Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Rockin' Rowley: Webb to weave his musical magic

Jimmy Webb will perform at Dublin's National Concert Hall in September
Jimmy Webb will perform at Dublin's National Concert Hall in September
Derek Ryan with Daniel O'Donnell
Shauna McStravock

Eddie Rowley

When American country superstar Glen Campbell had a massive worldwide hit with 'Wichita Lineman', no one was more surprised than the songwriter.

As Jimmy Webb tells it today, the song wasn't even finished when Glen told him that he had already recorded it.

Campbell later revealed that he and producer Al De Lory added in what became an iconic guitar solo to fill the space of another verse.

Webb's 'Wichita Lineman' is one of the most popular of all time, and it started out with a phone call from Glen asking him to pen a song about a town.

Jimmy had previously written Campbell's smash-hit, 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix', and the singer was looking for a follow up.

"I didn't want to write another song about a town, but something that would be in the ballpark for him," Webb said.

"I wanted the song to be about an ordinary fellow.

"What I was trying to say in 'Wichita Lineman' was, you can see someone working in construction or working in a field, a migrant worker or a truck driver, and you may think you know what's going on inside him, but you don't.

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"You can't assume that just because someone's in a menial job that they don't have dreams or extraordinary concepts going around in their head, like 'I need you more than want you; and I want you for all time.' You can't assume that a man isn't a poet."

Jimmy Webb, who topped the country, pop and disco charts with his songs including 'MacArthur Park', 'Up, Up and Away', 'Didn't We', and 'Galveston' over five decades, will perform The Glen Campbell Years live in concert at Dublin's National Concert Hall on September 18.

Wed a year for Derek...

Derek Ryan with Daniel O'Donnell

Derek Ryan with Daniel O'Donnell

Irish country star Derek Ryan has had an eventful year in his personal and professional life, marrying his long-time partner, Claire, in June and picking up the coveted 'Songwriter of the Year' gong at the RTÉ Irish Country Music Awards.

"This is a massive year for me and one that I'll never forget," Derek acknowledges. "Claire is happy to stay out of the limelight, but she always reminds me if I get too big for my boots that she once sang in the Point Depot.

"She was in a choir at the time." Another great memory of this year for Derek is sure to be his performance in Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in Co Kilkenny this coming Friday, August 12.

Nestled at the foot of the old Ballykeeffe Quarry, Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre is run entirely by volunteers and brings the authentic atmosphere of an open-air Italian theatre to the quaint Kilkenny countryside.

Shauna juggles singing and TV

Shauna McStravock

Rising female country music star Shauna McStravock, above, combines TV work with her drive to establish a career as a singer.

Shauna, whose latest single is called 'The Island', is one of the most popular presenters on the Keep It Country TV channel (Sky389/Freeview87/Freesat516) on Friday and Saturday evenings. A native of Ardboe, Co Tyrone, Shauna has won over fans with her engaging mix of music videos and interviews with stars including Daniel O'Donnell, Big Tom, Marty Haggard, Margo and Derek Ryan.

'The Island', is now available to download on iTunes.

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