Tag Archive: Joe Hurley


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Honoring the spirit of Charles Dickens in this bicentenary year of his birth, and keeping with the spirit of the season he captured in “A Christmas Carol,” an exceptional group of artists, writers, musicians, actors and other notables are pooling their talents to stage a very special fundraiser to benefit Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts in a truly devastated part of NYC. Called “A Dickens Christmas for The Rockaways” the gala event will be held Thurs. Dec. 6, 2012 starting at 7:00 PM at Theater 80 at 80 St. Marks Place in New York’s East Village.

Joe Hurley Photo Credit: Gina Herold

Joe Hurley Photo Credit: Gina Herold

Organized by award-winning musician/actor Joe Hurley, the extraordinary evening will spotlight a lively mix of luminaries from world of arts, letters, & music. Hosting with his dear friend, novelist Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles, who has flown thousands of miles to be here, to help out in the Dickensian spirit. Lucinda will strike a holiday tone with an inspiring talk of how Dickens came to write the classic “A Christmas Carol.”

Waiting in the wings to delight the audience will be National Book Award winner Colum McCann, actress Cara Seymour, memiorist Alphie McCourt, actor Mike McGlone, writer Mary Norris, journalist Bob Hardt, composer/playwright Jill Santoriello, musicians Kenny Margolis and Chris Flynn, writer/performer James Braly, singer/actress Dana McCoy and musician/actor Joe Hurley. Hurley, who has strong ties to The Rockaways, and is grateful and deeply moved by all the support given by everyone.

All benefit proceeds raised through “A Dickens Christmas for The Rockaways” will be directed to The Graybeards, a Rockaways non-profit 501c3 formed in the aftermath of 9/11 by firemen, policemen, and residents of Rockaway to help those in the community in their time of need. These men have all sustained their own personal losses due to Hurricane Sandy, yet they still find a way to train their focus on service to the community every single day.

We’ve received some great press for the event already, so you can learn more about it in a NY1 interview segment aired on Monday night, and in mentions on The New Yorker, Esquire, and Irish Central websites.

A maximum of 180 tickets will be sold. Tickets for the very limited VIP stage seating are $200, house seats are $100.

We’ve set aside a very limited number of tickets for half price. That’s $50 for an evening of music, literature, and the spirit of giving, all to benefit relief efforts in The Rockaways. All you have to do is visit our ticket purchase page, enter the word ‘dickens’ (without the quotes) in the promotional code field, and select the “Joe’s List” ticket option.

PURCHASE TICKETS

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For more on the Dickens Christmas for The Rockaways please visit:
Facebook Page
Facebook Event Page
The New Yorker
Esquire
Irish Central

For more on Joe Hurley please visit:
Twitter
Live performance of ‘Rockaway’ (single to be released in December)
RoguesMarch.com


What’s The Buzz ?


Joe Hurley’s Announces Sunday’s Ourland Fest, NYC Celebrating Irish Culture at Lincoln Center

L-R Joe Hurley, Alphie McCourt, Tami Lynn

L-R Joe Hurley, Alphie McCourt, Tami Lynn

Dear friends,

Hope you’re well and having a great summer.

Below is exciting news of next Sunday’s Ourland Fest, NYC’s first ever day long free festival celebrating Irish culture at Lincoln Center.

Sunday July 29, 2-10pm, Lincoln Center Out of Doors present OurLand: Celebrating Irish Culture in America!

The Music, The Bards, The Magic!
Artistic Director Joe Hurley
Presented in Partnership with The Gathering Ireland 2013
In Association with The Consulate General of Ireland
A day of Irish Music, Poetry, Literature, Theatre, Dance and more!

