Tag Archives: New Music

Introducing Rick McKee

After the introduction of band members Kevin Carlisle and David Bennington we know that the drummer is in charge and that it’s all about that bass, but the introduction of the band is not complete yet. Time to introduce Rick McKee a.k.a. Rick Star, guitar and mandolin player.

Of all band members Rick is probably the most quiet one, but (he wouldn’t say this himself!) a greatly talented guitar and mandolin player!
Rick is good company and even though he’s quiet, he’s someone to keep an eye on…never underestimate quiet people. You’re probably wondering why I’m saying this…well…there’s a story behind it.

I don’t know what it is with this band, but there’s always something with sharpies… We use those sharpies a lot…to write/change set lists, sign albums etc. When the band comes over for a tour sharpies are nowhere and everywhere and no one knows how that happens. A 10-day tour also means 10 days of chasing sharpies. Last year the band went home after the tour and later sent me this photo… Just when you think you have made it through the tour without losing sharpies…
rick-1
I would have expected any band member to fool me, but not Rick! 😉

To get to know Rick a bit better, we also sent him a list with questions. Here’s what he said:

Tell me a little about yourself in one rambling, run-on sentence J
Okay, I’m 36 years old, live in County Down, N Ireland.  I work for the Health Service and as well as being Robb’s guitar and mandolin player and also involved with the music team in a local church.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. Definitely coffee!

3 songs on your playlist right now?
Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National
Mary-Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Bittersweet Me by R.E.M.

How did you meet Robb and where?
We go way back! We went to school together – which is a frighteningly long time ago now!  But yeah, we grew up in the same town, went to the same school and were in many of the same classes. We soon discovered we had similar tastes in music and the rest is history!

Describe one perfect day…
Not being at work.  Not having to rush or sit in queues of traffic.  Just having a day of being with those I love, drinking fine coffee and listening to great music!  It’s the simple things in life, right?

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs! Definitely dogs and it’s not even close! Really don’t like cats…

Do you dance?
No! And the other guys can vouch for that! (we’ll ask them 😉 )

What song would you choose to play for the Queen and why?
Not sure, I’d probably try to do a contemporary arrangement of some old traditional hymn or something.  Something timeless that wouldn’t cause Her Majesty any offence… I’m not sure – what type of music is the Queen into?

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
You know what? I’m a real home bird.  Places mean less to me than the people I’m with.  So as long as I’m with the right person or people it doesn’t matter where I am. There’s this old monastic site about 5 or 6 miles from where I grew up though, it’s one of those places that is just always so peaceful – it’s a great little place to escape to every so often.

Favourite place in NI?
Co Down. It’s hard to specify an exact place within my home County, but there’s just so much to see and enjoy – we have countryside and coastlines to escape to as well as a lot of nice little towns with cafes and bistros.

Who would you be nervous to meet?
Bob Dylan. He’s a hero of mine – and a true legend! They say you should never meet your heroes though, right?

True or False… is it really all about the bass?
Ha! Dave would say so! And as a part-time bass player I’d probably have to agree…

Silliest thing you’ve done this past month?
I don’t do silly things – I’m much too boring!

What is your most valued possession?
That would be my (main) acoustic guitar. It’s handcrafted from start to finish by a local luthier and is a work of art!  I love it!

Future plans?
That’s a big question! Who knows?? Haven’t thought that far ahead – I struggle to organise the present from time to time, so allow me to sort that out and then I’ll get back to you about the future!

If a penguin wearing a sombrero walked into your room right now, what would you do and why?
I’d wonder who spiked my coffee with what!

Name one thing about music that drives you crazy?
The industry that surrounds it. It’s a popularity contest – style over substance etc… It actually hinders real, hardworking musicians – and that’s not just me being bitter at the fact that I’m in my mid-thirties and haven’t “made it” – whatever that means!  I think most real musicians would agree with me on that one.

