George Murphy is an Irish singer-songwriter who first drew attention to himself with appearances on the show You’re a Star and the 3-time platinum record Dreamed a Dream (2004). Phil Coulter called him “the most exciting vocal find in Ireland” and the late Ronnie Drew: “A voice beyond his age”.
George experienced great success at the beginning of his career and played at many Irish festivals and venues. In 2006, he released his second album So the Story Goes, whose title track reached number 7 on the Irish Singles Chart. After a brief U.S. tour, George released his third album, The Ballad of Archie Thompson (2009), which also featured legends; John Sheahan and Barney McKenna of The Dubliners. George is currently performing with the band, The Rising Sons which despite its inability to perform, is not resting.
Last Thursday the artist and I had an interesting conversation which covered a lot of things. From his future plans to why Irish folk music is popular outside of Ireland.
ROCKER.SI: Hello. How are you?
GEORGE MURPHY: Fine, thanks. Nice to meet you. What about you?
ROCKER.SI: Also fine. The weekend is almost here.
GEORGE MURPHY: That’s true.
ROCKER.SI: What is the current situation in Ireland?
GEORGE MURPHY: The situation is not easy for anyone. It is a difficult ordeal, as various cancellations and closures have affected many. Not just individuals, but entire industries. Teleworking, restrictions on movement and socializing, school and pub closures. The same goes also for the music sphere. The things we took granted for years were taken away from us. We have to hold on!
ROCKER.SI: What about concerts? As we can see, with The Rising Sons and you are preparing a new concert.
GEORGE MURPHY: That’s right, the concert will take place on March 20th. We intend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with it. The show will take place online, for which we have hired a venue, a sound engineer and a recording team. You will be able to watch the concert for free, as we want to make these difficult times a little easier for you. However, any contributions are more than welcome. If you contribute € 20 or more, we’ll send you our Live in Dublin concert album.
The list of songs will be varied. Some of Luke Kelly and other classics. In addition, you will be able to hear our own, e.g. ‘Give Us Our Good Times Back’ and some others as I’m not the only singer in the band. The setlist is not final yet, but it will definitely be interesting.
ROCKER.SI: When can we expect the release of the new album?
GEORGE MURPHY: At the moment you can hear our singels‘Give Us Our Good Times Back’ and ‘Dublin Inspires’, which are available on YouTube and other platforms. New material is in the works, but it is being created slowly (due to current situation). We also have a concert album outside, which I mentioned in the previous answer. I am very satisfied with is as it is a rich blend of everything. If I could, I would recommend Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’, to which we added elements of the famous Irish song ‘Spancil Hill’.
We also started to include elements of rock in our music, e.g. electric guitar. We wanted to offer listeners something new, which would still remain true to their original identity.
ROCKER.SI: Any idea what the title may be?
GEORGE MURPHY: We haven’t come that far yet. I wish we could release a record that will contain only our own songs. That people would also know us as authors. Not just because of the covers of various classics. We currently have about five or six songs ready and we need a five or six more. I reckon things will go faster when we can hang out again.
ROCKER.SI: How is it that Irish folk music has so many “non-Irish” fans?
GEORGE MURPHY: I think it’s not just about the music, but also about the culture and the people themselves. The Irish like to have fun and not take themselves too seriously. We have music in our blood, and our history is full of wonderful stories that constantly inspire new and new generations of listeners. Besides, there’s also Guinness!
ROCKER.SI: In the meantime, you have also collaborated with The Dubliners, who in the world of Irish folk are considered to be the equivalent of The Rolling Stones in rock. Can you reveal to us any wisdom you have learned?
GEORGE MURPHY: Probably that, as I mentioned, not to take myself too seriously. When I first met John [Sheahan] and Barney [McKenna], I was amazed at how down to Earth they were. When The Dubliners accepted me into their ranks, I was very honored. It was a kind of dream come true. I learned a lot from them, especially about life on the road. All the stories and lessons!
ROCKER.SI: George, it was a pleasure. See you on March 20th!