There will be a Limited number of VIP Packages that include Invite to exclusive VIP After-Party, seats in the OurLand reserved section in Damrosch Park & Many More Perks. Links for Donation Levels will be avail Thursday!
Full Artist Listing evolving on Facebook.
Here’s a taste of some of the Stars:
Pulitzer Prize Winner William Kennedy (Ironweed)

L-R Hanora ODea Kilkenny, Consul General Noel Kilkenny, Blue Oyster Cults Joe and Albert Bouchard, R and R Hall of Famer from Alice Cooper Group Dennis Dunaway, Joe Hurley, Thomas Bahler associate producer and arranger of We Are The World

L-R Hanora O'Dea Kilkenny, Consul General Noel Kilkenny, Blue Oyster Cult's Joe and Albert Bouchard, R and R Hall of Famer from Alice Cooper Group Dennis Dunaway, Joe Hurley, Thomas Bahler associate producer and arranger of We Are The World

Film/Broadway Actors Cara Seymour (Gangs of New York)
Angelica Page (“The Best Man”)
Tony Winner Michael Cerveris (“Evita”)
The Cast of Once, 2012 Best Musical
Malachy and Alfie McCourt
Flogging Molly’s Matt Hensley
New York Dolls Sylvain Sylvain
Best-Selling Novelist Peter Quinn
R&R Hall of Famer Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper)
Bob Dylan’s band leader, Tony Garnier
Joe Hurley & the Gents
Ireland’s only 2 Star Michelin Chef, Conrad Gallagher
Irish Supergroup Cherish The Ladies
Lez Zeppelin’s Shannon Conley
Get Smart’s Barbara Feldon
Thomas Bahler “We Are The World”
Tribute to Alan Lomax
Soul Legend Tami Lynn (Stones “Exile”)
Willie Nile
And for the finale!!! JOE HURLEY’S ALL STAR IRISH ROCK REVUE!
www.roguesmarch.com/irishrevue
www.facebook.com/JoeHurleysAllStarIrishRockRevue

Introduced by Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny, and Artistic Director

Joe Hurley, “Our Land” will celebrate the artistic, literary and musical heritage of Ireland, the mark it made on America and the cross-cultural ties that bind the two countries.

An all-day extravaganza exploring how the Irish helped to build NYC, with ‘Nothing But Their Genius’, while shining a light on Irish and Irish-Americans contribution to the American Songbook and culture., OurLand takes place at multiple spaces on the Lincoln Center campus.
We’ll move through the fair and into the night with song, dance, poets, authors, artists, street performers, exhibits, book and CD signings.

Gathering The Bards: From Galway to Rockaway – 2pm, “The Bards
Stage” aka Hearst Plaza

Weaving the art of storytelling with original works & classics, Irish-American culture in verse and song …

Joe Hurley with Broadways Angelica Page

Joe Hurley with Broadway's Angelica Page

Pulitzer Prize Winner William Kennedy, Actors Cara Seymour, Angelica Page, Barbara Feldon Aedin Moloney, Malachy McCourt, Alfie McCourt, Novelists Peter Quinn, Tom Kelly, John Swenson, Thomas Bahler, and Mike Farragher, Musicians Cherish the Ladies, Kirk Kelly, Niamh Hyland, Colin Broderick, David O’Leary, WB Yeats Society of NY, Gerard McNamee, Salina Mailer, Faith Hahn, Marni Rice, Dana McCoy, Honor Molloy, John S. Hall,Trisha McCormack, IAW&A and more in a wildly eclectic and interactive parade of The Jewels of Ireland’s Bards.

The Auld Triangle – “Nothing but my Genius” – at 5pm, Josie Robertson Plaza

Take a wild,magical stroll on Raglan Road with buskers, poets, painters, and dancers that will stir your soul. Behan to Beckett, Christy Moore to James Joyce – Bring your voice– Alive-Alive Oh! (w/ Flogging Molly’s Matt Hensley, The Mercantillers, Marie Reilly, Seamus Kelleher)

6pm Thousands Are Sailing -’The Sailing Stage’ aka Damrosch Park Bandshell

A Performance from the cast of ONCE, winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards incl: BEST MUSICAL!

Then it’s A Parting Glass: Celebrating the legendary ALAN LOMAX’s work preserving
Ireland’s Musical Heritage. Lomax’s recordings in Ireland are a shared musical treasure and will be honored with Round Robin-style Irish-Americana performances led by Lomax archive director Don Fleming, Cherish the Ladies, Lianne Smith, and special friends. With the original 2-track recorder onstage used to capture these historical Irish recordings, The 78 rpm project will also be there for new live versions of these gems!