Can you share some of your thoughts on the music scene in NI?
Yeah, that’s a weird one – ’cause despite being involved with it I kind of feel a bit out-of-the-loop too!  There’s a lot of great talent out there, but because NI is quite a small country the local scene has become pretty saturated.  It’d be great to see more local acts break into the main Irish/UK and international music scenes though.

I know you have quite a collection of amazing instruments… is there a favourite?
There are a couple of favourites.  My handcrafted acoustic that I mentioned earlier and my Fender USA ’52 Reissue Telecaster – I’ve had it for years and it has seen a number of tweaks and mods, but for me it just sounds, feels and looks right – I love it!

Batman or Superman?
Batman – better car!

Top 3 places you’d love to play live
Later with Jools Holland, The SSE Arena in Belfast and the O2 in Dublin – all pretty ambitious I guess!

What surprises you the most?
That I keep getting asked to play for people!  I honestly don’t rate myself that highly as a musician but I keep getting opportunities to play with some hugely talented, great musicians – I guess I must be doing something right!  I have a t-shirt that has “World’s Okayest Guitar Player” printed on it – that honestly sums up how I feel about myself as a guitarist – I know I’m not terrible, but I am pretty okay!  I’m so thankful I get the chance to do what I do though!

Thanks very much for this Rick!

You can follow Rick on Twitter. Stop by and say hello!

Introducing David Bennington…it’s all about that bass…

After the introduction of the man behind the beat, Kevin Carlisle, it’s time to introduce another band member. David Bennington, a.k.a. Sexy Dave, a.k.a. Captain Banter.

People who follow Robb or have seen him and the band live will know that Dave can play bass and trumpet simultaneously. This all started a couple of years ago when the band was practicing the song ‘Sleep Tonight’. When playing this song live the trumpet was missing and Robb asked Dave if he couldn’t just play both bass and guitar. Dave took on the challenge and started doing it. Where ever the band plays, this always leads to a lot of positive reactions from people being surprised and amazed by it.
Things are never boring when Dave is around! Dave loves sports and is very active. He even gets the band doing pull ups and yoga! When touring in The Netherlands Dave a.k.a. Captain Banter also drives a lot… If Dave decides to be Captain Banter we always need 15 minutes extra time, because before driving off he will tell everyone the safety instructions, he’ll check if the person sitting next to the door is capable of opening the door in case of an emergency and he’ll not leave until everyone has confirmed to have understood the safety instructions and rules on board.

To get to know Dave a bit better, we sent him a list of questions. Here’s what he said:

Tell me a little about yourself in one rambling, run-on sentence 🙂
20 something, moderately active, love jeans, hate trousers, brown hair, brown eyes, bass player, computer programmer, wine and gin lover, terrible sense of humour.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee before dinner, tea afterwards 😉

3 songs on your playlist right now?
a. Two Steps from Hell: Stay
b. Muse: The Handler
c. Mario Kart 8 title theme – I played that with the Irish Video Games Orchestra, great tune.

How did you meet Robb and where?
When I was a student I was looking for a band to play electric guitar with. Cruised around some wanted ads and found one that I liked the sound of: turned out to be a Robb creation! Sadly wasn’t as popular as I thought it should have been (of course!).

Describe one perfect day…
I couldn’t, I would be asleep. Jokes. I would wake up in a penthouse room in a swish hotel with the sun beaming in, breakfast served on the balcony of course. Follow this with some swimming and relaxing until a light lunch, then a couple of hours of yoga. Drinks and reading sci-fi novels until dinner, which would be fancy, then banter with friends in the bar until the wee hours.

Cats or Dogs?
Well I already have 2 cats, so I guess cats it is!

Do you dance?
Depends who you ask. Probably more accurate to say that I attempt to dance. I know there’s videos out there somewhere…

What song would you choose to play for the Queen and why?
I would play the national anthem. On 3 different instruments. In 3 different styles.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be and why?
Backstage at a sunny festival. Failing that just anywhere outside.

Favourite place in NI?
I don’t really have one favourite place really, though when I need to reset myself I go for a walk at Helens Bay. Love the sound and smell of the sea.

