Date: Thu 28-06
Adm: €12.50 (Membs :€10)
Born in Strabane County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Pete O'Hanlon was raised in an environment of protest and song. His father was a drummer and the music flows in his blood. By age 13 he was writing songs and playing with a band by 14
In his early career he logged time as a studio musician, including harmonica in country records. His skill with acoustic and electric guitar, slide guitar, harmonica and percussion gained recognition and by 1980 he recorded a single with Phil Lynott and Terry Woods called The Tennessee Stud before Woods went on to further fame with the Pogues and O'Hanlon spent time in Vancouver from 1982-1986. This was followed by a stint of several productive years sampling the culture and playing the clubs and taverns in Galway and around his native land, with folk legends Dolores Keane, Maura O'Connell, Mary Coughlan and Sean Keane and touring America with DeDannan and Arcady.
By 1993 O'Hanlon felt the call of Nashville and had the opportunity of working with the esteemed songwriter and poet of Knoxville, TN, RB Morris, whose first album was pressed on John Prine's label 'Oh Boy'. Work by Morris such as That's How Every Empire Falls remains relevant today and has been covered by many artists and recorded by Prine, Marian Faithful and O'Hanlon on his new album Simple Equation.
O'Hanlon's talents, combined with musical versatility steeped in Irish folk roots, brought him into a circle of America's own singer songwriters, with whom he did numerous recording sessions. In this successful period of recording and writing, O'Hanlon also frequently paired up with honky-tonk singer and player Greg Garing in what became known as the Lower Broadway Scene, a unique American Roots music movement.
Though this was a fruitful time for writing and composing, by 1995 O'Hanlon was feeling the call of his native lands. He was welcomed home to a broadcast of his Dangerous Dance on UTV network, following which, Dolores Keane recorded the song on her album Night Owl. He joined with Van Morrison to play at City Hall, Belfast for former US President Clinton which lead to collaboration on the 1996 The Healing Game.
O'Hanlon's first CD album Trick of Time was produced in the village of Kinvara, where he occasionally resided in the now-demolished Winkles Hotel, which inspired a track on Simple Equation. Trick of Time was released to strong reviews in 1999. Then the lure of the road saw him playing guitar on tour again. Among other experiences on the road, O'Hanlon developed connections with sage folk among the Native American community.
Drawn to settle for a bit and eager to turn out some of his own work, O'Hanlon created his own recording studio at his house in Strabane, Ireland. Before turning out his next compilation however, he took the opportunity to record the highly successful 2009 album Howl On for Bap Kennedy. It was mixed and mastered by O"Hanlon who also weighed in on guitar, bass and percussion.
Those days of O'Hanlon's journeys and wisdom seeking have come to fruition with Simple Equation, with Nicky Scott offering his talents on double bass and Tony Phillips on drums, but O'Hanlon played all instruments on two tracks and a further two are recorded with just voice and guitar. His call for protest and social justice can be heard in O'Hanlon's powerful voice in Move Along Raytheon, where he is backed by a choir comprised of protestors who drove the weapons manufacturer from Derry.
Recently, O'Hanlon's Half Hanged Mac Naghten was recorded by award-winning Cork traditional band Full Set. This song, based on a true event from the 1700s, weaves a tragic love story and might also be seen as a moral tale on the wealthy elite. Full Set's version is featured on a new compilation on the Celtic Note label called Stór Mo Chroí with tracks by Luke Kelly Sharon Shannon and Steve Earle, the Bothy Band, Sinead O'Connor and more.
O'Hanlon's Northern Man was recorded by Roy Arbuckle's group Different Drums and is logged in the Smithsonian Institute alongside the old blues and folk greats of the US.
O'Hanlon currently resides in Strabane, where he operates his studio and is continuing to collaborate with other artists, write new material and explore new genres