Saturday 24 March 2018

Rockin' Rowley: Music a family affair for Joe

Joe Davitt has written a tribute song to his parents
Joe Davitt has written a tribute song to his parents
Louise Morrissey
Trio album cover

Eddie Rowley

Country star Joe Davitt’s family band has a long tradition in music going all the way back to the 1950s.

More striking than that fact is the Joe Davitt Country Band’s connection with the Spice Girls, but more about that later.

The current seven-piece country dance group from Ferns, Co Wexford, is comprised of second and third generation family members of the famous Davitt Showband that were a major attraction in the dance halls around Ireland from the1950s to the 1980s.

Joe’s late dad, Christie, played trumpet with the  original band. Today’s line-up of musicians are carrying on a tradition that has sustained the Davitt clan for generations.

“There were seven brothers, including my father, in the original band,” Joe tells me. “And their father, who was a tailor, managed them. They first started out in 1954.

“Today we’re playing at 50th wedding anniversaries for people… and my father and uncles in The Davitt Showband had played at their weddings.

“We all have a love of music in this family because it has been with us our whole lives and we can’t get away from it.”

The Davitts have just released a new single, ‘Memories’, which was written by Joe as a tribute to his dad, Christie, and mum, Rita, who passed away in recent years.

As for the Spice Girls, well Emma Bunton, aka Baby Spice, is a cousin of the Davitts. “Her grandfather, Seamus, and my father, Christie, were brothers,” Joe explains.

“Emma is very close to the family and has been to Ferns many times. And when we’re on tour in England, she sometimes comes to see us with her mother and uncles. To us, Emma is just one of the cousins.”

Louise's single for charity

Louise Morrissey

SingerLouise Morrissey reckons she has the best of both worlds, combining a laid-back country lifestyle down on the farm with her love of singing and performing.

Louise is married to farmer Johnny Fitzgerald and the happy couple live on their land near New Inn, Co Tipperary.

Louise recently teamed up with her brother, Norman, to record a new album and their first single, 'Gulf Coast Highway', is out now.

The single is available to download from iTunes and will be on sale at their acoustic concert tour throughout the autumn.

All proceeds will be donated to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire where their nephew, Jamey Marron, spent three months after suffering brain damage following a heart attack.

Louise and Norman's return to recording and theatre shows is a nostalgic trip back to their folk days when they performed as part of The Morrisseys group.

Legends' three-mendous idea

Trio album cover

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris have three careers unparalleled in music history.

It's no surprise that when their three voices united to release their debut collaboration, the results were remarkable.

The threesome's two albums together, Trio (1987) and Trio ll (1999) won three Grammy Awards. Both of these classic albums have been newly remastered for a three-CD collection packed with rare and unreleased music. Produced by Emmylou, they will be released on September 9.

A single disc set, featuring a mix of songs from the three CDs, will also be released on the same date.

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