At 7pm, Joe Hurley and The Gents take the stage
The New Yorker called Hurley “One of the city’s deepest pop singers, both in his vocal range and the level of his soulfulness… mesmerizing.” Their set

Floggin Mollys Matt Hensley

Floggin Molly's Matt Hensley

will include a performance of Hurley’s CD Let the Great World Spin, created with and inspired by Colum McCann’s Award Winning novel. The Gents feature Tony Garnier ( Dylan Bandleader) Ken Margolis, Megan Gould, Steve Goulding, special guests Flogging Molly’s Matt Hensley & the gospel trio Antonique Smith, Tami Lynn, & Faith Hahn.

8pm Joe Hurley’s All-Star Irish Rock Revue!

A Beloved NYC institution, “that receives rave reviews every year” NEW YORK MAGAZINE

The All Star Irish Rock Revue celebrates Ireland’s musical gifts to the world as guests dive into “The Great Irish Songbook,” performing the timeless classics of Thin Lizzy, U2, Van Morrison, The Undertones, Pogues, Elvis Costello, Stiff Little Fingers, John Lydon & more.

Co-host Ed Rogers

Co-host Ed Rogers

Co-hosted by the critically lauded Edward Rogers, early confirmations include Willie Nile, Tony Winner Michael Cerveris, Ellen Foley, Tami Lynn (Dr. John, The Stones) R&R Hall of Famer Dennis Dunaway, Film Star Antonique Smith (‘Notorious’), The New York Dolls’ Syl Sylvain, Led Zeppelin’s Shannon Conley, Owen McCarthy, UK’s Stephen Frost, Tish & Snooky, Mary Lee Kortes, Sam Bisbee, Joe McGinty, Sherryl Marshall, Tricia Scotti, Blue Coupe, Jamie Noone, Al Landess, & members of Rogue’s March, The Mekons, Cracker, The Ian Hunter Band, Blue Oyster Cult. MD is Chris Flynn. IRR Band includes Jeremy Chatzsky, Mark Bosch, The Gents & Guests.

Artistic Director Joe Hurley has sung and recorded with artists ranging from The Chieftains to Judy Collins and Shane MacGowan, Sam Shepard to Flogging Molly, Jimmy Webb to Maude Maggart. His collaboration with Irish Novelist Colum McCann, on The CD ‘Let The Great World Spin’, led to their acclaimed tours of Europe together.

Hurley, Johnny Depp and Keith Richards recently won two Audie Awards for their narration of Richards’ international Best-Seller LIFE, including the ‘AudioBook of the Year’ Award. With Rogue’s March and The Gents he’s released many critically-acclaimed CDs, and his ballad ‘Amsterdam Mistress’ is featured on SONY MUSIC’s ‘Whiskey In The Jar-Essential Irish Songs’ alongside classics from The Pogues, Dubliners, and Clancy Brothers.

Hurley and 75 authors entered the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records for their 24 hour live- broadcast global readings on peace. www.AuthorsForPeace.org
‘OurLand’ is an outgrowth of the annual All-Star Irish Rock Revue Charity Concerts that Hurley has held at sold-out venues around New York, since 1999.

We hope to see you at the OurLand Gathering. There are no strangers here, only friends we haven’t met yet.
‘The Gathering Ireland 2013 is a year-long celebration of Ireland and all things Irish. A once in a lifetime opportunity to come and experience all that is great about Ireland. 2013 is the year to visit Ireland or come home. Be part of it.’
www.discoverireland.com

