Same stories, different places. same stories, different faces
"A picture is worth a thousand words" The premise of my festival show is to display images of the people or places I have written my songs about. You see in my experience we all have the same stories it's just the names, places and faces change! After singing my songs at lots of shows people come to me afterward and say that happened to me or my sister or my brother or my Dad or my Mother etc. Same or similar story just different names and faces and places, nothing is new! People can relate which is what makes music so powerful but when you add an image to the story it takes it to a whole different level. Below are just a few of the images I show through a projector while I relate the stories and sing the songs.
I remember is a song written about my good friend Tommy Byrne born in Kimmage in Dublin on 9th April 1930. Tommy came to Australia as a Tram conductor in 1951, left behind his sweetheart Marie Mulholland because her parents would not allow her to go half way across the world. Tom never married and lived his life happily until his passing in August 2018 at the ripe old age of 88. In later years Tom got dementia and would tell me the same stories over and over. He could remember stories from when he was a young man in Ireland but couldn't remember what he had for breakfast the day before. The song was written with a lot of love for my friend but with a lot of humour too. I show this image and tell Tom's story before I sing my song.
A song for Louey
This is a photo of my good mate Louey Hesterman. Louey like many young men was conscripted to go to Vietnam and did as he was asked by his country along with some of his good friends. Louey served 13 months in Vietnam and in that time lost some of his comrades and friends. I attended my first ever ANZAC day service in beautiful Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and observed Louey in the early dawn, present but not present, eyes still full with pain and memories of his lost comrades. I wrote Apollo Bay for Louey and all the ANZAC's who fought to make Australia the country it is and afford us the freedoms we have come to expect. I show this image before I sing my song.
A song for Vera
My friend Vera Twomey and her beautiful daughter Ava. Vera lives in a little village in the south of Ireland very close to my own village of Coachford, County Cork. Ava has a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome and Vera and her partner Paul have been trying since Ava was a very small girl to have her condition treated, unsuccessfully with traditional medication which had horrific side effects. Vera discovered that the condition can be successfully managed and treated with Cannabis Oil, CBD and has been fighting a long and difficult battle with the Irish authorities to have the drug made legal so others can benefit. To raise awareness Vera walked from Cork to Dublin to the Irish Parliament some 200 kilometres. I wrote the song Ava for her and Paul and Ava and their family to try and assist their struggle. How many other families out there can identify with this story? I show this image before I sing the song.
"Take me back to Melbourne"
A song for the ANZACS
This is a picture of a young ANZAC soldier, cannot be more than 18 years old I imagine. I have always had a deep affinity for the ANZACS not sure why but it has always touched me deeply. I wrote this song as a tribute to the men and women who have died to make our wonderful country of Australia what it is. This song got 8th place in the Australian Songwriters Association awards in 2018 of which I am very proud. I show this image before I sing the song.
"You're not Alone"
A song for the homeless
This awful image is a poor soul sleeping rough on Grafton Street in Dublin. There are reportedly 10,000 homeless people currently in Ireland and the shame of it is a lot of them are children. I have witnessed it first hand on my many trips back home. I know this phenomenon is not peculiar to Ireland and Australia has a similar problem. I wrote this song for a group of volunteers who go out on the streets of Dublin two to three times a week to feed the homeless. A group called "You're not Alone" A society is judged by how they treat their most vunrable. I show this image before I sing the song.
A song for my childhood friends
This song is a humorous one and probably seems it has been written out of a childhood imagination. I am here to tell you that it actually did happen! It's a memory of just some of the mischief we got up to growing up in a rural part of Ireland with my great pals. It has amazed me how many Australian people have come to me and said how they had done something similar as children :-) Same stories different places, same stories different faces!