It’s time I answered that critical question regarding myself and music. I’ve been asked on a few occasions if I have any plans to play music again. I never gave a satisfactory answer to this question, not even to myself. First, here’s a little context to show why the question is relevant.
After the launch of Leaves Float Down in 2008, I set to work getting gigs around the country and I did well enough. I did some nice gigs and got some airplay on the national and regional radio stations. However, my enthusiasm blinded me from the reality of the economic downturn which was looming in 2007/8. The economy fell flat. It became harder for me, an “unknown” to get paying gigs for performing my, unknown, original music. To make an impact in the music I would have had to move away from Ireland. I’d already invested heavily in CD production, so I couldn’t afford that. To my disappointment, the album went unnoticed by the music industry. So, I had one choice, get gigging and selling copies to recoup the cost.
I gigged mostly around Leinster, I also went to France for a couple of solo performances. Despite the downturn in the economy the people were decent and bought copies, and the pubs and hotels needed music, so I got stuck in. It wasn’t always easy, but I survived. During those years I gigged anywhere I could to keep things going. I gave guitar lessons, I’ve played at weddings, wakes, get-togethers both formal and informal, any event, anywhere that entertainment was needed. When I wasn’t gigging, I had the time for home-life. I also put myself through a three year BA Degree in Maynooth University. Both of these adventures delivered new insights for which I’m eternally grateful.
In 2014 I performed in Liberty Hall, Dublin, where I opened the Leonard Cohen festival, the first of it’s kind in Ireland. To mark that event, I released Maverick, an EP featuring songs by Dylan, Cohen, Crary, Thompson, and Redbone. To date, it has been well received by those attending gigs and some of the tracks have featured on radio. The Cohen event became a turning point. I began to question what I wanted from music
And that brings me a step closer to my answer. I’ve always had a connection to folk music. It was the music I played in my early days, the stuff I was reared on. With that in mind, the answer to the question of my return to performing is a resounding, yes! It’s a yes, because, the fact is, I never stopped performing. It’s a yes because I’ve decided, finally, that I want to put my energy into folk music.
Modern folk music encompasses an eclectic range of styles. Singer-songwriters, Americana, and Bluegrass have their place in the folk genre. While I enjoy performing those songs, I’m drawing my own line in the sand, I’ve recorded an album of classic folk songs from Ireland, Scotland, and England, I’ve also included three of my own compositions, and called the album, Things Heard. My earliest contact with folk was through some of those songs. So, I feel it’s appropriate to start, once more, at the roots of my own musical life.
In the years since Leaves Float Down I’ve come to realise that I’d kept music at arm's length. I think that was because I was exposed to music so early in life that I understood it to be a natural channel by which to communicate. Music wasn’t handed to me through any pedigree, supplied through lessons. I learned my music, quite literally, on the streets, in the bars and at the feet of some wonderful people, performers and characters with whom I spent my young days. Singing and performing was my only means of expression in those early days. There was never career plan. I lived in a vacuum, then, perhaps. It never occurred to me that music should be polished beyond my personal needs. Until now.
I’ve been very lucky, I have the support and belief of my wife and family through all those years. Heartfelt thanks, gratitude to them for their support. Finally, to you reading this, those who support me on social media, and those who come to gigs.
THANK YOU. Your support is a warm glow through the mist.
Keep loving live music.
Things Heard are available for download https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/gerrytully3 for $11
There will be a limited amount of copies will be available at gigs