* Follow OurLand on Facebook
http://www.reverbnation.com/c/fan_reach/pt?eid=text_email_lnk1013&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJoeHurleysOurLandFest
* Follow OurLand on Twitter
http://www.reverbnation.com/c/fan_reach/pt?eid=text_email_lnk1014&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.twitter.com%2FOurLandFest
* Follow Joe Hurley on Facebook
http://www.reverbnation.com/c/fan_reach/pt?eid=text_email_lnk1015&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJoeHurleyMusic
* Follow Joe Hurley on Twitter
http://www.reverbnation.com/c/fan_reach/pt?eid=text_email_lnk1016&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.twitter.com%2FJoeHurleyMusic
*Rougesmarch
www.roguesmarch.com/irishrevue
* Buy Joe Hurley music
http://www.reverbnation.com/c/fan_reach/pt?eid=text_email_lnk1018&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjoehurley.bandcamp.com%2F
* Watch the OurLand launch party feature on PBS’ “Out of Ireland”
http://www.reverbnation.com/c/fan_reach/pt?eid=text_email_lnk1019&url=http%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FLHE4_Nl9Qpc

“Johnny Depp Leads A Rocking Cast for Keith Richards’ Life”, by Lisa Schwartzbaum reproduced from Entertainment Weekly, 22 July 2011 .

Singer/songwriter Joe Hurley (l) and producer/director Michele McGonigle of Hachette Audio pose for the camera at the 16th Annual Audie Awards held in New York, May 24th, 2011. Hurley accepted two awards for “LIFE” which took home the top award of the evening, “Audio Book of the Year.

LIFE was narrated by Hurley and Johnny Depp and released by Hachette Audio. The audio book captures the rock-n-roll spirit and life of Keith Richards. LIFE competed against The Woody Allen Collection and The Red Pyramid for the prestigious award.

http://www.roguesmarch.com
http://myspace.com/roguesmarchmusic
http://myspace.com/irishrockrevue

“World” Traveler

NYC musical luminary JOE HURLEY’s collaboration with award-winning author Colum McCann strikes a chord with audiences across the globe

By: Erik Philbrook, August 2010

“I need to leave New York to clear my head a lot,” says singer-songwriter Joe Hurley. “Everyone should experience the glorioushappenstance that is everywhere.” Fortunately, Hurley has ample opportunity to do that these days. He recently performed at the opening night of Ireland’s West Belfast Festival, and in September he will appear as a “Musical Artist in Residence” at the International Berlin Literature Festival. A London-bred, Irish-blooded New Yorker, Hurley also recently basked in the glory of international audiences singing along to songs he co-wrote with Colum McCann, the National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin, a sweeping social novel set in 70’s New York City. The songwriter and the novelist collaborated on a “mini-album” of songs inspired by a character in McCann’s book, a prostitute named Tillie. The two writers then launched the book and CD, entitled The House That Horse Built (Let the Great World Spin), on a soldout tour of Europe, from London to Vienna, Paris to Berlin.

Written before McCann’s book was released, the CD (now available on iTunes), was produced by Don Fleming and features an amazing all-star cast of musicians. It is the latest unexpected twist in Hurley’s eclectic and prolific career. In addition to fronting two bands, Rogues March and The Gents, he has sung and/or recorded with a wildly diverse mix of artists, including Ian Hunter, Sam Shepard, Marianne Faithfull, Judy Collins and Jimmy Webb, Shane MacGowan, PJ Harvey, The Waco Bros, The Nick Drake Orchestra, Andrea Marcovicci, Nellie McKay, Steve Wynn and many more.

With J.J. Abrams (Lost) on board to produce a film version of Let the Great World Spin, Hurley and McCann’s unique collaboration should continue to garner great interest. Hurley recently spoke to Playback about the project.

How did this project come together?

It came about from a late-night phone call. My friend Colum asked me to read a chapter about Tillie, this 38 year-old black prostitute from the Bronx who was in jail in 1974. She’s reflecting on her tragic life. He asked me to write a song about her. Of course, I wrote it right away and it completely moved me. That lead to another song, and another song, and it became a bit of an epic, which became this mini-album.

What was Colum’s response to your songs?

I invited him down to hear the music and lyrics I had written. We were sitting in this East Village garden and I played them on guitar, and, luckily, he just loved them. When I sang the chorus to the title track, “Let the Great World Spin,” I don’t think I’ve ever seen him light up like that before. We then worked on the lyrics together, swapping lines and phrases until the incredibly complex emotions of this incredible character – her words, her raw ache, her voice – just locked. We both knew at once that we had captured the essence of her soul.