Who would you be nervous to meet?
John Carmack. One of the smartest guys on the planet.

True or False… is it really all about the bass?
True, obviously

Silliest thing you’ve done this past month?
Dancing at a new years party. Silly (funny) because I can’t dance and silly (stupid)

What is your most valued possession?
I have a small stuffed toy that I’ve had since I was about 3 months old. Everything else I own is replaceable, except that.

Future plans?
No idea, never really known tbh. I just try and do whatever I enjoy doing and see where that leads me.

If a penguin wearing a sombrero walked into your room right now, what would you do and why?
Put on my own sombrero, open the tequila and just go with it.

Name one thing about music that drives you crazy?
Good crazy or bad crazy? I love close harmonies, but can’t stand manufactured singers.

Can you share some of your thoughts on the music scene in NI?
It *could* be great, but things just start too late here. Nobody wants to still be listening to a band at like 12, they’re already in clubs by then. Bands need to be playing earlier before the party crowds are heading out.

How many instruments do you play?
Well? Trumpet, guitar and bass. I can play a tune on some others but I don’t sound those!

Mac or Windows?
Mac. Used to be windows but I work with linux systems as a day job and and OSX is similar enough to work well, as well as they just look lovely.

Top 3 places you’d love to live
California, Costa Blanca, and Belfast. I’m not kidding, as long as you can get away for a sunny holiday when the weathers crap, Belfast is an amazing place to live.

What surprises you the most?
How utterly stupid some people can be when driving.

Favourite thing about the Netherlands?
Gotta be the people. They have a really relaxed attitude, easy to get on with.

Favourite song from high school?
See, I had 2 major phases in school – trance and alternative. Would be unfair to myself to just pick one, so if you’ll allow me I’ll have 2! Kylie Minogue ‘On A Night Like This’ and Placebo’s ‘My Sweet Prince’. There’s a ton of other ones up there, but those come to mind first!

What inspires you?
Anybody who has a passion for what they do. Doesn’t really matter what, but seeing people who love what they do and give 100% is a fantastic thing.

Thanks very much for this Dave!

You can follow Dave on Twitter. Stop by and say hello!

Where does time go?

It’s Saturday morning…a very lazy Saturday morning. It’s chilly, so I’ve put on the heater and made myself a big mug of tea. I didn’t even bother to get dressed yet… Sitting here with a warm blanket wrapped around me, sipping from my tea I thought that it’s the perfect moment to write a blog again.

Where does time go?? A month and a half ago I wrote my last blog and so much has happened since then! I don’t even know where to start…
When I wrote my last blog we were in the middle of preparing the tour of The Netherlands which took place at the end of October/start of November.
The tour…what a great week that was! Not everything went as planned, but what a great time we had. The gigs, radio and TV shows… There even was a bit of time to do some sightseeing. The pictures below sum up the tour very well.

It was good to see familiar faces again and also very good to meet a lot of new people. The response from the audience was absolutely great. Thank you to everyone who came to the gigs! You’ve been great and your support is much appreciated!
I’ve mentioned it in blogs before, but there are always a lot of people involved with a tour. From venues to people who lend us instruments and gear. From press/radio and TV to support acts… It’s impossible to name everyone, but without them we wouldn’t be able to do this.
So…a big thank you to everyone who helped us making this tour possible!
We all took home such great memories.

Keep an eye out on Social Media because at the moment there’s a lot being shared about the tour!

In the week the band returned from the tour a couple of sessions took place at home. Robb did a solo session for Roadie TV. The three songs Robb performed will be released over the following weeks. The first song was shared yesterday and you can watch it here:
https://www.facebook.com/RoadieTV1/videos/1827151900894709/ 

Robb and the band also did a session for Slemish Sessions.
A new song was filmed and recorded. Next to that the band also played a Christmas song.
These videos will be released in December.

Meanwhile we are making plans for 2017.
Keep an eye out on social media to stay updated on everything happening.
And…keep an eye out on this blog as well… I’ve been writing a lot of blogs over the past years but not once I’ve introduced the band… I think it’s about time to do that! So…at the moment all band members are being challenged to answer (somewhat unusual) questions 😉
More about this soon!

