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Behind the music – Don McKevitt

todayNovember 18, 2023 9

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Don McKevitt has released his debut album, Cois Farraige (By the Sea). We asked him the BIG questions . . .

Don grew up on the coast of North County Dublin. At 18 he was introduced to Eric Bell of Thin Lizzy and became a roadie and photographer for the band, spurring Don on to form his own outfit, The Highheel Sneakers.

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During this period Don also played with Tease Johnny Tease on a Bagatelle tour. He then relocated to London where he continued to gig and record and worked on shows by Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Pink Floyd, R.E.M., Paul McCartney, Rory Gallagher, BB King, U2 and Frank Sinatra.

He went on work as a sound engineer and production for Van Morrison, Chris Rea, The Monkees, Sisters of Mercy, The Beautiful South and many more.

He recorded Cois Farraige (By the Sea) in his home studio during the pandemic.

Tell us three things about yourself . . .

Music has been an integral part of my life since I was a kid. I love life. I’m a compassionate eater.

How would you describe your music?

It’s rock music written and played from the heart. I know when to let rip on a Telecaster and when not to, when to have a sparse arrangement and when to go multi-layered. My songs run the gamut from social commentary, politics, mortality to love and relationships. They aren’t obtuse. If you care to listen you’ll know what I’m singing about.

Who are your musical inspirations?

The Rolling Stones were my gateway into music and the world of the blues and rhythm ‘n’ blues. I was fortunate enough to meet Keith Richards in London at a gig I was working on. We chatted for about ten minutes. He’s an inspiration as a guitarist … less is more and serve the song. Bruce Springsteen for his songwriting and his ability to take you places in a song that you never thought you’d go. Otis Redding for the soulful singing. Tom Robinson, Billy Bragg and The Clash for showing how to write and deliver great songs with a social or political message.

What was the first gig you ever went to?

Horslips, Red Island, Skerries. It was around Christmas in ’72 or ’73. My first taste of live rock ‘n’ roll!

What was the first record you ever bought?

High Tide & Green Grass – The Rolling Stones which was their first hits compilation. I grew up in Donabate and when I was a kid, people used to come on their summer holidays and stay for three months in caravans and chalets. They came from such faraway and exotic places as Drimnagh, Bray and Clontarf! One of my pals was a young fella from Clontarf called Gerry Ryan. My formative musical education was listening to the records that my friends’ older brothers and sisters played. As a ten year-old I fell in love with (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and I was hooked for life.

What’s your favourite song right now?

I’m a big fan of CMAT. I bought her latest album CrazyMad, For Me. I really like Can’t Make Up My Mind. She’s a wonderful songwriter who writes with a great sense of humour.

Favourite lyric of all time?

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. “Oh, someday, girl, I don’t know when, We’re gonna get to that place, Where we really wanna go and we’ll walk in the sun, But ’til then, tramps like us, Baby, we were born to run” – Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. I love the sheer romanticism of the lyrics. The hope, the yearning. It’s a life-affirming and powerful song.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones. I love this song. It’s been with me for most of my life. When I started playing guitar I decided that I’d consider myself a guitarist when I could play Wild Horses in open G tuning. I eventually got there! It’s a great song from a great album (Sticky Fingers).

Where can people find your music/more information?

The best place to start is my website for more information, to buy or download Cois Farraige (By the Sea). The Back in the Day and other videos are on YouTube. You can listen to the album on the usual streaming platforms Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music.

Alan Corr



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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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