That must have been such a triumphant feeling

It was a relief. Colum is one of the world’s great writers. And this woman is such an extraordinary character. For him to tell me that I had captured her was a beautiful and truly humbling moment. Because we were fans of each other’s work, we had a shared vision of where we wanted to go with this. So, if a line was too pretty, if it didn’t seem to go with her character, we’d chuck it away into the wind until it came back more shattered.

Why do you think you and Colum click so well as writers?

We both have that outsider’s perspective. For instance, I’m a New Yorker, but I grew up in London, and I’m Irish. So, there’s an outsider’s perspective in me and that gives me a degree of empathy, an entrance into certain people’s souls, especially the ones that maybe fall through the cracks, who want to belong somewhere, but who are too broken to even know where that might be. We both love to tell their stories, and they deserve telling. I like to have my heart broken. I personally need the melancholy to soothe my soul. The ballads are in my blood.

Has entering the character of Tillie’s world changed your songwriting since?

Working with Colum was a whole new world. After we recorded, we did a European tour. Everywhere we went the songs struck an incredible chord with the crowds. We played ships in Hamburg, palaces in Paris, bookshops, 200 year-old theatres in Vienna. Colum would read from the book, and then I would immediately play, just me and a J-45, but, man, I had some great backing vocalists, some with French accents, some German, some Austrian, which was incredible to me because they had never heard these songs before. That told me that the songs proved to be universal in their understanding of the character. That truly moved me.

Tell me about the great group of musicians with whom you worked on recording.

The band for the recording included myself on guitar and voice; my band the Gents, including James Mastro [Ian Hunter] on guitar, Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith) on bass, Kenny Margolis (Cracker) on piano/accordion, Megan Weeder on violin; and special guests Matt Sweeney ( Bonnie Prince Billy, Johnny Cash) on acoustic guitar, Denis Diken (The Smithereens) on drums, the gospel choir of soul legend Tami Lynn ( The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, Dr John, Bob Dylan), soul-singing film star Antonique Smith (Notorious) and ingenue Faith Hahn, Joe Mcginty on organ, and six-time Grammy-winning Irish music legend Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. It was produced By Don Fleming (Nancy Sinatra, Sonic Youth, Pete Yorn, Alice Cooper, Hunter S. Thompson). Don was great. He knew what Colum and I wanted, and he got it from everyone. What a cast of brilliant players from such diverse backgrounds. You’d never find a group like this again in a million years of recording sesssions. They were perfect, and they all got “it.” – the desolate dark mood we wanted to evoke, the sleazy streets and sirens of 1974, with just that glimmer of hope in the form of the “angels” – my gospel ladies.

As Tami Lynn said to me, “It was one of those rare, magical times when everyone truly lost themselves in the songs.”

In His Own Words: Joe Hurley on the Wild End of the Recording, Paddy Moloney and the Final Mix

{Editor’s note: Ah, the Irish! Storytelling courses through their veins like a mountain brook. My interview with Joe Hurley was a gushing well of funny, fascinating anecdotes about his experiences working with an incredible range of fellow writers and musicians. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and had to wrap up our conversation. He was so eager to tell me the story of the final recording of his “Spin” project, I suggested sending it to me in an email. Well, he must have poured himself another cup of espresso and got right to it. By the next morning, a “short” story appeared in my in-box. Below is Joe’s entertaining account of the completion of his CD, a highly-suspenseful story about artistic endurance in the face of modern recording techniques and punishing tour schedules. Spoiler: It does have a happy ending.}

At the end of the recording of the “Spin” songs, I wrote a gospel coda at the last minute. Tillie hung herself in the tombs, but she had worth and dignity, so I wanted her “sung home,” wherever that might be. She deserved that bit of hope. So I reworked the chorus of “Let the Great World Spin,” changed the chords to give it a simple gospel feel, wrote some new lyrics, and called in the tambourine, the organ and the ladies, Tillie’s choir, her angels. She never had a chance in this world, so lets give her one in the next. With those voices carrying her home, we left her in very good company

