Mike O Donovan EP Launch ‘No time like the present’. By ilovelimerick correspondent Cian Reinhardt. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick
With the rhythm of Steely Dan and the grace of Neil Young, Mike O Donovan’s debut EP, ‘No time like the present’, set for launch on Thursday, December 1 at Dolan’s is an event not to be missed. Featuring musicians such as John Fean (Horslips) and Dave Keary (Van Morrison), the EP that Mike O Donovan described as “65 years in the making” sounds like the greatest hits collection of an established artist.
Where did your interest in music come from?
“I remember well the 60’s and the music that was around; my father was used to play the trumpet for St. John’s Brass and Reed Band and later the Boherbuoy Band. My mother was a musician and would play concertina, so there was always music around.
I was lucky to have some good friends that were very good musicians and still are to this day, one of them plays on the cd, a guy named Johnny Fean – Johnny plays with Horslips – I was always with these guys, you had to be interested in music at the time, the advent of the Beatles, Ray Davies; the music of the 60’s. My father had a big interest in Jazz, mad into Louis Armstrong, so I suppose it was a natural consequence. We didn’t have the distractions back then, computers and televisions, you would play on the street come home and listen to music. Easier, simpler times, whether they were better or worse, I don’t know.”
You say the album is 65 years in the making, can you elaborate on this?
“I’ve been playing music for, I don’t know how long, and I have been interested in it since I was a kid, I’ve always been thinking about writing songs. There were concerts around the early 70’s in Limerick that were in the Colosseum (now known as the Belltable), and they were exposure concerts so people would get together and organise these concerts for us. I won’t say there was a fellowship of musicians, but there was a group of players that got together and organised them.
I remember writing songs at that time and you think ‘further down the line I will do something with them’, and then you get married, you have kids and the money you were going to put on the guitar or something else went to buy books for going back to school, so the 65 years in the making went from being when they were very young to a little bit older. You will always play music, but I always wanted to record an album, there was always some bill to pay and this year I retired. In the past ten years, I did a number of things, I did a 2 year degree in counselling and psychotherapy and then a Masters but the album was part of that process. Never too late to start.”
How did it feel working with such established artists on the EP?
“I think there’s an understanding or camaraderie among musicians, that they go in and play, they’re doing a job and you’re doing a job, they are there to enhance what you’re doing. What you’re doing may be complex or may not be, but they’re there to enhance it.
Working with them was great because there’s a learning process in everything; you’re always learning from someone, whether they are better than you, the same as you, not as good as you, you’re always learning and with music, it’s such an infinite thing. Working with them was great, the learning experience; the friends of mine, a lot of them would have known what I wanted, and I would have known what they were capable of. I was lucky on this that I worked with Dave Keary, a fabulous guitar player, excellent producer and a very nice guy, it was very easy to tell him what I wanted.”
What can people expect with ‘No time like the present’?
“To be amazed! I suppose they expect to like it, Charlie McGettigan [Northern Sound Radio] had it as his album of the week on his art’s show. With the musicians involved, there is going to be interesting additions to the songs, but they all have their input, but the song still turns out what you wanted, it’s the way you planned. It’s like baking a cake, you can put so much decoration on it to enhance it; if you go over the top, you stop and pull back – but these guys are so professional they know exactly what to do.
Someone listening to it will find diversity in the music and they will find a mix of influences, like I say this is the first one, in the next one it will probably be different, I have to think positive, and I have to think it won’t be another 65 years until the next one.”
Mike O Donovan will launch his debut EP, Upstairs at Dolan’s on Thursday, December 1, in what will be a performance worth seeing with special guests joining him on the night. Tickets on the evening are €10 with doors opening at 8pm.