IT'S BEEN a busy couple of months for Wexford native Paul Creane and his 'Changing Band'.
Having released his album 'Tommy Black and the Twelve Days of Lucy' to much excitement just over a year ago, Paul and the accomplished group of musicians that form 'The Changing Band' have set about bringing their music to the masses with their highly entertaining live shows.
On June 15, the band, consisting of Paul and Donal, Cillian and Footzy Byrne, set off for Europe and their first major foray into touring and doing shows on the continent.
'It was really great, a brilliant experience,' Paul said. 'It came about from contact we'd had with a record company called ' Songs and Whispers'.
They organised the shows for us and we covered areas of Belgium, Holland and North Germany.' As a result the band embarked on a European adventure playing over 30 live shows in three weeks.
'It's just as well that the lads have a love of what they do, because with a lot of travelling involved, tiredness was a serious factor. 'It was hard work too,' Paul said.
'We were travelling from show to show by van and there's a bit of work involved in setting up and breaking down the equipment for each performance.
'We just had time to get fed and have a quick look around each town before we played. The tour wasn't a money making venture anyway. We just did it to get the experience of it and to be able to set it up easily again in the future, but we had great fun doing it too. There's a big market out there and it's nice to get a small taste of it.'
Among the highlights of the tour for Paul was the band's performance at the 'Wallfest' festival in Bremmen city, Germany.
'Wallfest was brilliant craic,' he said, 'Basically the whole place nearly shuts down for this festival. They close off the street and it pulls a massive crowd.'
Normally 'The Changing Band', socalled due to its flexible nature, has seven members, but in order to keep travelling and accomodation costs down, it had to be cut down to four for the tour of the continent.
However upon their triumphant return to Wexford with a show in Wexford Arts Centre, Paul and the three Byrnes were joined on stage by the other members of the band in Seamus Turner, Eugene Campbell and Fionnualla Larkin for a fantastic homecoming gig.
'While we enjoyed the trip, it was great to get back home too,' Paul said. 'The gig in the Arts Centre was brilliant. The place was packed to capacity and I think we played well so it was great.'
The band were supported by a selection of Wexford's finest singer/songwriters, including the Red Chair's Alan Byrne, Gordon Anthony Patrick Barry, Seamus Turner and Eugene Campbell for the beautifully titled 'Songwriter Shuffle'.
Having tasted life on the road in Europe, Paul and the band are now keen to get back to the studio and begin work on their next eagerly awaited masterpiece.
'The plan now is to record a new album over the next couple of months,' Paul said. 'We'll find some kind of house that the whole band can move into and just thrash it out and get all the recording done over a few weeks.'
This recording technique results in the band always being at the ready to record the moment inspiration strikes and, as 'Tommy Black and the Twelve Days of Lucy' has demonstrated, it's a dynamic that works very well for them as they continue to gather more and more momentum within Ireland and, as a result of their fantastic live shows this summer, across the continent now too.