Normally a biography is written in the third person with quite a lot of help from the subject, but now that I’m here, I might as well tell you myself.
I was born on July 8th, 1954 in the Town of Drogheda, in County Louth in the Republic of Ireland. The second son in a family of five, I grew up enjoying the closeness of a typical Irish community. The town was built on the banks of the river Boyne, approximately three miles inland from the Irish sea, so the ocean and beach have always been special to me. Some of my fondest memories are of the times I’ve spent at Mornington and Bettystown, villages by the sea.
My schooling was provided by the Sisters of Charity and the Christian Brothers. I spent seven years as an alter boy at St. Peter’s church on West St. and proudly became head alter boy before I left. As a boy my life was as a boys life should be, uncomplicated and happy. Didn’t much care for school though, and I gleefully participated in pranks against the teachers, but surely that’s part of the deal. I’ve always had, and still do have, a closeness with my mother, so much so that my father, brothers and sisters recognize and acknowledge it. I’ve never been able to express it in words so I’ve stopped trying.
Music has always been there in my life, my Dad loved (still does) to sing and was part of a local troupe that sang in shows and entered talent competitions. My early memories are of listening to the pirate station ‘Radio Luxembourg’ in the wee hours before I went to sleep at night, I can still remember going to sleep to the music as it faded in and out. My Aunt May had a record player and it was at her house that I first heard ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ by The Beatles and ‘In Dreams’ by Roy Orbison and I was blown away. Now you might be thinking . . . "He rushed out and bought a guitar " . . . Wrong! He saved up and bought (50/50 with big brother Joe) a record player. Loved The Beatles, The Mersey Beat sound, The Beach Boys, all that 60’s stuff, then Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Paul Simon, Elvis, James Taylor, but the voice, the voice I love above all the rest . . is Dean Martin. I’m a member of his fan club even now.
So, in my younger years, I wanted to be a journalist. It was a natural progression, since my grandfather was a founding member of the local newspaper and my Dad, aunts and uncle all worked there. This then, was the grand plan until the summer of my twelfth year when I started to work part time with an electrician who lived down the street. I continued to work with him and decided I’d had enough of school after my Inter Cert. (age-16). I applied for, and was accepted as, an electrical apprentice with B.D. an American company, ironically. In the fourth year of my apprenticeship I bought a guitar and took some lessons locally. About that time I met Gerry Mulroy and we became friends, he was a much better player than I and he guided me along. We soon found ourselves playing around town and he introduced me to the folk mass scene. I was accepted into this circle and over the next three or four years we entered some talent competitions. We didn’t win much of anything but it was fun. I was also a member of a local band ‘Harmony’.
In the winter of ’79 I went to Holland on contract, along with several other tradesmen and some helpers. We played every Sunday in a small bar called ‘Pub 300’ and it was there that the group ‘Terra Nova’ was formed. The original line-up was myself, my girlfriend Triona and Gerry. It was as ‘Terra Nova’ that we came to America one year later. The group had several personnel changes in the next two years and ended up as a duo with Trish Rogers and myself. We played all over the U.S. until Trish bowed out in 1987. Too tired to look for someone new, I decided to go it alone. I’ve enjoyed the journey thus far.
Since becoming a solo act, I’ve written and recorded a lot more than I could have imagined. I started to co-produce and host a radio show here in Savannah in ’92 . . . it’s called ‘The Green Island Radio Show’ and spotlights new Irish music. We air weekly on Georgia Public Radio, (91.1 FM in Savannah) every Saturday of the month. Tune in if you’re in the area.
O.K., it’s at this point that I’m running out of material, I live in Savannah, I like to keep my family life private, I love what I do, I love meeting people, I love taking Tours to Ireland, I love my country, I love this country, I love songwriting (well I love trying), I love my family, I love Dino, I love sunsets, I love white wine, I love working out, I love the Caribbean Islands, I love traveling, I love the sound of the ocean, I love playing music, I love the mist in the early morning, I love movies and what the hell . . . I love you man !