A song to end this blog with. A new song, called ‘One More Last High’. This song was recorded during a session for Alternative FM (ZFM Zandvoort) while touring in The Netherlands.
Sometimes everything happens at the right place at the right moment…and we can sure say that about this session. It was a very special session in more than one way. Watch and enjoy!

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!

My Joy

Lyrics

I heard somebody say
We weren’t built in that way
Now its been ten years more
And I still come through that door

When I was just a boy
My heart was filled with joy
Some years can leave you burned
Now my joy has returned

I will be the one for you
I will share it all with you
And when our minds are tired and old I will hold you
Just like we are new

It is a lonely heart
That makes true love depart
I once was just like you
Stubborn in my point of view
It’s what men do

I will be the one for you
I will share it all with you
And when our minds are tired and old I will hold you
Just like we are new

And all I see is colours when I hold you tight
It takes much more than dollars just to make it right
Yeah there’s ups and downs but even day has night

I will be the one for you
I will share it all with you
And when our minds are tired and old I will hold you

And I will give it all to you
Nothing less would ever do
And when our days are nearly though I will still love
Just like we are new

Usually I’m ending my blogs with music, but I thought I’d start my blog with music for a change…
“My Joy”, a new song. Robb shared it with the public a couple of days ago.
Robb and the band have been working on new songs in the past months and ‘My Joy’ is the first song of the new album that’s finished. Here’s what Robb says about it himself:

On YouTube Robb explains how this song came together:
“Written at the end of last year ‘My Joy’ came together pretty fast, the guitar phrases through-out lead the vocal melody. The first line of the song jumped into my head when playing the riff, “I heard somebody say, we weren’t built in that way. Now it’s been ten years more, and I still come through that door”. This set me on the path to tell a story of a love which does not grow old, even though the body does. The band then added layers and the song builds organically until the end with the aim to leave the listener both hopeful and uplifted! Thanks for listening – Robb”

We’re not sure yet when the next album will be released. There’s a lot of recording to do for it and just like any other album, it’s a long creative process.

Robb and the band started rehearsing again. They’re also practicing new songs, which can be heard live during the upcoming tour of The Netherlands.  It’s going to be the fourth time that Robb and the band will be touring in The Netherlands and it’s a very full schedule. We’re preparing things for the tour at the moment and we’re really looking forward to it.

2016-poster-a3-lower-res

Do you want to stay updated on all things happening? Don’t want to miss out on Robb and the band’s shenanigans?
Follow Robb Murphy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

https://twitter.com/TheRobbMurphy

https://www.facebook.com/TheRobbMurphy/

https://www.instagram.com/therobbmurphy/

Thanks for reading! Wishing you all a good day!

Summer

Summer… I always enjoy summer more than any other time of the year.
The long days, sunshine, warmth, hearing the birds, seeing the butterflies, beautiful flowers, blooming bushes and trees… Windows and doors open, fresh air coming into the house… I love to just sit outside and look up to the constantly changing sky, watch the sunset or the stars…

We just returned from a holiday in Tuscany, Italy. Visiting Italy has been on our bucket list for ages, but we never had a chance to see the country until now. It’s the best holiday we’ve ever had. Thinking back of it all makes me aware of how fortunate we are that we’ve been able to do this.
We’ve experienced and seen so much. Tuscany really is one big open-air museum with a beautiful variety of landscapes, from mountains, to hills, sandy beaches, sunflower fields, olive groves, vineyards, cypresses and ancient medieval towns. A place where it’s warm and where you will see the sun every day… Italy brings a certain feeling, it’s a beautiful country which (like any other country) you will just have to visit and experience yourself. We enjoyed our stay there a lot and we will definitely go back there again. There was just too much to see and to do, we couldn’t see it all in 3 weeks!

