A man with endless talent, Dublin native Philip Donnelly has recorded a mix of blues, rock and country albums over the last few decades at home and abroad in the States, and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s releasing his new endeavour ‘Beyond the Pale’ at Monroe’s Live next week, in what is sure to be a very special show.
“The album was recorded in four or five days and I’m really pleased with it. There was a gap in its making while I had a quadruple heart bypass believe it or not!” After such a massive operation, Philip had to wait eight months to get back into the studio as his left hand was showing no signs of movement after the bypass, which Philip said was “totally successful”.
“I didn’t actually play the guitar for eight months and at the time the neurosurgeon didn’t know if they [his fingers] were going to come back or not but at the time they had just saved my life so I didn’t worry about it. After about eight months they started working again and I started playing the guitar again. It was an unusual experience but at no point did I panic or lose faith.”
Philip has had an illustrious career spanning over 45 years and has recorded with some very famous names such as the legendary Johnny Cash over in America, who he describes as “a great gentleman”. And he says he misses the lifestyle that he had while he lived in the States. “I totally miss the musicianship and the attitude towards work when I went to Hollywood. They more or less told me I was the first Irish musician there,” he says, adding that he went to the US with Scottish songwriter extraordinaire Donovan.
“Donovan took me to Hollywood and we made an album there and I did an American tour with him, a massive tour and then… I moved to Nashville and started to record in Nashville for 12 years.” While there he recorded a staggering 71 albums and 2,500 tracks. It’s no wonder the Clontarf native is a highly regarded producer and songwriter and he has now opened up his new record label, Marble City Records, with his business partner Michael D’Angelo with offices in Kilkenny.
“We actually started a traditional record label, the way it was, because as you keep hearing nowadays everything is gone and everything has changed and there’s no connection anymore.” What Philip wishes to bring back into the music scene in Ireland is that sense of cohesion and working together between musicians and producers. He already has his eye on some talent to sign but he’s keeping that quiet for now.
Despite the busy lifestyle that Philip leads, he has no wishes to take any breaks as he says there will be “no more gaps” and has already released two other albums in the past year. “Last year I made a blues album and that’s called ‘Dreaming the Blues’. It’s just been remastered. My first ever album which is called ‘Town and Country’, that’s out on CD for the first time. Believe it or not it was only out on vinyl, that’s that black stuff!” He is now planning to get back into the recording studio as early as September to record another album called ‘A Line in the Sand’.
For now though Philip is looking forward to getting to Monroe’s Live for a very special gig where you can hear songs from ‘Beyond the Pale’ and some classics from a true musical legend.
“I used to play in Galway a lot and, I don’t know why, I haven’t been down there in a long time so I’m really looking forward to it and I’m excited about it. I love coming to Galway to play. I’m delighted to be back.”
Philip Donnelly plays Monroe’s Live on Friday 21 August. Doors are open at 8pm with tickets costing €15/€12 online and are available from www.monroes.ie.