Meet the Band
One of the highlights of working with this project has been to get to work with the different musicians from the town. We have brothers Micheál and Dermot White, Joe Cassidy and Jimmy McGeeney.
On Electric Guitar …. Michael White
Michael plays electric guitar and banjo in the Men’s Shed Band.
I asked him about why he started playing music:
“My earliest memory of music in our house was hearing my Dad and a friend playing two fiddles on Sunday nights in what was known as the Parlour in the 1940s. When I was about six my Dad gave me a tin whistle, teaching me little tunes and moving on to Irish airs and jigs. Dad died when I was eleven. I always had a whistle or two from then on. Fast forward to 1958 – the era of rock’n roll and Elvis, and cliff and the Shadows were the inspiration to get a guitar. I had the first guitar in our parish, learned a few chords and began playing in a dance band called Gold and Silver, alongside my brother Dermot. We progressed on to playing with the Madisons Show-band.”
Michael worked as a mechanic all his life, with music as a hobby.
“I thought I’d put it all behind me until I got involved with the Men’s Shed Choir and here we go again. I thank Mam and Dad for bringing music into my life – I always ask them to help me through a gig and they never let me down”.
And on Bass… Dermot White
Michael’s older brother, Dermot plays both electric and double bass within the Men’s Shed Band. Alongside his brother Michael he played with the Gold & Silver Band and The Madison Showband. The last time they played was at a farewell dance two years ago. As you can see from the photos, they haven’t changed much over the years!
And on Acoustic Guitar… Joe Cassidy
I first met Joe in the 2015 fundraiser for the Men’s Shed when the guys did a guest spot singing ‘All Gods Creatures’. I asked Joe why he started playing guitar.
“Years ago I used to fish for salmon, and a friend of mine Tommy Glackin used to come and watch me fish. Tommy was a fine guitarist, of the Donegal Glackins, and he thought that I was the best fisherman he had ever seen! He wanted to know how to fish and I wanted to learn guitar! A great swap. The next day I gave him a fishing lesson and he caught a salmon! It’s taken me a bit longer to be able to play guitar so well!”
When we began working together on the album over the past few months I realised that Joe was a pretty good singer as well – a dark horse as they say! I was so honoured to sing the Parting Glass with Joe on the album, a song dear to my own heart.
And on Percussion… Jimmy McGeeney
In one of our final rehearsals before recording the album, we were feeling the need for a percussionist and somebody mentioned local mechanic Jimmy McGeeney was the man for the job.
The next week in came Jimmy and really helped transform what was already good into something great! Jimmy began playing piano at the age of 6, winning awards in Feis Ceoil through the years. He went on to play the drums playing all over Ireland with Bourbon St and other bands. Jimmy hasn’t played music in the past 18 years and we are delighted to have him on board. Rhythmic precision, great musicality and a joyful disposition means he slots into the band with grace and ease!
Music has such power to connect people within community. When we play music with others, something magical happens. We learn all the time from each other and the musical journey we have shared with all the band has been so extraordinary and memorable. Thanks guys! Can’t wait for the album launch!