Italy, it’s also where Robb found the inspiration to write the album Sleep Tonight. We saw many of the places that have been an inspiration to Robb, which was good. Every song on the album brings a certain feeling. A feeling that is even more intense now I’ve seen and experienced Tuscany myself. Sunny Mountain is probably the best example…”I’ve got a feeling that I’ll long for this place badly when I want to be free”…

We’re just back and I’m already longing for this place… We took home so many great memories. The house we rented was just perfect. It had a large porch where we would sit every morning when waking up with coffee, having a view on the mountains…we could see the sun go down from the porch as well and were treated on beautiful sunsets every day. I’ll not forget the moment when I went for a swim in the pool for the first time and looked around, being overwhelmed by the view…the mountains, the vineyard and around the pool the olive trees, peach trees, pear trees, fig trees and lemon trees. The owner of the house kept providing us with fresh fruit from the garden and homemade wine. Not to forget the great Italian food and ice creams! I just so loved the place, it was close enough to the beach and cities/places we wanted to visit and far away enough from the very busy touristic places to get our much needed rest.
And then there are the great (and often awkward) experiences of being in a different country…the language issues, learning new words (mostly in the supermarket), the traffic…Italian people drive slightly different than they do in The Netherlands… It’s a totally different culture where people are busy in the mornings, shops are closing in the afternoon and where you will see local people gathering on the piazzas until the most warm part of the day is over. After that the shops open again and cities and towns come back to life. Below some of the pictures we took during our time in Italy.

Right…back to reality 😉
It’s time to start working on the music again. There’s a lot to do in the following months. Robb and the band will start rehearsing again in September, followed by a tour of The Netherlands in October.
(dates can be found here: https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_shows/1492877 )

Meanwhile we’re working on the last release from the album Sleep Tonight, which will be the title track. Teaming up with The Samaritans, this release aims to help raise awareness for mental health. Currently an animation is being created by very talented artist Maria Becvar using the full album version of the song, 6’30”, featuring The Ulster String Quartet.
Next to that Robb is also writing and working on songs for a new album.
Busy times ahead of us, but with our batteries charged again, we’re looking forward to what is to come!

Time to end this long blog….with a song…as always.
A new song, ‘Knock Me Down’. Robb recorded an acoustic live version of this song in Italy.
Watch, enjoy and feel free to share!

Coincidence?

“We don’t meet people by coincidence. They are meant to cross our path for a reason”

I’m in a thoughtful mood at the moment and in the past week I’ve been thinking about a lot of what seem to be random events, but actually aren’t. I’ve been thinking about the people I’ve met and the events happening in my life in the past few years and how those people or events affected me in a positive or negative way.

So many people we pass each day while going to work, doing groceries, heading back home, getting out for a walk, doing day-to-day activities and even while being online. Most people you won’t even notice, but sometimes someone stops you in your tracks long enough for you to become aware of them.
Sometimes someone is there in your life for only an hour, a week or maybe a bit longer, but even though they are there for a very short period of time, they can leave a life lasting memory. Sometimes you meet people who will stay, people who will become acquaintances. Once in a while, although this is rare, the relationship you have with an acquaintance will grow into friendship. These people are the ones to keep around.

I believe that people don’t just randomly cross your path, there’s always a reason behind it. Everything happens for a reason…If you take time to reflect you will learn a lot about yourself and it will make you grow as a person, whether the events happening in your life are positive or not. Sometimes you meet people and you right away know that they were meant to be there and sometimes it may take a while before you see the purpose or the reason behind meeting certain people. There are people you want to run away from immediately, but there are also people who will touch your heart even if they’re only there for a very short period of time. Some people will bring the best out of you, others the worst. Sometimes you meet people who will teach you a lesson, whether or not it’s a lesson you want to learn…it wakes you up and gets you thinking. Sometimes you meet people you will inspire or they will inspire you and you meet people to become a better version of yourself.  It’s all up to you to decide whether or not you allow the people you meet to come into your life and it’s up to you how to respond to the events happening.

