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The Members' Blog

Irish Musician Pat Gallagher Oozes Multi-talented Creativity

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Article by irelandwritingretreat © 7 January 2016 .
Posted in the Members' Blog ( ).




Singer, songwriter and superb guitarist, Pat Gallagher  has produced many diverse CDs, the songs from which have become musical hits nationally and internationally.

‘Las Vegas (in the Hills of Donegal)’ for example, surged to the top of the Irish charts, making him and his band, with the unforgettable name of ‘Goats Don’t Shave,’ an overnight sensation. This particular tune has since become a staple of Irish folk singer repertoires from Boston to Brisbane, Seattle to Sydney.

Living just a few miles from the location of the ‘Ireland Writing Retreat,’ Pat hosted a special one-hour performance exclusively for retreat participants during which he not only sang a selection of his songs, ranging from Irish traditional to blues and country, but also explained where the inspiration for each originated and the particular challenges he faced writing the lyrics for them.

Pat’s musical career has moved in an ever-increasing arc over the years. Having started early in life – he was an award-winning Irish singer at the regional Ulster Fleadh (Festival) when he was only 11 – he’s now a maestro of song writing, with more than 80 under his penmanship, including the hilarious lyrics and rousing satire of ‘Mary, Mary’ which opened the famous annual Dungloe festival several years ago; the haunting melody and words of ‘The Evictions,’ about the cruel events of 1861 in the Glenveigh Estate of infamous owner John George Adair in Derryveagh, west Donegal; and the nostalgic journey Pat and thousands of emigrants just like him seeking work had to take over the years on the ‘Glasgow Bus.’

Such is their success, Pat and ‘Goats Don’t Shave’ have played throughout the world, including 14 tours of the US alone, including cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale. Their debut album ‘The Rusty Razor’ went gold and London’s ‘Time Out’ magazine voted them ‘Best Band’ in 1993.

Admirably, Pat is not afraid to face up to subjects in his songs that were once considered taboo in conservative Ireland – ‘Lock It In,’ a bitter attack on men who physically abuse their partners; or “Let It Go,’ on bigotry against Travellers; or even ‘Killing Me,’ about his own past addiction to booze and cigarettes.

At the same time, his ballads are ripe with sincere sentiment – ‘Tor,’ about the joys of fatherhood (he is the proud parent of three lovely children – Fionnuala, Sarah and Ferdia) and one no doubt very close to his heart, ‘She Looked My Way,’ a song written especially for his wife, Kitty, and given to her as a surprise Christmas present – by the way, Kitty has opened her very own café, aptly called ‘Caife Kitty,’  in Bunbeg near the writing retreat where many participants enjoy succulent dishes and delicious homemade scones and cakes.

Become a Friend of Ireland Writing Retreat before January 31 and be in with the chance to win a terrific CD featuring the best of Pat Gallagher and ‘Goats Don’t Shave.’


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