Hotel & Farm Festivals (Carinthia). Hut Kulturs, Vienna Coffee Festivals, Bremen Folk Festivals, Wojtuns, German Tours, Spiekers, Boettchers, Buschenschanks, Vienna Vinyl Festivals, Wasami sessions, Frankfurt Messe, Saarbrucken, Kiel not to mention winning the Sofia Singer Songwriter Festival, and getting snowed in at Bucharest MMB. Jeff you’re a legend (and all at Sad Opera). Welcoming the sun with songs at the Uisneach fire festival etc etc etc.
It’s safe to say it’s been a cool kinda crazy and I am very grateful for what has come to pass. And… the songs just keep on coming. “Thief of Time”, “Magpie”, “Starlight”, “See No Evil”, “It’s All Gone Right”, “Three Horses”, “A Spaceman Called”, “Last Night I Kissed Your Girlfriend”, “Sum Of All Parts (Part One)’, “Irelander”, “Rolling Stone”, “Cuba”, “Things I’d Like To Be”,”The Boston Tea Party” and “New England”, the children are in good company and strong stead. “Children” being the songs… in case you’re wondering. Deep breath!
The Pipeline – A Conclusion
It’s a funny thing really and what a wonderful contraption. What would us artists ever do without it. “The Pipeline”! It’s kept me busy. Thankfully, there’s good other stuff coming down that pipeline in 2019. “What is it?” I hear you say. Well I’m working on me book and have a children’s cartoon idea in development. Can’t tell you anything about any of that right now sorry… but it’s all good and all in good time! Plan is to finish the “Irish album” at the end of January – to have it ready for Valentines day or maybe St Patrick’s weekend and Spring Equinox. That might make even more sense now that I think of it. There’s also big festival dates, videos for older songs as well as live videos with The Host shot in Vienna being piped in. I should also mention more and more Television Thursdays© coming on line soon. It’s a Patrion thing. Thanks for your support there with that!
There’s also lots of local stuff if you’re in Vienna too with cool new gigs and events in the new year. Watch out for the “Artists Place” gigs at the Arte Hotel. The Acoustic Room in Jetzt Bar and “The Song Factory” shows at the Ruby Hotels. I was also planning on having more time for meself. I’ll squeeze that in too. Thank you!
So here’s to a fantastic “slide” as they say in these parts (German speaking territories). In the Irish – “Nollaig shona daoibh go léir agus ath bhlíain nua faoi mhaise fosta”, as they would say on the island i.e. Festive blessings to you all and a Happy New Year! Whatever you do… Have a ball. Be safe. Be silly. But mind yourself and mind your mind. And please… if you think about… use less plastic. Let’s make a change in 2019. From small acorns…
Slán libh and Happy Solstice! See you out there at the gigs. One more gig to go… New Years Eve in Germany!!!
Featured image – Live at Gusenside Austria
Photo by Christoph Thorwartl