Thinking about this all puts a smile on my face. It makes me aware of how lucky I am having a wonderful husband, children, family and friends. I am grateful…grateful for all the people who have crossed my path…whether they stayed or not or whether the events happening in my life were positive or not…it has all shaped me to who I am today.

As I’m writing this blog the music work distracts me… The music work…something that has become such a big part of my life and something I really love doing… There is a lot of work to do at the moment. One of the things that’s keeping us busy behind the scenes is the tour of The Netherlands in October… It’s still a long time before the tour starts…5 ½ months to be exact, but things like accommodation and flights already have to be booked in order to keep the costs as low as possible and to make sure that the band has a nice and comfortable place to stay. Once accommodation and flights are booked it becomes more ‘real’ and it makes us look forward to the tour!
There’s more news to be shared very soon, so stay tuned and keep an eye on Robb’s facebook page and Twitter to stay updated:

https://www.facebook.com/TheRobbMurphy/

https://twitter.com/TheRobbMurphy

A song to end this blog with…

Trump Card Hand

Lyrics:
I was standing in the back of the line 
Took up space so I stepped to the side
I am waiting in the shade not the light
I’ll get my chance my wings and fly

I won’t make a sound tonight
I won’t put myself in that spotlight
But I will reach for the best I can do
To prove to myself I can see this through

I had a little love but I never said
Thought it best to keep it in my head
I don’t want to be saying love has passed me by
I got to be a man about it and try
I’ve seen a little heaven when I look in your eyes

So here we are with a trump card hand
Making money from nothing, second hand land
Now I don’t see why we struggle to save
Can’t take it with us when we go to the grave

I’ve had a little luck ‘cos I’m still alive
Surely better than me should have survived
I don’t want to be saying love has passed me by
I got to be a man about it and try
I’ve seen little heaven when I look in your eyes

I see a little heaven when I look in your eyes

 

Nincompoop

The title of this blog might make you wonder if I’m alright…
Yes I am, it’s just that I learned a new English word yesterday, nincompoop…
Robb said it yesterday. During a conversation online he mentioned being a nincompoop. Nincompoop?? What’s a nincompoop?? A very strange and very wrong sounding word it is to me! As you’ve probably read in my previous blogs, I’m from The Netherlands, English isn’t my native language. We always understand each other, but every now and then a word is being mentioned that I never heard of before…which happened yesterday. I even had to check if it was appropriate to use that word as a blog title!
I really didn’t have a clue what nincompoop means. Explanation was needed for me to understand that nincompoop means, ‘silly or foolish person’.
The word made me curious though. Where does it come from? I just spent half an hour reading about it and the origin of nincompoop is a matter of speculation. There are numerous theories to find about that word. Some say it’s coming from the Latin phrase ‘non compos mentis’, meaning “not of sound mind”, others suggest that it is coming from the French phrase ‘ne comprend pas’, meaning ‘he does not understand’. It can also come from the Dutch word ‘poep’, meaning  ‘poop’.
Anyway, I will probably never forget this word. It’s the most silly English word I ever heard.

Onto the next ‘foolish’ subject.
‘To Be A Fool’ single release! Robb will release ‘To Be A Fool’ on April Fools Day along with a video filled with silly photos and video snippets from the band and fans from around the world.
The single is a remix of the original track taken from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’, featuring the Ulster String Quartet. Together with Alan Ladd, Robb also recorded an acoustic version of ‘To Be A Fool’.
This acoustic version came about accidentally. Alan was working on a dance remix of ‘To Be A Fool’. He was trying out some chords on the piano and it sounded nice on just the piano. They decided to record it and the result is an amazing acoustic version of ‘To Be A Fool’.
You can listen to both songs now!

‘To Be A Fool’ will be available on Bandcamp, iTunes, iTunes Music Player, Google Play Music, Amazon and other online music stores from the 1st of April.

Time to end this blog and why not do that with more silliness?
Robb was bored last week, so he took a lovely picture of himself…

Robb

A day later it was St. Patrick’s Day and I think Robb was still bored or simply had too much time on his hands…

 

Have a great week! And…remember to smile and do something silly…be a nincompoop!