Well lads I'm home a week now from my tour down under in Australia and I have to say it was The Trip Of A Lifetime! Such an honour to have been part of the big show called EXILE - Songs and Tales of Irish Australia; myself and Pauline Scanlon, that stunning singer from Dingle, the legend that is Andy Irvine, and a big bunch of Irish Australian musicians. It was so nice to hang with Andy for the few days we spent at Port Fairy Folk Festival, where the temperature was 39 degrees. Freezing at home like and roasting over there. We teamed up with the rocking piper John McSherry, fiddler Donal O' Connor and new kid on the block Niall Hannah, a great singer from Tyrone, and we had some craic lads, great ol' craic like. It's a bit of a mad life, this music, but when it's good it's brilliant!

Congratulations to Shane Howard, that elder statesman of the Ozzie Irish Community who wrote the EXILE show. We are hoping, dreaming and scheming that someday we can put on that great historical roadshow at home here in Éire.

Well we travelled on then lads across that great rolling majestic Australian landscape, gigging in Melbourne, in Canberra, in Sydney and eventually on to the Blue Mountains Folk Festival in New South Wales. We rocked that festival and drowned the musical ball in the back of that net many times. Hurray! Hurray!

There were many highlights of the tour but most moving of all was the session we had in St. Brigid's Community Hall in Killarney, Victoria. Andy Irvine had us all weeping and he singing that old Planxty classic 'Ye Rambling Boys of Pleasure'.

 "Cursed gold is the root of evil, though it shines with a glittering hue, causes many a lad and a lass to part, though their hearts like mine be eer so true."

Many thanks to Fran Daly and all at Troubadour Music, Teresa O' Brien and all at Goanna Music, and Tour Manager of the year Austin Fogarty!

So sad that Andy's old Planxty compánach Liam Óg Ó Floinn, the master piper was passing away to the other side around that same time as we were crying in Victoria. I've been loving the recent great TG4 footage of his piping from old shows like The Pure Drop. Magnificent.

On returning home I was also very sad to hear of the passing of Thom Moore, a great songwriter I had the pleasure of gigging with long 'go. His songs were classic, from the 'Cavan Girl So Fair' to the 'Cedars of Lebanon', 'Saw You Running' and many more. May they rest in peace, those great heros of the Irish Musical landscape.

Well it's back to the grindstone now here in the Hit Factory lads. No dossing. I've two big songs to finish and then I must do a re-write of my Opera FÍORUISCE - The Legend Of The Lough. We had a very successful week's workshopping of it last month in the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork. Big thanks to MD John O' Brien, Pat Kiernan and Corcadorca Site Specific Theatre Company and Cork City Council. It's a lot of work but the thing is it's working! My dream of the Big, Cork, Local, Mythological, Gaelic, Folkloric, Dreamtime, Otherworld, Irish Opera is coming true! You'd want to have heard my Queen, Soprano Kelley Lonergan, Princess Emma Nash and my King Joe Corbett lashing out the drama lads; I was thrilled! Thrilled!

I'm happy to report that I have a fair scatter of gigs coming up over the next few months like, plenty to keep the ship above water, including a gig in Perth, Scotland with Eddi Reader in a few weeks, and a gig here and a gig there. Hurray! Hurray! Thanks everybody, the Cherry Blossoms will be coming soon to a town or a ditch near you, I'll have Volume 2. of my Acoustic Series coming out soon, in May or in June, onwards and upwards! For Ireland, for Glory and for Home! Aililiú! Thanks as always to my long time manager Lorcan Ennis and all at Verge Management! Hurray!

John Spillane, Passage West, County Cork, Easter 2018.    

Published on 30th March 2018

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