So it seemed we were done, but not quite. For the section “hanging from the pipes (let the great world spin without me)” I knew we still needed a little something extra, sparse but chilling, the sound of death coming for her. I’d recently been singing with The Chieftains and Paddy Moloney is a great gent. Top, top guy. I knew him playing his pipes here would capture that haunting mood, that tragic resignation when you know it’s time to let go. But we’d run out of time. The book launch was in three days in London, and it had been decided that this was to be the promo debut of the CD also. Yet we needed this part. So I called Paddy, and he picked up right away and sounded tired. He said “Hey Joe, how are ya? I’ll tell ya where I am. I’m stuck on a bloody plane at LA airport, supposed to be flying home to Ireland, but we’ve been on the bloody tarmac for three hours without moving, and I’m hungry. So what are you up to Joe?”

This was not an ideal time for me to ask him to record a part for an album in the next 48 hours. But I did, and incredibly, he graciously agreed to do so as soon as the plane landed in Dublin. If the plane landed in Dublin.

Then suddenly I heard the captain’s voice saying “we are now cleared for take-off.” So Paddy had only a few seconds to give me the name and phone number of his engineer at the Dublin recording studio to send him the tracks so he’d be prepared. He said, “Ah, jeez, I can’t find his number. Ah wait, here it is, Joe.” I could barely hear him with all commotion going on, but I just got the number before the phone went dead. I called the engineer in Dublin, left a message for him. Then I rung up Don Fleming in Cape Cod, where he’d brought his studio gear to finalize the mixes while on summer holiday with his family, (he’d been sending me mixes from the Cape and we were madly trying to agree on a final one) and told him that Paddy was a go and please send his engineer the tracks right away. I then dashed to the airport myself to fly to London. Perfect, I thought. Now the album would be completed the way I heard it and wanted it to be.

When I landed I was picked up by my friends and whisked home to Greenwich. I called the Dublin engineer, and he’d yet to recieve the tracks. And somehow Paddy was already in the studio, pipes at the ready, patiently waiting for the tracks to arrive, his luggage at his feet, jet lagged and shattered from the long journey home. LA to Dublin with a three hour wait on the tarmac. Dear God, the track wasnt there. So I called Don on the Cape and he said “The Internet’s crashed on the whole damn island. I’m driving to every damn cafe, every damn with all my studio gear, but no luck. It’s all down.” 36 hours to go before the London book launch, Don’s on Cape Cod with no Internet, Paddy’s in a Dublin studio with no track, I’m in London with no clue what to do, we’re all in different time zones, and on top of it all, Colum was apparently on a train from London to Greenwich to listen to the final tracks.

I called Paddy back, told him what we were looking for with the pipes, the storyline, the distant drone I wanted fading in and out, the chilling call of death, (which is what we all felt was imminent at that point), and just then, the landline rings. It’s Don: “Hey man, it’s all back up. I’m sending tracks right now to dublin.”

A minute later Paddy’s on the phone with me and was listening to the song! 40 minutes later, Paddy sent his recorded parts to me, played over the song. I listened and I was ecstatic, so ecstatic that I tripped & fell over my suitcase, hit my head on the stove, laid out on the floor. But it didn’t matter a bit, I’m a big Inspector Clouseau fan, and I was actually laughing. It was there. Everything I’d wanted and more, beautiful playing, gorgeous hint of darkness, death in the air, the pipes floating over the very still and soft vocal, exquisite. Paddy had travelled 5,000 miles, hadn’t slept in two days, and had somehow managed to record this stunning piece in 40 mins. What can you say to that? Pure genius. Pure class. The one and only Paddy Moloney.

I sent it on to Don who mixed Paddy’s parts in the songs, three mixes, and sent it back to me for my points and to choose which one to use. I’m not sure anymore if it was 6 am my time or 6 am Don’s time, or whose house I was in, what a pipe was, who was waiting for who, whether it was morning or night, and here I was in Greenwich, London, home of Greenwich Mean time, where all time zones around the world are sussed. You couldn’t make it up if you tried. And I’m sitting in a dark study, alone, playing the mixes over and over again, listening and listening…

Then there was light and chatter. Must be morning. It wasn’t. It was noon, and I was definitely in London, and it was definitely the day of the launch. The mix had to be chosen now. Or we woudn’t make it. So I went downstairs, and was given tea & breakfast. Lovely. Take it easy. This will work out. Then i looked up and saw everyone.

As i suspected, I’m at the home of my oldest friend Clive Selley. We’d grown up together, life-long mates and been through many mad times, but this day was clearly a circus in the making. Clive and his whole family were there, My musician pals from down the road who had somehow found a quick CD pressing plant, same day service, they were there, Colum McCann was there, myself, possibly the next door neighbour (who happens to be the agent of novelist Roddy Doyle, Colum’s pal),and we all went outside and sat round this huge picnic table in their beautiful English country garden, pots of tea pouring, sunshine and flowers everywhere, all eyes peeled to the boombox in middle of table. I hit play. So this is how the prostitute from the Bronx in 1974 in the novel came to be in London that summer day.

We listened intently to the three mixes. All of us, 14 opinions. None the same, all good points. More tea please. Colum and I hanging on every word. Is that a violin or a keyboard? Well, I always like guitars up in mix. Are the sausages all gone? Piano sounds good, leave it there. That’s the best one by far. No it isn’t, can’t hear acoustic guitar loud enough. Are you mad? No, but you must be deaf mate. Pipes should be louder. Pipes should be softer. There are pipes? Oh good, there are more sausages, thanks mum.

Everyone agreed they all sounded great. no one mix clearly the best one. All objectivity was gone by now. But I had a feeling…a good one. All the work that had gone into our creation was about to be finalized. People started milling around the house, pottering about the garden, they’d heard the mixes 10 times, given their opinions and I found myself alone with Clive’s 14 year-old son, Joe.

Just Joe and Joe. He’s a very sharp kid, a great listener, thoughtful, I love the lad, and so i asked him. “It’s up to you now, Joe. You decide please.”

He paused, and then said “Well, I’m not a musician, but…the third mix is clearly the best because your vocals blend with the pipes in such a way that I can see her. Tillie, is that her name? Yeah, Tillie in the prison cell, at the end, all hope gone, I really sense it, and i can almost hear her cry, but silently, the way they do in really old films on the telly, where nothing comes out, but you know she’s in terrible pain…and the stillness gave me goosebumps. so did the haunting pipes. Its very eerie and calming at once, makes it even sadder, and your voice, Joe, is so broken, and soft, you give her dignity,and theres a sense of everything ending… a life being over…yeah, definitely the third mix.”

I was amazed. 14 year old Joe had just verbalized everything I wanted and picked the track I liked the best. I hugged him. It was done. I called Don, the mix was sent from Cape Cod to the plant in London. Initial pressings arrived in Greenwich at 6pm via courier, we all caught the train to Charing Cross: Colum, myself, young Joe, everyone, and walked together in brilliant sunshine to the gorgeous Bloomsbury Houseboat on the Thames for Colum’s official UK book launch and our CD’s debut. 7.55pm. We were five minutes early. Jesus wept.

The boat was already packed, press, friends, Bloomsbury folks, fans and all of us. Colum read from the book, and got an ovation. Then he introduced me, & our CD project, and I sang the songs live. Then, we played the CD for the first time. The CEO of Bloomsbury was singing along. Everyone was. Colum and myself went to the back of the boat for a smoke. “Its a masterpiece Joe,” he said. “A fucking masterpiece.” “Look at them in there, singing along to choruses” We grinned, laughed hysterically for a bit. Then I said “You know you’re gonna win the National Book Award, don’t you? Cos you are.”

We looked at each other for a minute, hard and long and knowing.Then we both looked up at the twinkling lights of Waterloo Bridge over the gentle river. “I’ll bet Paddy Moloney’s sleeping right now,” I said. “Yeah and maybe Don too,” Colum added.

And the next night, the tour began in Paris…

For more info on Joe Hurley visit www.roguesmarch.com

Used with permission of ASCAP Playback. Playback Magazine is a publication of ASCAP, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, http://www.ascap.com/playback/

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